My desire is to always move people from a feeling of spiritual failure where they feel like they’re not good enough or they’re not doing enough. I also have a desire to see people connect with God and live in an up-close, spiritual and intimate relationship. One where you enjoy Him and enjoy being a Christian, rather than always fearing you are not one or not a good one. You and I can have this kind of a relationship where we are being spiritually refreshed all the time because of His presence within us.
Let’s take a good look at Ephesians 3:19 “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” You and I can be filled with the fullness of life and the power that comes from God.
I want to challenge your thinking and say that some of you have bought into other people’s expectations of what you should be doing for God. So you have all this spiritual baggage you carry around which leads to guilt when you don’t do certain things you think you or others think one must do to be spiritual. It leads to failure. It makes for a direct beeline to emptiness.
I’ve had people tell me, Bro. Ron, when I hear you preach this or read your articles I’m so fired up, but then the real world hits me right in the face and I’m quickly knocked back down to emptiness. It sounds so good at church but I can’t seem to make it happen in the real world.”
Would anybody be honest enough to say that vaguely describes how you feel at times? You’re not alone. I want to help you. We’re going to look at something to Start, something to Stop, and something to Look for.
Let’s start with the STOP.
First, if we’re going to learn to be refueled on our own and be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God, we’ve got to stop limiting God’s power.
I believe one of the reasons that you and I quickly move to emptiness is that we limit God’s power. We limit His power even though we know intellectually in our hearts that God is unlimited. I believe in God the creator. I believe that God is all-powerful. I believe that God holds the world in his hands. I believe in God’s greatness. I believe in his goodness. I believe that he is capable…”
But here’s the problem. We don’t always live out what we really believe. If truth be told here’s what we tend to do. We tend to live like we’re more capable than God is. I know that sounds radical but don’t stop reading. Consider if this applies to you.
You go to church and you sit. You say, “That was great. Good music. I love that God is powerful. Amen! Preach it! I believe! That's good stuff. Then the very next day you wake up. You wake up in the real world. The non-church world. Before noon you are stressed out over the 300 emails in your inbox. Life before noon seems already unmanageable. You think about your ‘To Do list’. You don’t have enough time for everything.
Friends! That’s the real world. That’s living in the twenty-first century. We come back to church. And say, I believe! I believe! But most of us live life on our own terms.
We say, “I believe,” — “But I usually…”
Here’s what I mean by this. I say something like “I believe that God has the power to change my life or my circumstances,” but “I usually try to change them myself.” God has the power. I believe. But I’m going to do it myself.
Look at the list…
I believe that God wants to forgive me and restore me, but I usually listen to God’s enemy who reminds me of what a loser and spiritual failure I am.
I believe God’s grace can wipe away my guilt, but I usually like to carry my guilt. Somehow I feel God is more pleased with me when I tell Him how bad of a person I am.
Or I believe God comforts me in my troubles but I usually can comfort myself a lot faster with my choice of medication.
I believe God has a direction that is worthy and right to follow but I usually go my own way because I like my own way. Or I believe God’s provision is enough for me but if I’m honest I usually get impatient when God doesn’t deliver on my schedule. I bet you can relate.
The problem seems to be that we limit God. Now when I talk about limiting God’s power, please do not misunderstand me. God is not limited by our whims. Psalm 147 “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” We limit God by not believing what He says and not trusting Him to do what He says He will do. We simply strike out on our own to get accomplished what we think needs to be accomplished. We feel we must take up the slack that God is leaving.
Here is how it works:
Oh, God, I desperately want to get married. Would you give me a spouse? Would you bring somebody my way? Would you give me your eyes to see who you want me to marry? Do you think, God, I should join E-Harmony? And if I do, should I use my real age? What about a photo?
I need a job. God, I need a job. This is a tough economy, God would you help me out here? Show me. Could you bless my socks off because I know you can do it? Help me win the lottery. That’d be even better. Then I wouldn’t have to work.
God, can I trust you with my finances? Can I really afford to be generous? Maybe when I get a job. That’ll work.
Friends, the reason I want you to get this so badly is because God has the power to change your thinking and actions, therefore, your life. He can reenergize you and enable you to live life to the fullest. You can live in a perpetual state of being refreshed spiritually even when you are physically tired. This power is provided by the Holy Spirit and His Spirit lives within us. It’s the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and is available to you and to me 24/7. 2 Corinthians 13 “Although he [Jesus] died on the cross in weakness, he now lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in him [and He in us] and have God’s power...”
No, you’ll never be good enough on your own. But He is God and He is good all the time. You can trust Him.