Paul understood his own insignificance. He understood that he deserved nothing and was given everything. He understood that sharing this indescribably amazing gift with others was more important than anything else. Paul had passion for Jesus. “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people…” (His own insignificance.) “…this grace was given me…” (Deserved nothing, given everything) “…to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Sharing this indescribably amazing gift with others.)Eph.3:8. Isn’t this what we have all been called to?, To preach the gospel……to share Jesus with others? God chooses the weak, and gives them His strength. Paul understood his own weakness. In 1Corinthians 2:3-5 Paul says: ” I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preachings were not with wise and persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Paul understood that he was powerless against sin without God’s Holy Spirit at work within him. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing……What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:18,19,24,25) Praise God that He has rescued us and given us His Spirit! “And what is Paul? Only (a) servant……the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything , but only God who makes things grow.” (1Corinthians 3:5-7) God speaks to me through Paul because he is just like you and me. Weak and powerless in our own strength, but graciously lavished with the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to plant and water seeds, then trust our Lord to make them grow.
The Lord gave me a wonderful reminder of a familiar picture today. As I was cleaning house I noticed some of my plants were looking a little sad and droopy. One in particular had gone much too long without water and was beginning to lose some of it’s leaves, while other leaves had begun to wither. Looking at my plant now you would never know. I pruned away the dry and fallen leaves and fed it some water this morning, then it spent the day soaking up the water I had poured into it’s soil. Now it is perked up and full of life again. Of course, if my plant had been planted by a stream, it would never have gotten sad and droopy and begun to dry up. After all, a stream would provide a constant source of nourishment, not just a once a week watering. We are much like that plant… in need of a constant source of nourishment. Since God’s Word is the nourishment we need, then blessed are those who delight in it and meditate on it day and night. Blessed are those who delight in spending time in God’s Word every day, not just at church on Sunday mornings. Sunday morning gives us a good watering, but not enough for us to continue soaking in all week. Eventually we begin to dry up. Sure, when we get back into the Word, it can certainly perk us up and fill us with life again. However, during our drought we had to wither, droop and possibly lose leaves. My droopyness sometimes looks like depression or insecurity. My withering looks sometimes like laziness, and sometimes like distraction disguised as busyness. Your symptoms of dryness may look different than mine, but like a dried up leaf, we have no life in us to be lived for the Lord when we are lacking nourishment. During our “drought”, we are vulnerable to the “heat” that comes in temptation and trial.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it’s leaves are always green…” Jeremiah 17:7,8
Lord, make us like green leaves, constantly nourished by your Word!!
I had trouble sleeping last night due to pain in my right hip. But I was thinking of
how grateful I was that my left hip was painfree. 6 months ago I underwent major reconstructive surgery on that left hip and it was quite an experience. My pelvic bone was cut in three places, repositioned, and screwed back together. Since the pelvic bone is so large, there was a lot of bleeding involved. In fact, I had to receive 3 blood transfusions over the course of my recovery in the hospital. I was told that I received more new blood than the average body generally holds, which means that every last drop of my old blood was gone from my body and replaced with new blood, given to me by someone else. This really got me thinking about my new life in Christ Jesus. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Corinthians 5:17) Just as someone had to give up their blood, in order that I might live physically, Jesus had to give up His life in order that I might live spiritually. Just as my old blood left my body and was replaced with new blood, so my old life has left me and been replaced with new life, given to me by Christ. It is by the power and strength of His life, His Holy Spirit in me, that I am now able to live. When I think about that old blood that left my body, I am quite disgusted because (My apologies to the squeamish…) I saw that old blood as I watched the nurses empty the drain container and change multiple bandages. Not only was that blood obviously contaminated….(puss…YUCK!) but I thought also of all of the unseen germs it became contaminated with as it was exposed to the outside world. So it is also with our old life, contaminated with sin, both obvious and unseen. But the new life Jesus has given is pure and healthy like the new blood that was transfused into my body. Clean and free from any contamination. When Jesus gives us new life, our old life is put to death. Death. Just as old blood, contaminated by the outside world, dries up and no life remains in it. Sometimes we forget that our old life is dead and we pick it up and try to live by it’s power. But it is powerless. No life remains in it. It is dried up, gone. It can not keep us alive. So I want to urge all of you…forget about reaching for that old, contaminated, powerless life, and instead grab hold of the life that is pure, and has the power to keep us alive for all eternity. The new life given to us by Jesus Christ. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS POWER that is at work WITHIN US, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)