January 10

“They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia.” Acts 16:6

“It is interesting to study the methods of His guidance as it was extended towards these early heralds of the Cross. It consisted largely in prohibitions, when they attempted to take another course than the right. When they would turn to the left, to Asia, He stayed them. When they sought to turn to the right, to Bithynia, again He stayed them. In after years Paul would do some of the greatest work of his life in that very region; but just now the door was closed against him by the Holy Spirit. The time was not yet ripe for the attack on these apparently impregnable bastions of the kingdom of Satan. Apollos must come there for pioneer work. Paul and Barnabas are needed yet more urgently elsewhere, and must receive further training before undertaking this responsible task. Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one. Say, ‘Blessed Spirit, I cast on Thee the entire responsibility of closing against my steps any and every course which is not of God. Let me hear Thy voice behind me whenever I turn to the right hand or the left.’” (Streams in the Desert)

God’s ways are not my ways, but that’s not the problem. The serious issue at hand is that my ways are not His ways.

“Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me.” ~ Henri Nouwen

Awakening is solely the work of the Spirit. I can no more hasten this transformation than a raccoon can become a mountain lion. What I am charged with is far more excruciating—surrender is solely my responsibility. While I cannot quicken my spirit to the Spirit of God, I can and must relinquish all control to Sovereign Father. I dare not trust my emotions—they are far too fickle than to instill confidence. Instead, I fling myself at the feet of One who knows me as well as he knows tomorrow. He alone is in position to shape and use me for purposes higher than my own inclination. I am fighting to prevent a diminished version of myself from taking center stage. “Father, do not give me the desires of my heart unless they have been filtered and rerouted by grace.”

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