Today as I was reading God’s Word, I remembered a mentor who said something to me that I didn’t understand at the time- but keeps coming to mind during this season. Other teachers have mentioned it too- said in different ways- but I think God is trying to get my attention.
She said (I am paraphrasing)- God doesn’t want you to feel obligated to spend time with Him, to open His Word. He wants you to see your need for Him, to love Him, enjoy being with Him. Not out of guilt- but a desire to know Him.
Another teacher said this year- are you hungry? Are you hungry for God’s Word- for His presence- to be filled by Him?
And during this season, for the first time in my life- I feel like I am beginning to understand. I don’t want just a sip. I don’t want just a taste- I want a full course meal- I want an overflowing cup- I want to feast.
I am so hungry for God’s Word, for His presence, for His guidance. I truly feel like I am living the song-
I need thee Oh I need thee,
Every hour I need thee
O bless me now My Savior
I come to Thee.
When I open God’s Word, I pray for Him to teach me, open my heart and my mind. I am so aware of my own sinfulness, my selfishness- and I pray- Oh God- fill me with you! Please, I need you- more of you, less of me.
I was reading in 1 Corinthians today, amazed at how alive God’s Word can be when we are open to be taught and are hungry to understand.
I read the following passage:
1 Corinthians 4:1-13
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
When we studied this passage earlier this year, I was drawn to the end- but this time God really spoke to me through verses 1-7 especially 6-7.
EVERYTHING good in me comes from God. It is a gift. So when someone compliments me about anything- ANYTHING- the glory should go to God. And part of my surrendering self is recognizing that any good that is found in me is from Him.
Pride is one of our greatest enemies- and it can sneak up so easily. We get puffed up, comparing ourselves to others, and thinking- I am pretty mature- I do better than so and so- that doesn’t matter- nothing matters except pleasing Christ- being filled with Him so that we may be effective in ministry- in life.
He is our judge- not any man- and to Him we will be accountable for all we have done- in public and in secret.
I think sometimes when we grow up in the church, we survive on little sips. It may not be done on purpose- but especially if you have a fairly stable home environment and no great tragedies or hardships rock the boat, it is easy for us to think that we have enough of God.
We can handle things on our own, it’s not like there is anything really tough that we would need assistance with- so we survive on Sunday Sermons and Sunday School, maybe a Bible study here or there- but we never recognize how depleted we are.
I reached seasons of life where I would feel run down, and I used other things to try to fill myself up- hobbies, exercise, entertainment, shopping, work. But none of those things really did the job very well, and some of them had adverse consequences.
Even getting involved in church can seem like the answer- more giving, more serving, more ministry- but that doesn’t fill us either- and our ministries don’t seem effective- we get burned out.
Becoming a parent has made me recognize the depth of my need for Jesus- I need Him to save me from my sin- from myself. Because I can’t do it alone. We all must confess it! I think sometimes we miss this too- we all need a Savior- including those of us who grew up in the church.
No matter how “good” we may think we are- living this life on our own self- sufficiency will never satisfy. Only God truly fills us, brings peace and contentment- lasting joy.
We can live on our own going from “fix to fix” of the things that we are using in vain to fill us- or open our arms and receive what God longs to freely give us.
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
All we have to do is spend time with Him. Turn to Him in any problem big or small. Recognize His sovereignty and rejoice in it!
He has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit- to guide us and keep us from sin. But that voice only grows stronger as we know the truth and are able to discern it from the lies. We can only know truth by reading it- by studying it- hiding it in our heart- letting it be bread and life to us- God’s Holy Word.
I don’t want just a sip, a small taste. I want a gushing outpouring of God’s truth in my life- I want it to spill over onto my children, my family, and my friends- onto my neighbors and all that I come into contact with.
So today and tomorrow and every day- I pray that we will seek the source of our strength with a hungry spirit- ready to be fed by His Word and His Presence.
May your cup overflow.