Friday, February 29, 2008
My friend called me last week and asked me this question, "Christina, when in your life (or if ever) have you ever experienced the resurrection power of Jesus Christ?" My friend is always great for making me think. WOW! That was a deep question - one I had to really think about. The first verse that popped in my mind is the verse that talks about how the same power that raised Christ from the dead also lives in us. Have I known that power? My mind went in every direction over the past 2 years of how I have been on this journey of knowing that power. I wrote about it in my last post. I so desperately want to live in that power, to live knowing it is not my strength but God's. In my Spirit I knew there was so much more, and I prayed, and dug into the Word and listened to the Lord's voice as He led me through (often times not as quickly as I wanted to go).
The very next verse that came to mind was :
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
I cannot even explain the process of how God worked in my heart, but in about 15 minutes I began to journal the whole process over the course of 2 years of what God was up to in all the difficulties that we have gone through - and the difficulties have lasted much longer, but my desperateness to experience the power of the Spirit to overcome the difficulties was more in the past 2 years. As I thought about that verse, it was so clear to me what God had been doing. I knew all along that it was for a purpose, and I knew I needed to surrender my rights, my frustrations, everything.....But I wasn't sure how. The process TAUGHT us how. I cannot explain it any other way. I couldn't have chosen it to be different. I had to learn it. Dave & I both had to learn it.
This verse is explained so perfectly in a book that was recently given to us, called Brokenness, by Lon Solomon. He talks about the process of how God has to break us in order to use us - I mean FULLY use us. he quotes, "Our self-life and all of its out-workings - self-trust, self-reliance, self-wisdom, self-will - are the things that increase our resistance to the Holy Spirit's movement in and through our lives." Yes, this is what I want. Not just to tap into my own strength and be useful, but operate out of the power of the Holy Spirit because I have died to myself - my self-rights, my self-reliance, my self-will. I honestly don't know how anyone gets to that point without God breaking us. I could never choose to be so dependent on my own. That has always been my desire, but one day God just hit me with the truth that I was not, and I was powerless to be where He wanted me to be and I just desperately sought Him for the answers - often times wanting formulas. Another thing Lon Solomon talks about in his book is that God does not anoint programs, He anoints people. That really hit me too, because I'm always looking for formulas to make my situation better.
He goes on to explain the verse in John 12. "A kernel of wheat with its hard outer shell intact is useless. The wheat cannot sprout and grow. There is life on the inside, but it cannot be released. However, when the wheat's hard outer shell is broken and cracked open, then the life of the wheat can come out and grow and bear fruit and bring blessing to its world. The real issue is not whether there is life inside the kernel of wheat but whether the life that is inside can get out and make an impact on the world around it. And this depends on whether its hard outer shell has been broken. Jesus points to this truth of nature and declares that it is the secret to bringing forth 'many seeds' for God. So, Jesus says, a Christ follower is just like a kernel of wheat. When we give our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our innermost being. Just like the kernel of wheat, we have the Spiritual life inside of us. But every one of us still has that hard outer shell of our self-life. The result is that the life and power of the Spirit of God can't get out - it can't flow through us. Just like physical seeds, God must break the hard outer shell of every Christ-follower so that the life of God can pulsate through us freely and spill out onto the world around us."
One life he talks about is that of D.L.Moody. D.L.Moody was already in our eyes considered a great man of God before He was broken. It seemed He lived for Christ, but there were 2 older women that thought differently. They knew Moody was not living in the power of the Holy Spirit, and although he had a great love for God, most of what he did (they felt) was in his own strength. Oh that sounds so much like me. While Moody preached, they prayed. Moody did not get it - he thought their prayers should be directed towards the congregation and not him. But one day, the great fire of Chicago came and stripped Moody of everything. He found himself alone and devastated. but his spiritual hunger remained. Here, God brought Moody to the end of himself. Here, Moody suddenly saw how much of his work in Chicago had been propelled by his own energy, power, and drive. Here, Moody confessed that he had been like Moses in the early years of Moses' life. Here, quietly, Moody surrendered himself totally to God. Moody quotes, 'Before this, I was always tugging and carrying the water myself, Now I have a river that carries me!' " One thing that truly amazes me is that after this brokenness process happened for D.L.Moody he quotes, "I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different. I did not present any new truths and yet now thousands were converted...I would not now be placed back where I was before if you were to give me the world...It would be as the small dust of the balance." WOW! that strikes me hard as I am reminded that God does not anoint a formula but a person. I have often wondered why what I am doing is not working for me, even putting forth great effort. I am convinced now more than ever, to surrender my self to God. It is His plan, His agenda. The product of the process is so worth it!
There is so much more from this book I would like to quote, but if any of this is resonating with where you are at in your journey I highly recommend getting this book.
I pray that anyone who reads this blog, and is going through this brokenness process that you be encouraged! God's agenda is for us to be free, not feel the bondage we often do. So often we resist the things that God so wants to use to teach us - right down to the small stuff. It starts with the small stuff. If there is a circumstance in your life that you seem to run away from because it is too hard, maybe a relationship you avoid because it is too difficult, I would encourage you to pray hard before you make that choice. You may be missing out on living a Spirit filled life. So many choices I have had to make in my life were the more difficult choice, but I knew the product would be worth the process. And it so is! I have so far to go and I am excited to see what the Lord does next....
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.