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No More Great Things for God

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day. —Abraham Lincoln

Have you ever sat in a small group and felt yourself getting impatient? All is innocent enough—a group of believers discussing a best-selling book—but your cheeks are flushed, and your heart rate has increased.

Your group is halfway through the content, and each week the conversations have followed a similar trajectory: I want to do great things for God. I’m going to try harder this week to please Him. I’m going to do this for God and do that for God.

And you feel this holy impatience with it all because you know we cannot do what only God can do. Eventually, you decide to speak up, “Are you aware that me doing something great for God is like an ant trying to teach LeBron James how to dunk a basketball?”

When Libby and I were in the early years of our marriage and having a hard time communicating, I thought I’d go home and clean the house. I was so proud of myself, feeling certain she’d walk in the front door, jump in my arms, and tell me how great I was.

Instead, she said nothing.

So I said, “Look what I did.”

“Thanks,” was all she could muster.

When I shared how disappointing her response was, she told me she didn’t know why, but the clean house didn’t feel very loving to her. Libby was right. I had cleaned the house in my own strength to get appreciation from her—not to demonstrate my love.

So I asked God to show Libby His unselfish love through me. I prayed and waited for the answer. Sometime later, I felt God wanted me to clean the house again. I told Him it hadn’t worked out very well the last time, but I did it anyway.

This time when Libby walked in the door, her eyes filled with tears, and her heart was full of gratitude. The same act done with different motives, a different Source, yielded a completely different result.

This is the difference between the flesh and the Spirit. This is the difference between independence and trust. When we stop operating in our own strength, God is free to move.

Jesus, my prayer is simple: Move and speak through me. Give me a holy impatience for all areas of my life and the lives of those around me to fully experience Your goodness and power. Amen.

Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?

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