Doing It All On Our Own

Do you ever have images pop into your head during a time of prayer?  Not trying to be weird or spooky.  But sometimes the Lord will impress something which I can only assume is a word I need to receive.   

One time I was praying and I got a picture of 2 sets of hands.  One set was of feeble and weak hands; only open to receive but powerless to do anything on their own.  I realized these were my own hands.  In the same picture, I saw the most mighty and powerful hands which were strong enough to lead me and carry me if necessary.  The image impressed this thought:  “Stop trusting in what your own hands can provide; in the feebleness and frailty of your own strength.  Put your trust in my capable hands which can surely carry you safely to your destination.”     

I went away from that time of prayer revitalized and refocused.  It was like I had a fresh wind blow across me and suddenly I could breathe again.  For me the hardest times in life are not necessarily when everything is going poorly; when the chips are down.  Those seem to be the times I am driven to my knees and readily know how much I depend on God.      

No, the hardest times in my life are those days when everything is copacetic.  Big word I know.  But basically it means “in excellent order.”  When life is in excellent order, I start to turn inward.  I start to believe everything rises and falls with me.  Pride rises up.  Self-confidence rises up.   

In those moments, my hands seem big enough and strong enough to do anything.  I have no need for God or His ways.  Oh how quickly that train derails off of the tracks!   

If there is one character in the Bible who I admire most when it comes to submission, it is John the Baptist.  Who better than John to show us the heart of a servant, dependent upon His Savior?  His sole purpose was to point people to Christ.   

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: 

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 
Prepare the way for the Lord; 
make His paths straight!  Matthew 3:1-3 

Let’s put ourselves in John’s shoes (or sandals).  He’s had a ministry for a length of time…a ministry solely based upon “preparing the way.”  He’s baptizing people in the Jordan River and it’s a baptism of repentance (Matthew 3:11).  People are coming to him in droves and he’s starting to gain a following.  If he had a Twitter account, he probably would’ve been trending.  If he was on Facebook, everyone would’ve liked his page.    

John was thriving in what he was doing.  And perhaps everything was in excellent order.   

But John shows us what true submission looks like when Jesus comes to him to be baptized.   

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.  But John tried to stop Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me?”   

Jesus answered him, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him to be baptized. 

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: 

This is My beloved Son. 
I take delight in Him!  Matthew 3:13-17 

Whenever my hands start to look big enough and capable on their own, I remind myself of the heart of John the Baptist.  When he could’ve taken credit and even made a play to undermine the plans of God, he did not.  At this point in the story, people knew relatively little about Christ.  But many were starting to know who John was.   

I love that John submits and in the process, Jesus is glorified.  The Spirit of God descends and the voice of God declares Who Jesus is.  When we submit, God gets all the glory. 

I want that in my life.  I want people to go away knowing less about me and more about Jesus wherever I go.  I have nothing to offer in and of myself.  I can only point to Christ and say “follow Him.”   

In closing this entry, I would simply encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any part within that says “I’ve got this God.  I can take it from here.”  Realize that His hands are stronger and bigger and when we commit our plans to Him, He is glorified in us and through us.   

How can I pray for you today and how can I stand alongside you as you wrestle with this truth in your own life?  I’d love to hear from you!  info@derekcharlesjohnson.com 

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 

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