His Spirit … Not Our Efforts
His Spirit … Not Our Efforts
I’ve got some pretty surprising advice for all those staring down a long road filled with daunting and impossible tasks … DO NOTHING!
Huh … ?? You’re probably wondering if you read that wrong.
So let me explain … I can complete a detailed to-do list with the best of them. And I’m pretty certain there are many of you out there who LOVE your lists. Maybe you’re one of those over-achievers – you know who you are – you take the time to record the tasks you’ve finished that weren’t even on your list – simply for the pleasure of checking them off!
DO NOTHING? It doesn’t make any sense – so it might be hard to believe that those instructions actually came from Jesus Himself.
Here’s when it happened: Jesus tells the disciples – go and preach the good news of salvation to the whole world, but first DO NOTHING – stay in Jerusalem – until the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon you. (Luke 24:49 paraphrase)
Now you might expect that after issuing such a daunting and impossible mission, Jesus would have scheduled a strategic planning session, complete with charts, maps, and talking points to prepare the men for the task at hand.
But that’s not at all what happened. The boys are simply told to wait until God’s power came upon them. Now I want to make it very clear that they had NO IDEA what in the world they were actually waiting for and no clue what it would look like.
Can you imagine how hard it must have been for them to do nothing except pray and wait when there was so much to be done? Wouldn’t it make more sense to divide into teams and hit the road – time was a-wastin’!
But in a moving act of surrendered obedience, they came together in one house and did just as Jesus commanded … nothing … UNTIL …
A sound like a violent wind suddenly came from heaven and filled their house and then something like tongues of fire came to rest on each of them. At that moment, all were filled with the power of God through His Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-3)
All glory and power breaks loose in a moment! Peter – begins preaching with newfound boldness – and that very day 3,000 people are saved! (Act 2:41).
Incredible! The suddenness of this miraculous transformation in Peter as well as in 3,000 others defies explanation – which is why I LOVE this story!
Here’s the point: “Jesus can accomplish more in one moment through His Spirit than we can accomplish in 10,000 lifetimes on our own.” (J.D. Greear from Jesus, Continued … )
That’s some great news! God’s got this! The results are up to Him. When we refuse the temptation to take matters into our own hands and simply walk in obedience, following His lead, doing the work He’s given us to do – through His strength, not our own – we’ll barely be able to keep up with all the Holy Spirit is accomplishing.
It’s easy to become discouraged when we are waiting for God to answer our prayers and ready solutions to our troubles seem nonexistent. It’s hard to resist the temptation to take matters into our own hands.
But what if we prayed and waited for God’s leading instead of rushing forward in our self-sufficiency? What if we trusted in His divine power rather than our man-made plans?
Our God is a God of acceleration. He can throw open doors of hope in an instant – dreams that seem so far from being realized can suddenly and without fanfare burst into reality.
Don’t give up hope in your long waits … just keep walking in obedience – doing the next thing – and leaning more deeply into the power and strength of our Lord. Let’s be encouraged – for our Almighty God is working behind the scenes on our behalf and He can be trusted not to waste one second of our difficult waits.
May we continue to find peace in this stress-shattering truth: Jesus can accomplish more in one moment through His Spirit than we can accomplish in 10,000 lifetimes on our own!