Thursday, April 18, 2013

Coming To The End of Myself

by Donna L. Watkins

"When I come to the end of myself, I find the beginning of God." -- Unknown

How much more real this saying is to me than when I pondered it a year ago. I remember wondering how far it was until I would get to the end of myself. It surely seemed like a very long journey for one so independent and full of ideas on how to handle things.

One year later I feel as though I've been yanking and tugging and pulling and pushing my way through to get to complete healing. Once you've been partially healed and once you know that Christ has already given it in the atonement, it's hard to get it off your mind, but the problem with that is that it's easy to believe we can do something to make it happen.

 It's done, so how does 'doing' fit into the equation? It doesn't. The key is to have the Truth revealed to our hearts. The bridge is sometimes long from the mind to the heart, but the Holy Spirit is the One who does the work, if we simply step back and receive.

So on the sideline of all that brain activity has been my deep desire for revelation of how deep the love of God is and a growing understanding of who I am in Christ. As I look back I realize how much the Holy Spirit has continued to draw me into His presence to build my trust in the Father so that He could mold and shape me into who He created me to be. I'm convinced that our mode of operation of doing is rooted in a lack of trusting God.

I've been reading The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee over the past half year.  It's really deep and yet profoundly simple with many practical illustrations on the experience of the Cross. I read chapters over and over again, knowing in my spirit that it was food necessary for survival.

Looking back over the path of all the struggling I have done thinking there is something I can do to bring about total healing in this earthly body makes me realize the long road the Holy Spirit has had with my soul. But He's good at what He does and I am so excited at how much change can take place in a year.

 How much more revelation we can have when we are still to know Him. Understanding of who we are in Christ has to be based in the heart and not the mind to become all we were designed to be and to experience the life that Christ called, "more abundant."

Believing there is nothing my flesh can do about life's situations is a hard thing for me to grasp. I guess I grew up with a really strong work ethic. Most of us are taught that if you want something you need to get out there and get it. Yes, there is great value in being diligent and steadfast, but as a Christian the only way it all comes together is if we're diligent in letting Him do the doing. One idea from the Holy Spirit is worth a million of our own thoughts. Our mind has so many ideas of how to get things done, it's hard for the Holy Spirit to get a thought in at times. It's so foreign to think that doing nothing will produce everything. But that's the grace walk.

The Law brings us to the end of ourselves. That was its purpose. It was written to show mankind what was required by a holy God, and in knowing it, we come to total despair of ourselves realizing there is no way for our flesh to keep the Law.

© Donna L. Watkins
Old City Cemetery - Lynchburg, VA
Pickerel Plant Blooming in Pond at Butterfly Garden
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So, God sends Jesus Christ to earth to take ALL of our sins and to fulfill the Law Himself. As we offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice, as a slave or servant, we find that it's like having a master who has an impossible list of tasks for us to do, and in knowing there is no way for us to fulfill this job, he himself does them all himself.

Christ fulfilled all of the Law for us and we are now free from doing anything of value in the flesh. What we focus on instead is living by the Spirit and being led to each impossible task and then allowing Him to do it through us. God can do all things, but He generally uses people in bodies to get things done. We are of most use to Him in areas where we feel totally useless.

It's so simple it seems impossible. It must've seemed impossible to the people of Paul's time also since they seemed to have a problem with not doing. With the Law mentality fresh and foremost in Jewish minds I'm sure it was inconceivable that we could just rest in Jesus. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us: "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. We're a world full of people who need rest for our souls! And when we take His yoke and join ourselves to Him, He will carry the load.

We must die so that He can live through us. In so many ways life seems so hard because we face the challenges head-on and struggle to deal with them, or we head for our cave and turn away from facing the issues at all. Neither option is designed to work. We are to turn it all over to Him.

The majority of the Galatians were Jewish Christians and Paul had quite the conversation with them in Galatians 3:1-5 where he rebukes them saying, "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?"

After an example of Abraham, he continues with verse 10 saying, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

Obviously we've never been able to do everything written in the Law. James 2:10 tells us that "whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point is guilty of breaking all of it." The Old Testament Commandments could not be satisfied which is why they had to apply the blood to the mercy seat.

How much more did Christ expand that Law when He gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) where He said even if we think something and don't do it, it is still sin. Christ came to become the curse for us and to free us from the Law. We hear that and know it mentally, but our flesh can't comprehend how it works because it can only work as we walk in the Spirit, not while we choose to walk in the flesh with all of our own ideas rushing and rolling around in our minds.

© Donna L. Watkins
Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, SC
How Much Love The Father Has For Us   (My Title)
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We can say as Paul said, "Oh, wretched man that I am" (Romans 7:24). Paul had a hard time giving up his flesh with all the knowledge and esteem he had known in the flesh, but in the end he says it was all of the same value as dung. "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:8-9)

And in the end the revelation is so simple it's hard to grasp. Paul has a great concern over believers confusing and complicating the simplicity of the Gospel as he writes to the church at Corinth, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).  We must come to Him as children.  He's a good Daddy.  Many earthly fathers were not so, but God is a perfect Father and Jesus said that in seeing Himself we have seen the Father.

The devil loves to deceive us into thinking that God isn't for us so we may as well get in there and figure it out and do it ourselves.  The same message he used on Adam and Eve ... God is not for you, He's withholding something good from you. God gives all good things and never withholds from us.  He says to us, "I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2).  Our soul must prosper and the only way to do that is to get it out of the way, renew our minds, and allow His Spirit to walk this life out through us.

All the more reason to get to know Him more and more and more and more. When we see that God IS love, we will have no problem holding HIs hand and not heading out on our own to the wastelands of life and our worthless mental solutions. God IS love ... He doesn't just love, He IS love. Another amazing huge thing for us to ponder.

"When I come to the end of myself, I find the beginning of God." -- Unknown

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