Say this with me, “It doesn’t work!”. I mean have at it but you probably know from experience that when you get a word from God on what you need to be doing and then decide to do it your own way, you are usually left feeling frustrated, empty, and with no peace. You know that feeling. When you’re trying to do godly works apart from Him.
Well, and that is exactly what I experienced recently and thought I would share with you. Yesterday morning I got up and had plenty of things that were for God that I needed to focus on for that day. I knew I needed to be in God’s Word before anything else so I took about two seconds and read some scripture but more so to say I did it. Mistake numero uno.
When you proceed to do God’s work without Him
So I proceeded to move forward with my day and opened my computer to get started on what I had planned. I quickly got this tugging at my heart that was saying, “Lorin, you need to spend more time in the Word first”. I’m like, “I already read the Word so I am good to go” and continued to move forward ignoring that still small voice.
I was in for a rude awakening. If I had just listened to that tugging I could have probably saved myself a bunch of emptiness that I had felt. It’s like trying to drive a car that has the gas light on. You decide to get by filling your tank with only a gallon worth of gas in hopes of getting you another 500 miles. It’s just not going to happen. You might get about 30 miles until you find yourself coming to a complete stop. If you would have just filled up when you knew you should have, then you wouldn’t be having this problem.
Look intently and continuously
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25
Did you hear that? Intently! The meaning of intently is: with earnest and eager intention. Wow! And I thought I could get by with the bare minimum.
The verse reads on to say “continues to do this”. It doesn’t say do it once and you’re good to go but instead says to continue to do this. Meaning never stop.
The last part of this verse reads, “he will be blessed in what he does”. God wants us to be blessed in what we do and will bless us but we need to be sure to intently seek him first.
The bare minimum won’t cut it
It’s the same thing when you’re trying to get by with the bare minimum spending time with God. Yes, you will have been fed a little bit but soon you will feel hungry again. And any works you’re attempting to do without the one who gave them to you will leave you feeling depleted and unfulfilled.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Why is it that we as Christians are always filling our schedule full of “godly works” believing that we are doing God’s will. Yes, these good works may benefit those around us and may even give us a slight feeling of satisfaction. But we start to believe that all of these good things are going to give us joy, peace, and every good thing we long for. That’s far from the truth.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” Psalm 24:1
Seek the Giver Himself
It’s not the works that are going to fulfill us but the giver. The only reason we have all these good things to do is because of Jesus himself. Which really he is wanting us to seek him first before anything else, including good works.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew 6:33
We so often try to seek everything else first and God last. And we’ve got it all wrong. Jesus first, everything else last. He knows what we need before we even know we need it.
So yesterday when I thought I had it all together and could get by with a quick “Hello Jesus”. I was only fooling myself. Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking a gallon of gas will get us 500 miles. Just fill the tank when that warning light comes on. Or when that still small voice speaks to you. And see how God moves you all the way to where you need to go. Amen!
If you’ve been encouraged by this also read: Through His strength not my own