February 2nd, 2011 by Kristi Stephens
A few years ago our small group worked through a great study together called Cat and Dog Theology (it’s better than it sounds! Ha!). One of the points made in that study that has stuck with me is this:
Am I asking God to help me do things, or am I asking Him to cause me to do His will?
If I am praying “help me” prayers – Lord, help me be a good mom today; Lord, help me serve my husband today; Lord, help me [fill in the blank] – I am operating under the basic assumption that there are some things that I can do. I just need a little help! When I ask God to help me, it is a good signal that I may not be abiding. I may not be finding myself utterly dependent before Him. I may be forgetting that apart from Him I can do NOTHING.
Quoting from our past discussion regarding the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The meaning of the word “poor” here is fascinating. It is in contrast with another Greek word which means “poor but able to help oneself.” This word means “poor and helpless; one who, in his abjectness, needs lifting. So poor he can sustain himself only through begging – one who has nothing at all.”
This poverty of the soul was the very beginning of my salvation. It also is crucial in my sanctification. I must find myself continually lowly before my awesome and holy God, acknowledging that any good in my life, any good that I do is because of Him alone.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (ESV)
Nothing means I need more than help. I need Him to cause me.
Lord, on my own I am a trainwreck. All of my best efforts fall flat. Even the good that I do becomes entwined with pride, with competition, with the desire to please people. Often I do not even want to do what is good, and like Paul I find that the good I want to do I do not do, and what I do not want to do I do. My perspective is easily skewed. I find that I cannot even dwell in your Word and focus in times of prayer as my focus wanders and I begin to fret or plan or daydream.
Lord, I need more than help! I need you to cause me – cause my heart to focus on You, cause my will to be in line with your own, cause me to love what you love and hate what you hate.
“I can do nothing” means that the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus.
Are you finding that you need more than just some “help?” I hope that you’ll join us throughout the month of February as we continue to consider what it means to Abide.