Please, NOT more of myself!

An hour after I posted last Friday’s blog entry about wanting “more,” I got more.

More of myself!

My brain ran a Negative Thought Matinee all throughout Friday afternoon. “Frustrations, you’re up first. Then we’ll have the Comparisons. And rounding out the program are the Complaints. We have a full show here today, ladies and gentlemen. A full show with not a single positive thought to spoil it!”

“This is more?” I wondered. “When all I see are my faults driving me to find faults in others? I am on self overload! Didn’t I just write and pray that I ‘want to walk like a redeemed person, made new and whole’? What happened to that? Ugh!”

Well, really, what did I expect? That “more” comes easy? That simply wanting it is enough? That a desire for more of Christ wouldn’t bring some spiritual opposition?

But, boy, did I feel like I was resisting the very “more” I wanted! It was yet another illustration of what Paul said in Romans 7: “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong” (NLT).

Very true. So I struggled, yet again, with my own flesh and its selfish desires.

But in the middle of my battle, God reminded me that last week I had prayed for desperation. After writing about it, I’d asked, “Lord, how do I stay desperate for You when things are going okay–when nothing really big is driving me to my knees?”

Aha! Suddenly I realized that my Negative Thought Matinee was actually an answer to my prayer!

I had forgotten how helpless I really am and needed reminding that even in the “good” times, I am completely inadequate for the tasks set before me. My wily, sinful nature cannot accomplish anything truly good.

And with that understanding I was able to stop battling my negative thoughts and simply cry out “I need you!”

And there it was—the desperation I’d asked for!

God delights in revealing my weakness to me.

This would seem cruel, except that there is MORE. He does NOT do this to make me feel horrible. NO! His purpose is to get me to the place where I cry out for Him. THEN He reminds me that His power is made perfect in my weakness, that when I acknowledge my inability, the power of Christ rests on me.

In Ezekiel 36: 9, God says, “I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will cause many people to live on you—yes, all of Israel.” Another version translates the first phrase as “I am for you.”

Please understand I’m taking liberty with the textual application here. God is speaking to the land of Israel itself, but since Christ compared receptive hearts to fruitful soil, I think I can apply it to my own heart. In Ezekiel 36:9, God is essentially saying to me, “I am for you, and I WILL make you fruitful, so I will prepare you to bear fruit. I will plow you and till you and dig deep in you to plant seed. I will cause you discomfort so that you will bear fruit for others.”

If I want and ask for MORE, then I have to understand that I will be plowed. Sometimes that plowing takes the form of outward hardships; sometimes it is simply being forced to face my deep, tangled roots of sin so I will cry out for help.

So, eyes a little wider this time, I say it again: I want MORE!

More of Jesus,

Less of me.

Less of me,

More, more, more of Jesus.

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