November 6, 2016

Acts 9:34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and tidy up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.

Peter’s focus was on Jesus, first and last and in the middle. We get all caught up in the situation and in ourselves, but Peter had gotten over that. He knew that he could do nothing good on his own, but that Jesus could do anything at all through him. We would do well to learn from his example! From Pentecost on, Peter acquired quite a reputation as someone who did things he shouldn’t have been able to do, from speaking boldly and skillfully before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:8-14) to performing assorted miracles. The thing is, he had been self-confident up through the Garden of Gethsemane, even taking a wild swing with a sword to try to defend Jesus, but his failure in denying Jesus three times right after that knocked all of that out of him. Our failures can be marvelous blessings from God, if they teach us to rely totally on Him instead of on ourselves. It doesn’t matter how talented, gifted, or whatever else we are, we can’t do God’s work in our own strength, period. Thinking we can do it, at least a little, is a major hindrance to being used by God. Jesus was actually very clear on that point. (John 15:5) The other side of that is having faith that God can use us. Too often, if we get it through our heads that we can’t do it ourselves, we think that we are hopeless even for God to use. That’s still focusing on ourselves! It is almost an over-used example, but if God could use a donkey to speak to Balaam, He can use us however He likes! (Numbers 22:21-33) Peter knew this, which is why God was able to use him so effectively.

This has been an issue for me all my life. The Lord has blessed me with a wide variety of abilities, and I don’t recall my parents ever saying to me, “That’s beyond you. Give it up.” As a result, I have tended to be cocky and conceited, even while nursing inferiority complexes about such things as sports. That can be amusing to watch in someone else, if a bit on the insufferable side, but it is a serious liability when it comes to being a servant of God. I am not to ignore or denigrate the things God has placed in me, but at the same time I must never think that those things are sufficient to do anything right apart from Him. The fact that I have labored for 35 years here in Omura with so little to show for it should be ample evidence of that! The thing is, God is not limited by my past performance, and I’ve got to remember that. He’s given me a message for this morning on operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I can no more impart that to anyone on my own than I can turn myself into a turnip. However, God is more than able to use even me to open people’s hearts to His Spirit so that He may cleanse, heal, and empower them. My job this morning is to listen obediently to Him and try to stay out of His way.

Father, help me expect great things of You without trying to dictate how You are going to work. I tend to build scenarios in my mind and then try to make them happen. Protect me from that. Help me be a fully willing, available instrument in Your hands, so that You may do exactly what You desire in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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