John 3:30 (NKJV) He must increase, but I must decrease.
During the holiday season, I always have my daughters purge the rooms of unwanted or outgrown clothing and toys that have accumulated over the past year. Each drawer is emptied and the closet carefully inventoried to make room for their new wish list of things that are essential. I am always overwhelmed by the abundance that is discovered. Hidden treasures long since forgotten or buried in the mess. Going through our eldest daughter’s closet as she prepared to move into her new home, countless times things were found that caused us to walk down memory lane or say “I was wondering where that went”. I consider myself a minimalist, but times like this I begin to think we are hidden hoarders. My closet is the next great challenge. I need nothing at all. Sure there are things that I may want but when I look at all the Lord has provided for us – I am amazed that we can contain it. Life is all about perspective. I do not believe it is meaningless but filled with meaningless things given value by our rebellious hearts and greedy minds. This is not a brow-beating from the Lord I assure you. But in my Spirit, I feel His Gentle Hands on my shoulders softly turning me around to see where I have come from rather than wishing I was somewhere else. Sometimes we have to look at the past or even inventory the present to see where we are headed in the future. If our true desire is to decrease so that Christ can increase – this will be a lifelong process of love.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NLT)
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
We must be emptied of self to make room for more of Jesus. I read this over and over yet I still struggle with the process of emptiness sometimes. This year, I have been pressed, perplexed, hunted down and knocked down many times in the natural. Wondering why this is necessary, I cried out to the Lord many, many times for a normal life again. But Jesus didn’t die to make my life normal but supernatural. Complacency and compromise settle for the comfortable afraid of that little thing called change. But when the heart cries out its desire, the invitation is clear. Salvation creates a hunger for the Lord and all that comes with living in close proximity to Him. Righteousness opens the door to benefits and blessings that we never thought possible. However, it does not exempt us from hardship that often creates the hunger we need to pursue all of Christ rather than seeking the crumbs beneath His Table. You have the potential to live a life filled with the Glory of God complete lacking no good thing filled with peace and joy. The Light of His Love that begins as a tiny spark can become a passionate flame that no one and nothing can ever extinguish. Considering the cost, many times we think the price is too high for a God who is unseen and a hope that remains unsure so we abandon the effort only to be pressed, perplexed, hunted down, and knocked down again and again. We are being emptied so God can fill us with His Glory. It is our choice to be poured out and pressed out.
2 Kings 4:2-4 (NLT)
“What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.”
Are you saved? Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord? If so, He has given you His Spirit. Whether you acknowledge the Spirit’s Holy Inhabitation in your life or not is up to you. This is the Power of God living inside of you. What are you doing with His Power? When the widow woman came to Elisha she was distraught. Her husband was a prophet who had died clearly a man of God. Now a creditor was threatening to take her sons into slavery to satisfy their debt. Elisha asked her, “What can I do to help you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” The Lord is asking us today what is hoarded away as our backup plan in our mind. What is our “go to” when things do not turn out the way that “we” planned? Are you using what you have to serve God or simply asking Him for more to store away uselessly in this life? The woman replied, “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil.” Oil represents the Holy Spirit. What if her response was more like “Oh, nothing at all, except the power of the Living God inside me!” What did he tell her to do? Pour it out. What if everything I need is already hidden in my home, heart and life to do all that the Lord has called to do, but I am holding on to it to do what I want to do? When I try to use God’s Provision for my plan it is never enough, but when I use it to the Glory of God committed to His Service, it is more than enough.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT)
Now may the God of Peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with His blood— may He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
God has provided for you and prepared you to do His Will. You have everything you need to do His Work and do it well. Sometimes, we must inventory and evaluate our life to remove those things that take the place of the new things that the Lord is doing in us and through us. We must become empty vessels to allow His Spirit to expand in our life. We will experience renewals, revivals, restoration and rejuvenation when we do even if not a single situation, certain circumstance or any other detail changes. It is in the knowledge and understanding that God has a good plan for us with a future and hope that we keep trusting. It is with complete confidence that He can and will make good out of every detail in our life as He perfects that which concerns us day by day that allows us to remain faithful to our calling. He supplies all that we need and when we give Him our heart – He must give us the desires to make room for more of Him. Expectation in the Lord will never lead to disappointment but total fulfillment as He wills our heart with His Love.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Not that I was ever in need…what do you need today? Could it be right there underneath our noses but because we are looking at other things we missed it? I have learned to be content with whatever I have. Contentment does not come with stuff. Satisfaction is not dependent on things that will wear out or are outgrown in time. These two valuable assets are possible in our life when we allow the Lord to pour out those things we fill our life with and allow Him to complete His Fulfillment process in us. The last few years have broken me. My life has turned out nothing like I expected. People have said for years, “The best is yet to come.” I wasn’t sure on that night over three years ago when faced with the possible death of our son. What next God? I don’t have anything left to give you to save His Life. I have given you my all. I had committed every “thing” and every “one” in my life to Jesus Christ. My faith had grown to the capacity of my heart. I knew that I knew that Jesus was alive and lived in me. My hope was secure or so I thought. As I reflect, now I know. I had given Jesus Christ my all but not all of me. So the process continues, I must decrease to allow the Lord to increase in my life.
Proverbs 16:26 (NLT)
It is good for workers to have an appetite; an empty stomach drives them on.