God gave every one of His children gifts. We are workers in the kingdom of God, and every good thing that has been given has a purpose. It is not ultimately for us, but for God’s glory. As those who want to serve God, we must be careful not to make serving God and idol.
We may not intend for this to happen, but we can start with earnestly seeking God, and then move to just serving in our own strength. We can try to pour out without being filled up by Him. We can't give out of an empty cup. When we become so focused on the service and not God Himself, we become dry vessels. We are then of no benefit to anyone.
The decline in our fellowship with God is not a sudden thing. It happens over time. We are excited to be servants of God. We desire to share the Gospel, in the ways God has provided. We are ‘sold out’ for the Kingdom. We pour and pour and pour. Slowly, we don’t have time to spend time with God- to be renewed in our spirits. We have to make deadlines (that we set upon ourselves).
We tell ourselves “I will spend time with God after this next ‘thing.’” The problem is that the ‘next thing’ will never end. We find ourselves with a dilemma. We are empty and exhausted from trying to do the will of God. We eventually realize we have become detached from the vine while trying to bear the fruit of service for Christ.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." John 15:4
BELIEVING A LIE
Many of us believe the lie that we are strong enough. I happened to overhear an older and wiser believer say something to the effect of, “I didn’t know anything when I was younger. I thought I could go a day without reading my Bible. Now, I see how needy I am. I can’t afford to skip time with God. I need His strength.”
I was affected greatly by that statement. Why? Because I sometimes believe I can go a day without being in the Word. That is a lie fed to us by the enemy. The truth is, I have no strength apart from God. I need Him desperately for my own spiritual growth. How can I ever point others to Christ, if I am not daily finding satisfaction in Him? How can I pour out without being filled? I can’t, and neither can you!
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
The fact that we realize the problem is a gift from God. He decided to graciously open our eyes to the lie we have been believing and acting on. We should be grateful for this! The belief that we can depend on our own strength for the glory of God hits all of us. Its root is pride. We are saying with our actions, “I don’t need God, I have myself.”
Seeing the lie humbles us. We need God for our next breath. So, of course, we would need Him to live a godly life. "I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" John 15:5. We need Him to use the gifts He has given us, for His glory. We can’t minister to anyone, without first being ministered to, by the Holy Spirit.
When God shows us this sin of pride, we must repent. Repentance is also a grace. We are allowed to come back to God over and over again! There is always an endless supply of mercy reserved for us. He will never turn us away. That is a great gift that we should not take for granted.
BEING FILLED BY GOD
After seeing our neediness, we can find all we need in Christ. He will speak to us and satisfy our souls deepest needs. He heals, comforts, and calls us to Himself. "O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me" Psalm 30:2. As a blogger, I sometimes find myself trying to give out of an empty cup.
I believe the lie that I need to upload something, without spending time with God..simply because I feel like I ‘should.’ I live in a family of ministers. My Dad is a pastor. He has a demanding position, and it can be easy even for him to be tempted towards pouring out to God’s people without time spent with God Himself.
We are all tempted. You can’t speak truth to your co-worker if you aren’t spending time with God for yourself. You can’t pour into your children without first being poured into by God. You can’t minister to lost people if you are not speaking to the One you are trying to point them to.
WITH HIS HELP
God has given us a great commission, which is to share the Gospel. No believer is exempted. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19" In order to be effective, we have to be filled by God.
Sometimes we can fall into the rut of seeking God only to pour out. In this way, we are not going to Him for a personal relationship. We are just going to get truths for other people. God calls for our hearts first. We are to have a personal relationship with Him first. Then, we can pour out of an overflowing cup. God first wants you!
Are you willing to give Him all of you, even if it means giving up things you have been clinging to? He wants your 'yes'. "You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek Psalm 27:8.” Seek to know more of Him, and you will be able to minister to those He has called you to.
“Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up, Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more,
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”
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