One of the most common problems that hinder spiritual growth among Christians is assuming to have what they do not yet have or to be what they have not yet become. It is human nature for a Christian to assume he has more of God than he really has, to assume he knows more than he really knows. Christians nearly always feel they know more about God and His will than they really do. This is a grave error; it causes deadness. When you assume you have something you don’t really have, then you have closed the door to receiving it.
If you ask a Christian if he knows the Lord, he would say, “Yes, I know the Lord,” because to him to say “no” would mean he is not really a Christian. The fact is, though, most Christians do not really know the Lord. They may know about Him, and even some of that may be incorrect knowledge. And even if he really does know the Lord, to what extent is that true?
God says, My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9. That remains true regardless of where you are spiritually. God continues to speak thusly through the Apostle Paul. The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14).
It is impossible for man in his own abilities and awarenesses to know the Lord. If a man knows anything of God or has any spiritual experience concerning the things of God, he received it, for it was not due to what he was or had. What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? I Corinthians 4:7. For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Romans 12:3. Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. I Corinthians 10:12.
I am not trying to make you an unbeliever, but what I am trying to get across to you is very important. There are some who just have a hard time believing God for anything, but far more Christians are stopped in their tracks for assuming they have when they have not. Human nature is very prideful and arrogant. Thinking you are not good enough for God to bless and give His treasures is the same thing in reverse. Remember Peter telling Jesus, “You shall never wash my feet!” and Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you will have no part with Me” (John 13:8).
Would you like to be set in the Body as an apostle like Paul or a prophet like Elijah? How about a TV evangelist with the gifts of miracles and healings? Those desires will keep you from functioning in the will of God. Real ministry is not about you becoming something special. Real ministry begins with an emptying out of self. It is not what you are in yourself that counts, but what He is in you and through you, and that is determined by Him. God sets the members every one of them in the Body as it pleases Him. I Corinthians 12:18. Are you willing to empty yourself of self so Jesus Christ can function through you in any way He desires, without any preconceived ideas of how He will do it? Are you willing to be an eye or an ear or a little finger or even the most unnoticed member in the Body of Christ?
The emptying out of self is very important. In fact, it is the only way a person will ever become a true ministry of Christ. If you want spiritual perception, then become blind. The Lord heals blind eyes; He can’t do much for those who think they can see. If you want to hear what God is speaking, become deaf. The Lord can heal the deaf; He can’t do much for those who think they can hear. Do you want to speak a living Word? - become dumb. Do you want a real walk with God? - become lame. Great multitudes came to Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them. Matthew 15:30. What about the religious Pharisees who refused to empty out self? They thought they were doing just fine. Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, Are we blind also? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin; but because you say, We see; therefore your sin remains. John 9:39-41.
This is what it means to cease from your labors; this is the true Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:9-11). Stop doing works in your own wisdom and energies. It isn’t acceptable to God! Some came to Jesus and asked, What shall we do that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered, This is the work of God, that you believe into Him whom He has sent. John 6:28-29. To believe into Him is to empty out self that your life may be swallowed up in Him. Then He has full access to work His will through you. In this way He is sent to you and in you.
The calling of God doesn’t usually come upon the wise and noble. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. I Corinthians 1:26-29.
The greatest advancement into the Kingdom of God is made by those who make no assumptions and have nothing to prove. When Satan comes and says, “If you are a son of God…” you won’t have to prove anything or make any defense, and he is defeated because you did not assume a place of importance.
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose