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Holy Pottery

Jesus said “God is Spirit.”  Jesus said that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us.  Jesus said He is the vine, we are the branches.  The branch that does not produce good fruit will be cut off the vine, and cast into the fire.  Jesus said that the branch that produces good fruit, He will prune, that it may produce even more good fruit.

The difficulty with all this spiritual stuff is, my intellect cannot accomplish all this abiding.  I have over 200 hours of college, and a 3.78 GPA.  I can program in many languages.  I can solve problems that most people stare at and wonder over.  God has given me a unique gift of intellect, so much so that many of the engineers I have worked with have asked me to look at a problem after they have exhausted their ideas and theories.  My intellect, as good a gift of God as it is,  is good for scientific inquiry, but not for spiritual growth.

For 20 years, I have asked God to restore me and make me like Jesus, but abiding in Him remained as dark a mystery to me as the Swahili language.  I just couldn’t figure it out.

Spiritual matters are spiritually discerned.  It takes the mind of a child, trusting every word that comes from his father.  The things Christ teaches, I have learned, can only be obtained and understood through obedience.

I have learned that if I am still ignorant of the ways of Christ, it is because there is still something He is showing me to do, that I will not do.  I have learned an amazing amount of information over these last 20 years, and discover, I am still an intellectual child.  But that is only because of my ignorance of a subject.  If I have spiritual darkness in my life, it is because I have no intention of obeying Him in that area.  It really is that simple.

I disobeyed God for well over 20 years, yet I had the nerve to wonder why I am not growing spiritually.  Self-satisfaction is idolatry.   I have to learn that, my satisfaction comes through allowing the Spirit of God to turn me into the living image of Christ Himself.  The more I resisted the very fundamentals of the faith, the more times I had to go around the mountain.

A point came in my life where I had been around that mountain one too many times.  I could not move forward, and I could not move backward.  I wanted Christ, or I wanted to stop living.  Then, in a still small voice, He said, “Be still, and know I am God.”  All I had to do was be still.  It didn’t make sense to my mind, but my heart was hungry and thirsty for the things of Christ.  In my weakness, He became my strength.  In my blindness of Him, He opened my eyes to see His glory.

My heart begged for His love, and it was given abundantly.  My soul begged for His forgiveness, and He called me “My Beloved Son.”  He said to rest, so I rested.  He put me in a place where all I can do is rest in Him.  And in my weakness, I can see that He is becoming my strength.

All I had to do was be still, and obey.

It started simply.  And as I obeyed the simple things, He began to reveal to me all kinds of truths that eluded me.  The brokenness of my heart, and the death of my intellectual arrogance were the first things He accomplished in me.

All I had to do was be still, and obey.

He said for me to read His word.  I was so hungry that, when I read it, I cried for all the wonder and fullness His word brought to my empty soul.  He sat next to me and made it make sense.  My eyes were opened to His will.  It was to “Be Still.”

All I had to do was be still, and obey.

Now I find that there is no life I would rather live than to give my life in service to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He raised me from the dead.  He breathed the life of His Spirit in me.  He showed me how to see things the way He does.  He taught me how to love, and I mean genuinely love.  Considering how dark the darkness was in my soul, His light hurt at first.  But as I grew into it, and started setting root, I found an entire universe of truth and love that no amount of intellectual prowess can fathom.  Our minds are infinitely limited by our pride, selfishness, and arrogance.

All I had to do was be still, and obey.

I am just a baby in Christ.  What I thought was Christianity is just a shell of sugar-coated half-truths, that bring me closer to my own selfish desires, than to the will of the Living God.  Soon, I will be allowed to walk after Him.  Soon, I will be more than His disciple.  Until then, I have much to learn.  And more growing to do than I understand.

All I have to do is be still, and obey.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.

Mold me and make me after Thy will,

While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Search me and try me, Master, today!

Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,

As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!

Power, all power, surely is Thine!

Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Hold o’er my being absolute sway!

Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see

Christ only, always, living in me.

George C. Stebbins, 1907