Today’s Neil Anderson Devotional
From “Freedom in Christ Ministries”
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . follow Me
Seeking to overcome self by self-effort is a hopeless struggle. Self will never cast out self, because an independent self motivated by the flesh still wants to be God. We must follow Christ by being led by the Holy Spirit down the path of death to self-rule. As Paul wrote: “We who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11).
This may sound like a dismal path to walk, but I assure you that it is not. It is a tremendous experience to be known by the Shepherd and to follow Him as obedient, dependent sheep (John 10:27). The fact that we are led by the Spirit of God, even when it results in the death to self-rule, is our assurance of sonship (Romans 8;14). We were not designed to function independently of God. Only when we are dependent on Him and intent on following Christ are we complete and free to prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
Self-rule is motivated by self-interest and supported only by self-centered resources. When we come to the end of our resources, we discover God’s resources. God will let us do our thing and patiently wait until self-interest and self-rule leave us spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. We can turn to God any time we weary of trying to run our own lives independently of Him. He doesn’t force Himself on us; He just simply says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . follow Me.” Are you willing to forsake self-rule and follow Him?
This is by far, the greatest lesson I have had to learn. Being a prideful and an “I can do it all” kind of gal, I have foolishly pursued the things in my life that mattered most to me “myself”. Surely God is way too busy helping the billions of souls in need and I can do it myself… All I did was run myself into utter depletion of spirit and hope. When I hit rock bottom and truly handed over control to God, so many great blessings burst forth. He has healed my body, mind, soul, and life. He has given me a rebirth of confidence and love that I have never felt before. I now know what it means to be “filled with the gifts of the Spirit”, as I think in a better way and my heart feels the communion with God when I pray. I always felt that giving God the control, or handing him the steering wheel, was a sure sign of weakness. But it is the sign you value your relationship with God and that you truly love and trust him with all your heart! My blessings have been great and I am truly where I need to be. God cannot work His perfect will unless He has control to heal our pain and insecurities and fix our broken heart and spirit. Our pain and despair, at the moment of surrender, is the fire he uses to forge us into “new creatures” (as promised in the Bible) and fill us and all those vacant places deep inside with the “gifts of the Spirit”. It is merely the commitment that you want to love and trust the Lord and walk with him and recieve the blessings his perfect will brings. We mere mortals are made human so we can rely on Him and he can bless us fully. When we rely on everything else but him we increase the distance and He can’t reach out and bless us. Hard lessons for a bullheaded, prideful woman from the heartland to learn, but I am so blessed to know it.
Prayer: Loving Shepherd, I desire Your will for my life, and I purpose today to follow You in obedience and dependence.
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