My wife asked me a very important question on the eve of Valentine’s day: “What does it mean to approach God empty handed?”
As best as I could I tried to explain it to her. However human explanations are far from being perfect, and the question was not answered either of our satisfaction!
That night we went out for our Valentine’s dinner. It was delicious Mediterranean cuisine, followed with a sumptuous desert. We had a great time together. Once home though, I attacked a stack of problems and then went to bed. But there was one little problem: my spoiled digestive system would not let me fall asleep! I was too full! I tried to stay in bed, but as I was wrestling to fall asleep, I became concerned that I might be keeping my wife awake! So I took my pillow and crept to the guestroom. After spending some quiet time with God, I would sleep there!
I love those times spend with God! Every time I am in His presence, I am so blessed! As I was praying, I felt that God was on the verge of revealing something important to me. God wanted to answer my wife’s question, clearly and simply!
The first answer to the question came through a book I was reading by a writer named John Bevere: “The most effective way for the enemy to blind us is to cause us to focus on ourselves.” (Bevere, John. THE BAIT OF SATAN. Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 1997, p. xiv.)
I picked up my Bible and started reading Rom. 8:5-9: “Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them — living and breathing God! OBSESSION WITH SELF IN THESE MATTERS IS A DEAD END; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. FOCUSING ON THE SELF IS THE OPPOSITE OF FOCUSING ON GOD. ANYONE COMPLETELY ABSORBED IN SELF IGNORES GOD, ENDS UP THINKING MORE ABOUT SELF THAN GOD. THAT PERSON IGNORES WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE IS DOING. AND GOD ISN’T PLEASED AT BEING IGNORED. But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him.” from THE MESSAGE
That was it, plain and simple! There is no better way to define being empty handed — it’s when you are so totally focused on God that you cannot focus on yourself! You know that God has all the solutions to your problems, but you don’t try and solve them your way. This means saying, in the midst of “Lord, give me YOUR perspective on my problems. I want to join you in whatever you are doing. By myself I can do nothing. However victory is mine through the merits of your Son. Hallelujah!” With this attitude, you can’t help but praise God continually, no matter what the circumstances are. You know that you are a child of God and you know God will show the way through every situation! Praise be to God!
It’s no wonder that so many prayers are not answered! “God give me this and give me that….” We are sometimes so self focused when praying that we treat God as our slave. When we “end up thinking more about self than God”, we are “ignoring who God is and what He is doing”! God cannot be ignored!
What’s the solution if you are in that kind of a bind, where self absorbs all your attention?
“If God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him” Simply, instead of praying “God give me this and give me that….”, invite Jesus to take over your life and “take up residence in your life”. He will show you God’s perspective in all of your situations, if you let Him. When He is your number 1 in your life, His perspective will always be clear to you, even in the most desperate situations. This is what Jesus meant when He said: Matt 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” NIV
Will you join me and invite God to be your number 1 in life? You won’t regret your decision. He wants to become your bosom friend. Will you let Him? Try His perspective and be blessed! Thank you Jesus for caring so much for me!
In His love,
Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org ]]>
(To access the entire “Empty-Handed Leads to Fullness From God” mini-series, please click here.)