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Each one of us would be absolutely terrified if we were asked to walk along the edge of the Grand Canyon during a pitch-dark night without any light. After all, we could fall off the cliff and die. We might be more willing to do it if we had a travel plan and a bright light that would allow us to see every detail ahead of us.
In the same way, we want to plan and control our lives while we walk with the Lord. We want to be sure of tomorrow, and we want to be certain how He is going to take care of us before we ever dare to step out on His Word. We don’t mind that He is our King as long as His actions are predictable and He shows and explains to us His schedule ahead of time.
On the other hand, we feel helpless, frustrated, and almost angry if all we hear from Him is “follow Me, trust Me” and “walk by faith, not by sight.” We have waited for details, plans and especially security, but all He gave us was His promise that He is all we need.
True walking with the Lord requires us to be totally stripped of everything that is of ourselves and in which we had put our trust, as well as our expectations of acceptance, approval, security, importance, abilities and our rights.
Being stripped does not at all mean to renounce the world and go somewhere to live in a cave. It simply means that we look at ourselves and recognize that we have nothing in us to stand on and nothing to hold on to. All we have is total emptiness. Once we recognize this truth, we are then in the right position to follow Him, totally depend on Him and trust completely in His sufficiency.
God deliberately waited until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90 before He gave them a son. He waited until there was no doubt that Abraham was aware of his own emptiness and therefore was totally dependent on God. Isaac became the son of the Spirit and not of the flesh.
Throughout the Bible we find examples of how God had to wait until His people came to the place of recognizing their own emptiness before He was able to lead them, give them victory and show Himself mighty on their behalf. At times God had to intervene to speed up this process, such as in the story of Gideon. God reduced Gideon’s army to 300 men to make it impossible for them to win the battle in their own strength.
How about you? Have you stepped on empty ground?
• Is there something the Lord has asked you to do but you have put it off, either because you feel unqualified or because you fear you will lose control of the situation?
• What has hindered you from giving unselfishly to reach the lost in our generation?
• Can you honestly say, “This world is not my home. I am just passing through”?
• If someone were to point a gun at you and say, “Deny Christ or I will kill you,” what would be your response? Can you say as Paul did, “Nor do I count my life dear to myself” (Acts 20:24)?
• Is your prayer life proof of your total dependence on the Lord? Do you ask the Lord to show you His plans with a willing heart to obey them, or do you just ask Him to bless your plans?
God has never accepted the product of the flesh, and He never will, however good it might look in our sight. Our plans, our strength and our works, based on anything we find in ourselves, will all burn up. Only that which is of the Spirit will remain eternally.
If we want to follow Him, we must stand on empty ground. It is only in this way that all the results will be of the Spirit and all glory will be the Lord’s, not our own.
The Lord says: Cursed is the man who puts his trust in mortal man and turns his heart away from God. He is like a stunted shrub in the desert, with no hope for the future; he lives on the salt-encrusted plains in the barren wilderness; good times pass him by forever. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. He is like a tree planted along a riverbank, with its roots reaching deep into the water—a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried by long months of drought. Its leaves stay green and it goes right on producing all its luscious fruit (Jeremiah 17:5–8, TLB).
A warning such as this we must not ignore.