Jesus often taught off the cuff as people asked questions or made comments. We get several examples of that here in Luke 11. Some of them may be familiar to us.
Strictly speaking spiritual renewal doesn’t follow any strict formula. It’s a work of God’s grace and, as such, is entirely dependent upon Him. Still, if we are willing to recognize our need for spiritual renewal, then we can take conscious steps in that direction. God, as it happens, loves to move in the lives of people who are earnestly seeking Him.
Complete dependence is a humbling concept – but humility, let’s face it, is a good thing. I’d like to say there are some things I can handle, but readily admit that I need the Lord for the biggies. Christ, however, sees it differently:
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (NKJV)
If I want my life to be worth something in light of eternity, I need to get this straight. Without Him I can do nothing.
On the other hand, by abiding in Him I tap into the source of the richest blessings. Whatever Christ means by “much fruit” it has to be good. At the end of the day, that’s what I want: fruit that came from my life that He has produced. I can also think of it like this:
What would my life look like if I got out of the way
and let Christ live my life for me?
How would He handle my responsiblities and relationships? No question He would handle them properly. He would do a way better job with them than I have. So be it. Let’s embrace reality and give the Lord full authority to do whatever He wants.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
I need a lot of God’s grace, His unmerited favor, those unearned blessings that He gives and keeps on giving. There are times I think I’ve nearly drained the limit of His supply. Those are the times He gently reminds me of the cross.
The cross of Jesus Christ illustrates just how far God will go on our behalf. Once we’ve accepted it, the floodgates of grace are now open. We can’t touch the ceiling; if it’s good He will give it. We can’t find the edge. Once we’re inside, having entered through Jesus Christ the Door, the boundaries of His love are unsearchable. And if there is a need He is readly, willing and able to meet it.
Let’s give Him the honor and show Him the respect of taking Him at His word.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
– Romans 8:31-32 (NKJV)
I love to tell the story of when Horizon Central first got started – specifically how we acquired Old School #18. Many have been encouraged by hearing it. I’m encouraged just remembering it.
Before that day, Horizon Central was a group of people in a home fellowship that met in the Fletcher Place neighborhood of Indianapolis. The group was associated with the larger Horizon Christian Fellowship on the NE side – pastor Bill Goodrich. For the record, John Colón was leading the group and it met in the home of Scott and Tracy Murphy. They were praying about and looking for a way to begin a church nearer to downtown – one that would focus more on the people and needs near the center of the city.
So one day in November of 1997, the Indianapolis Public Schools held an auction to sell off some of the buildings which they had closed that year. Horizon had noticed School #18 in Fountain Square and thought it might fit their vision. They sent some guys over that day to bid on it.
They went to the auction equipped with somewhat more faith than money, but not a whole lot of either, really. As the going price for #18 went up they bid more money than they had. The bidding continued, so they dropped out, stopping at the limit of their faith. Eventually the building was sold. Oh well. Nice try anyway. God must have another plan.
Then the man that bought it gave us the building! And we’re still here, 10 years later. God did have another plan – one that teaches us that His resources are always greater than our own.