Helplessness and quitting

2 Cor. 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

If there is one thing that is foundational to the Christian walk, I am convinced it is helplessness. Nowhere is this more clear than in prayer. There is no eloquent words, no magic style that triggers answer. Rather it is gut level honest desperation for the Lord. To walk in the Spirit, to see God answer prayer, to know Him more - all require helplessness. It is coming to the end of self. Self's clever ways of dealing with things, self's plans to control or push for things into existence. And then the helpless throw themselves on their face before the one that has the power and lets Him do in His time and His way what I could never do on my own. There is a beauty of quitting trying to make life and the Christian life work. The reality is that I am incapable and helpless. The beauty is that that helplessness removes the facade and forces me into quitting. Into giving up control. Into quit trying to do what only His Spirit can do through me. Into complete trust to Him for my future regardless of what I see in the present.

I'm convinced more often than not when I run into problems it is because I have quit quitting and start trying to change. Doug Statton says, "The problem with Christians is that we spend our lives trying to fix and change what Jesus came to put to death [the natural man]". The answer to my problems is to let go. Let go of my time table. Let go of my agenda. Let go of everything. And then make His agenda mine. His priorities mine. I don't need to nag God 500 times on the same thing. I'm pretty sure He's already aware of it. I can quit. Put it in His hands and rest, knowing that His plan is better than the plan that I wanted to give myself. I think Galatians makes this clear. The Bible talks of life in the Spirit and life in the flesh. The answer to life in the flesh is not gritting my teeth harder. It is life in the Spirit. Doesn't Gal. 5:16 say as much? "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

There is a huge discrepancy between the two. In life in the flesh, I want but it is never enough. I can listen to my favorite songs. But it doesn't satisfy for long. I can eat my favorite foods. But it doesn't last for long. And more than likely I'll probably overeat because I am trying to get something from them that I was never intended to get from them. In fact, I would venture to say that this emptiness of fulfilled desire is the reoccurring theme of life in the flesh; just look at greed, lust, selfishness, etc. No amount is ever enough. There is no contentment. Only a raging fire burning for more that does not last. Too often, I see my brothers in the Lord determine their whole walk on one issue. If that one issue is going well, than walk in the Lord seems to be good. But perhaps we are not one issue Christians. Perhaps we are trying to put a band aid on cancer rather than completely radically changing what needs to be gutted. And maybe we are trying to fix something that was intended to die.

I cannot kill it. Only He can. There is no amount of effort. No amount of gritting my teeth. No amount of self that can fix self. Ha, self is what is causing the problem, how could more of it possibly help?? No, this is where I quit. And I bow my head. I come broken once again before the One who is capable. The One who has been waiting all along for me to burn myself out, come to the conclusion that I'm incapable on my own, and call for help. A desperate soul-level earnest call.

When I quit, that's when He can start. Cuz then both Him and I will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was Him, and not me. Then He will receive glory, my heart can be pure, and I can be strengthened.

Quitting is my ticket to real relationship. Quitting is the key to knowing Him and who He says He is. Quitting is my key to the throne.

I included the verses from 2 Cor. 1 at the top. I am convinced this is what Paul is talking about. His suffering was due to self-sufficiency rather than dependence on God. This is what he had to learn through his trial.

Dear God, I do not want to go into self-sufficiency!! I ask for only dependence on You and continual trust and life in the Spirit. I do not just want a taste of you, Lord. I want all of You so that You can be glorified by my life. May self become non-existent and You consume and overflow out of me. In Jesus Name, Amen.