When looking back on the year my friends, family and myself have had, it has been a year of challenges, hard news, lost loved ones, messy endings, and not so great beginnings. The type of year that makes people want to sit back, compare their situations, ask a lot of whys, and lose faith in the plan that God has for them. This is the type of year that could lead to one of two outcomes: trying to fix ourselves or coming to the end of ourselves. Neither outcome is fun to get to the end of the journey, but one is cyclical, while the other brings life and joy.
When faced with trials that life throws at us, the first reaction for most, especially control freaks like myself, is to fix the problem. We see the deficit and try to solve for the issue to ensure there is no logistical way for that outcome to come to fruition again. Through the lens of process improvement, we lose sight that it is not the process that is broken but ourselves that are broken. By building guard rails for our lives, there is some semblance of control and course correction. They may keep us from falling back off the mountain, but they do not keep us from sprinting to the edge of the cliff time and time again.
Sin is not put to death by a simple course correction or barrier but through a power that is not our own.
We continue to escape the reality that we need help and need to face our problems, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual. Through the process of hiding we are providing a foothold for the devil who is looking for our weakness in order to devour and destroy. (1 Peter 5:8)
The harder outcome to achieve is to come to the end of ourselves. We must understand that the power that we have in ourselves is not enough to handle the challenge in front of us, and fully trust in a power outside of our own. Coming to the throne and seeking the Lord’s power and grace in our life lead to changes that are lasting. This power that brings change causes us to see the cliff and run from it rather than towards it. In no way am I saying something catchy and popular like #LetGoAndLetGod. What I am saying is the opposite. I am challenging us to see the end of ourselves and come to the Lord actively, aggressively, and fully to change our habitual and deeply rooted issues. We see Paul say this in Eph 3:14-21:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
This prayer is one that the Ephesians’ church would know more of Christ and have the power of the Holy Spirit moving and working in them. This plea is one that both ourselves the Church need more than ever. To come to the ends of ourselves, and seek a power that can only come through the Gospel in Christ and the Holy Spirit working within us.