If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own power. Your self-sufficiency, your selfishness and your intellectual pride will inhibit His coming to live in your heart because God cannot fill what is already full. It is as simple as that. ~Mother Teresa
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” ~ Jesus, King of The Universe, in Revelation 3
Oh beloved, it is true. What drove most of us to the edge of destruction in our lives, was the belief that we were OK. We listened to the drumbeat of the world, that was telling us that everything we wanted was just around the next bend. All we had to do was keep going… Keep trying.
Thankfully, some of us learned that this was not true, before it killed us.
This fool of a writer came to the end of his belief that he was rich, and doing fine exactly six years ago yesterday. I was sitting in my room, in my parents’ home. They had taken me in, after my own false beliefs in my own amazingness and riches had landed me in jail for a few months, and then released into homelessness.
I looked down at my barely-used Bible on a coffee table, and said: “God, just do whatever you gotta do. Kill me if You have to. Just do it.”
However, He did not do what maybe I had expected Him to do. Though, I am not completely sure what I expected… He sent me to The Colony of Mercy. And it was there, that I started on an odyssey well beyond my imagination.
Mostly though, it seems that G_d convinced me of the fact that I was – and had always been – the weaker kind of brother. I absolutely did not have the freedom to let my eyes wander in any direction. I am the kind of guy who really can’t even watch TV or movies. I don’t get to eat junk food. I don’t have the ability to safely do just about anything people do in the world.
Said more simply: He showed me that I am nothing. I have absolutely no power to resist any of the things the world wants to offer me. And, apart from Him, I am about 5-tenths of a second away from failure. My spiritual bank account is completely empty. Without Him, I got nothing.
And it is here, in this place of abject spiritual poverty, that I have become one of the happiest and most blessed men on the planet. In the years following His showing me my poverty, He given me a family, has sent me to live in three Asian countries and to introduce over 1,000 students to the Very Good News of Jesus Christ. He has given me a writing ministry that now has gone into over 150 other countries. And, He has given me the riches of His very Presence in ways that I will not cheapen with words.
But mostly, He has taught me to keep giving what He gives me, away. He has taught me that He really likes putting greater and greater true riches into the hands of His impoverished children (of Whom, I am a favorite [and so are you, by the way]). But, He gives the most precious gifts into my hands (and yours), when they are empty.
Can we see it? The blessing of spiritual poverty is not a cut down to my humanity. No, seeing myself as nothing, apart from Him, is for me to live as truly human as possible. It is the way that Jesus lived when He lived here on earth. He lived in abject dependence on every word that came from His Father’s mouth. He did nothing but what the Father guided Him and empowered Him to do by His Spirit.
And once we live the same way as Jesus did. We begin to see that we really have more power and riches than we ever imagined possible. We become rich beyond our wildest dreams. We realize that our picture of riches were a wretched missing of what true wealth really is.
So, are you feeling pretty good about yourself lately? This is a pretty bad place to be. Could this fool preach to you for a moment? It is time to quit believing in yourself. It is time to quit believing everything is OK. You are a mess and more poor than you can begin to know right now. However, in coming to believe this reality, you will be beginning towards a life of blessing beyond your wildest dreams.
Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to believe in your poverty.
The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 147; Proverbs 28
Daily Quote: For Ragamuffins, God’s name is Mercy. We see our darkness as a prized possession because it drives us into the heart of God. Without mercy our darkness would plunge us into despair – for some, self-destruction. Time alone with God reveals the unfathomable depths of the poverty of the spirit. We are so poor that even our poverty is not our own: It belongs to the mysterium tremendum of a loving God. ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: