The Empty Offer (this post from EyeOnChrist)
Why is it that so many people, people who claim to be Christians, are left to live in their sin, bound by guilt, and without victory, power and joy? Could the answer be found in Luke’s account of the lame beggar? (Acts 3:1-10)
“I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!”
I encourage you to read the entire account, but notice what Peter said above? Notice what he did not have and what he had?
Do you see the working power for this lame man to walk is the very same power that one needs for salvation, for the regenerating work of a new heart (Ezekiel 36) and new life (John 3)? It was Christ Himself who Peter had to offer. Peter truly had been granted forgiveness and new life with the abiding life of Christ as his reality. Peter knew failure and he knew the only place that true life and eternal power reins, so when he offered the lame man assistance, he gave him the very best thing – Christ Himself.
The longer I walk with God and seek to continually know Him more, to be shut up in prayer and run head long into His Word, the more I am also convinced that so many have nothing to offer but an empty hand. For without Christ having been wraught about in one’s life, how can one offer any hope at all?
Now I know what I just said seems harsh, but let me remind you, this thought is not new to me. Listen to what Jesus said during the greatest sermon ever preached, and keep in mind, He said it about those who would in the future profess His name.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 7:21 [21-23])
I remember talking with this young girl several years ago in this little Christian book store / coffee shop. When she saw me, I immediately knew that I was to talk with her and she made a line straight for me. At the time I was pinning up a small card on the bulletin board announcing my new book that I was giving away (Realities of a True Christian). She grabbed one of those cards and looked at me puzzled. I was pleasently surprised when I found out she was looking to witness to people who thought they were Christian and may not be. She had her biblical tracts, her questions ready, and her verses memorized. I found out that she and a friend had been going out 6 to 7 days per week for months doing this.
As we began to talk, I noticed that something was wrong as she looked very down in spirit. After asking her about what she was doing, I immediately asked her how long it had been since any fruit was produced, meaning, when was the last time someone genuinely turned to the Lord. She dropped her head and tears began to fall. I then asked her when the last time was that she got alone with God for herself and by herself, when it was she was in serious prayer “shut-up” to God. Tears then flowed even more. She could not remember when she saw any fruit and had not been in prayer and the Word for herself for months. I commended her for her desire, yet I encouraged her to put her bag up for awhile and get alone with God until He desired her to go back out.
You see, if we ourselves have not been drawing our strength at the Well, the very fountain of God, in the cultivation of tilling up our fallow ground, being transformed by the renewal of our minds, in the Word of God, with prayer and walking with God as a style of life, then what power do we think we have over sin, over Satan, in ministry and in the lives of others?
I see so many people have had nothing more than a culturally relevant Christianity that is by rote terminology alone, meeting the demands of showing up to some building, doing good things, memorizing powerless words and raising arms in emotionally humanistic songs, then left with no passion for God, no desire for know Him for who He is, and no intimate knowledge of God. It is no wonder that so many cannot, nor are alarmed that they cannot, boast as it says in Jeremiah:
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not the rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
We cannot boast in what we do not know. We cannot desire that which we have not tasted. We have no power when we do not know the One who is all powerful.
Why do we see so little power in ministry, in life and victory over sin? Because we have so little to offer – weak and watered down theology along with an absent closeness with God equals powerlessness. We cannot offer others that which we ourselves do not have.
Brothers and sisters, go to THE WELL, go to God Himself. Cultivate a life of prayer, study of the Word, and an intimate growing and desiring walk with the Author and Perfector of our faith. Turn away from the lesser things of this life, even good things, and look to, draw from and rest upon the all powerful King of kings and Lord of lords.
Peace and blessings!