I slipped into the bathroom stall and closed my eyes, cherishing the momentary quiet. “Holy Spirit, I have nothing left.” The words came out more of a sigh than a prayer. But, as soon as they left my mouth, I felt Him speak to my heart.
“It’s okay, Christy. I never run out.”
There it was: truth that made me smile and shake my head, and put tears in my eyes.
As believers in Jesus, the Bible tells us that we have the very God of the Universe living inside of us, able to give us strength, energy, love, life, everything! (Seriously, take some time to read Ephesians 1:13-14; 3:14-21. It’s amazing!)
We just finished our first week of Freddie’s Friends camp. Almost seventy special needs campers spent four days and three nights with us. Not only do most of the campers have medications, most of them are on multiple medications. We had two health officers this week, one for the guys and one for the girls, and it was still overwhelming!
We did a lot of serving this week! Lots of care giving, not always the most glamorous kind. Our cabin leaders pushed wheelchairs, gave sponge baths, wiped adult bottoms, and cut up food. It was not easy for any of us, but it was good. We were able to love people our culture discounts. We served like Jesus, but we weren’t alone!
Something amazing happens when you get to the end of yourself and watch Jesus carry you the rest of the way. I’m sure you could work Freddie’s Friends week in your own strength, but it would be miserable…exhausting, irritating, frustrating, nearly impossible. But when Jesus (the Holy Spirit) is living through you, there is joy even when you are helping with showers, peace that doesn’t make any sense, and energy despite limited sleep.
“The secret of the miracle of the Christian life.” That’s what I once heard it called, when Jesus lives through us. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never experienced it before. Paul even had a hard time. He touches on this concept all the way through Romans 6,7, and 8 and finally says this:
“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you…” Romans 8:13-14
Why is this such a secret? Why aren’t more of us living this way? How do we get there, to that place where the Spirit gives us life? I think it starts by recognizing our own weakness. This is easier when we actually FEEL weak (like during Freddie’s Friends)! It takes humility to admit our weakness, and it is hard. We have to be able to say, “I can’t do it” and ask for help.
But how do we actually walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:4)? How does this miracle of the Christian life happen?
I’m pretty sure it’s by faith! I don’t really know how to explain it, but I know how it happens for me.
Coming to the end of myself is like reaching the edge of a cliff. It is impossible to reach the other side alone. Jesus says, “Trust me. Step off the edge; I will carry you.” I know I cannot do it by myself, so I choose to believe Him, and I let go. Inexplicably, instead of falling, I fly. 🙂 Not in my own strength or power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know it works like this, because I have experienced it over and over.
If we really have the Spirit of God living inside of us, why do we often wait until we are empty to ask Him to fill us?
Why do we do anything in our own strength? I truly believe that there is SO MUCH more to be had than the boring, work filled, religious Christianity that we accept as normal. What if we all stopped trying to live in our own power, and allowed the Spirit of Jesus to fill us, carry us, and flow out of us to a lost and dying world?
Maybe ANYTHING would be possible!