One day last winter, my husband, Joe, was having a terrible time trying to keep the fire in our coal stove going. It was a bitterly cold day, and the last thing he wanted to do was lose that fire. Joe has always had a natural talent for lighting a coal stove, and for keeping it burning efficiently, even for weeks at a time. But on this particular day, nothing he did seemed to work. He was getting more frustrated by the hour, and I prayed that God would show him what to do. It got late and I finally went to bed, leaving Joe to keep a close watch on our nearly nonexistent fire. The next morning, I asked my husband how the fire was doing. "Great!" he exclaimed. I asked him how he had finally succeeded in his fire-keeping efforts, and he said that at about 3 o'clock in the morning, he finally decided to ask God for His help. That's when he got the idea to use a small fan to blow air into the bottom of the stove to get the fire going. It worked like a charm. At that point, Joe asked the Lord why He didn't show him sooner what to do, and he heard the Lord say, "You didn't ask."
My husband's experience reminded me of my children when they were very small. As toddlers, they began showing signs of wanting to become more independent. When I would see them struggling with some small task, like tying their shoes, I would reach down to try to help them with it. They would pull away from me, exclaiming, "I do it!" Then I'd have to stand idly by while they painfully struggled with a task that I could have easily helped them with. It wasn't until the child gave up, totally exasperated, that he would finally come to me and ask for help.
James 4:2 NIV says, "You do not have because you do not ask God." How many things do we struggle with needlessly on a regular basis, simply because we don't ask for God's help? How many blessings do we do without daily, simply because we don't request them from the Lord? It wasn't God's idea for my husband to sit up until 3 o'clock in the morning, nursing a dwindling fire in our coal stove. God knew from the start how Joe could get the fire going. He was just waiting for my husband to humble himself and ASK Him for help. But either out of ignorance or stubbornness, Joe waited until he was frustrated and irritated before he called on the Lord. The Bible says: "God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful) - [and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5 AMP) It's God's desire to bless us abundantly, and to help us become all that He created us to be. But when we insist on depending on ourselves and our own pitiful resources, instead of depending on Him and His grace, He may have to stand idly by until we come to our senses and call on His name.
The Lord has awesome plans for the life of every person who puts their trust in Him. But we will never see them come to pass if we don't maintain an attitude of humility before Him. I know Christians who are very talented, but who insist on using their God-given gifts their own way, so that they never seem to get into the "flow" of the Lord's good plans for them. Though these people have awesome potential, they live frustrated and unfulfilled lives, simply because they refuse to surrender themselves and their own agendas to God. They haven't gotten a revelation of the powerful truths stated in the next verse in this passage of Scripture: "Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you." (1 Peter 5:6 AMP) James says it this way: "Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]." (James 4:10 AMP) Everyone longs to live a life of purpose, meaning, and significance. But these things can never be attained apart from God and His perfect plans for us.
I love the way the Living Bible says, "God gives special blessings to those who are humble." (1 Peter 5:5 TLB) This statement beautifully sums up the difference that humility can make in our lives. Ask yourself today - "What can I accomplish for myself, for others, and for the Lord, if I would only maintain a spirit of humility, and a childlike dependence upon God?"
Prayer: Lord, I ask that You do such a mighty work in my heart now, that I will automatically turn to You for help with all of my daily tasks, endeavors, and intentions. Remind me that even if I've done a task a hundred times, You still long for me to commit it to You, and to seek Your involvement. Thank You for helping me to develop and maintain a spirit of humility that will open the door to Your greatest blessings!
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