That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses. – 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)
This past Sunday, this past week, really, I had a unique experience. When it comes to preaching, I take it super seriously. There is something in me that thinks if I take it lightly, or if I even try to speak on God’s behalf without being clean, I will be killed. I know that sounds extreme, but Exodus 19:12 talks about God’s holy mountain, and how any person or any thing will die if it gets too close. Every time, right before I step in the pulpit, my mind pictures this mountain. Just for a moment, I wonder if this will be the last time.
Now, this past Sunday, I didn’t take it seriously. All last week, it was like my mind was just numb. My regular job just drained me. I was sleeping in a lot, and not getting up and studying. Even when I did, it was like I was getting nothing out of reading the Word, so instead of persevering, I just set an alarm on my phone and slept some more.
When the weekend rolled around, it didn’t get any better. I knew Sunday was coming, but I didn’t amp up my efforts. Normally, I open the “Word of Promise” Bible app and let it read aloud to me while I physically read the Bible I use to preach. Instead, I was opening Facebook, studying crypto currency, and dissecting my golf swing. This went on all weekend. By the time Sunday morning rolled around, I was so ill prepared.
When I got to church, the youth band did praise and worship. We had so many visitors. I was so afraid because I just didn’t feel right with Him . . . I felt so unclean. Then, we sang:
I’m still in your hands
This is my confidence,
You’ve never failed me yet.
I knew what was going on. God, in His sovereignty, was humbling me. I began to think of the times I walked up confidently, not because of God, but because I had studied and practiced so much. I saw that this was just as vile as what I had done this week. In fact, I saw my overall self as vile, but supernaturally cleaned up and empowered by a great, mighty, and living God.
I went to the altar as the youth band sang:
Oh the overwhelming
Never ending reckless love of God
It chases me down
Fights till I’m found
Leaves the 99
I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it
Still you give yourself away.
As I prayed, I didn’t know what to say, so I prayed in tongues. I have no idea what I was saying, but did it ever feel wonderful. I walked to the pulpit, and once again, just like He has done for me hundreds of times now, He came through for me. He helped me. He empowered me. He spoke through me.
I don’t know why I’m typing this out as a Wednesday Morning Devotional. All of this has just increased my love for Him. It had absolutely nothing to do with my own efforts. It was all Him. The love I have for Him was given to me. He gave it to me. I hope and pray that someone opens his or her heart and mind and understands just how great and wonderful He is. There is and never will be anyone like Him.
And we get to continue this relationship forever!