Zechariah 4:6 – So he said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." (NIV)
I love this verse. It reminds me that when I've used up all of my own strength, energy, and patience, I need to come to the Lord for renewal. Far too often, I try to do things my way and end up becoming frustrated when I cannot produce the results that I want. Instead of submitting to the Lord and giving myself over to be influenced by the Spirit, I wish that the Lord would do what I desire.
For example, many years ago, when I was pastor in Dunure, Scotland, I dreamed up the idea of opening the church at 7.00 a.m. on a Monday morning, so that commuters could stop and pray before they went to work. The church was on the main road, and scores of drivers passed by at that time in the morning.
I envisioned that many drivers would stop and take time to be in the Lord's house. I got to the church really early, put the lights on, and had a tape playing devotional hymns and choruses quietly in the background. I sat in one of the choir seats, read my Bible, and prayed for the church. It was quiet and peaceful, and every now and then, I would hear a car passing by.
I think that I did this for about four months. In all of that time, only two people stopped by. Nobody really wanted to take or make the time to be there. I guess they could say their prayers from the comfort of their own cars as they drove by the church. I wanted it to be successful, but God was teaching me a lesson. No matter how hard I wanted it to happen, without His Spirit, it would never work. Instead of relying upon God's Spirit, I was trying to make God support my ministry. It made me realize that it wasn't my ministry at all. It belonged to God — what I had to do was to discover where His Spirit was leading.
I still have some daft notions at times, but I usually petition the Spirit first for direction. This ministry belongs to God — I am merely a servant of His kingdom. The power and the glory, the success and the honour all belong to God. My role is to submit to the Spirit and to seek God's will.
Perhaps like me, some of our readers are wrestling with God, and we want Him to make something successful for us. There's no harm in asking, but we need to ascertain whether it is something for our sake or the Spirit's. Knowing that will make all the difference in the world as to whether or not it will be accomplished. As the old preacher once said, "Sometimes we have to let go, in order to let God."
Prayer: Holy Spirit, we all want to make a difference in the world and do something special with our lives. Grant us patience and endurance, discernment and understanding of what You want us to do with our lives. Open our hearts and minds, souls and spirits to Your holy bidding. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.