About a year ago, I was driving down a curvy road to a nearby town where I met with a group of young ladies for a time of Bible study and (of course) snacks. Having driven that road about a thousand times, all seemed normal and routine. As I drove up to the building where we met, I knew there was a big problem. I was mentally, emotionally, and worst of all, spiritually, unprepared. As the evening progressed, I found myself easily angered, discouraged by the small number of attendees, and upset at the seeming lack of interest in the faces I beheld. The study ended, and I drove home disgruntled and complaining. This was the fruit – the outward, visible sign – of working in the flesh – an inward, invisible reality – as opposed to the spirit. It was a manifestation of a heart unprepared in the ways that really mattered.
By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. | Proverbs 13:10
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. | Proverbs 12:15
In an earlier post, the need and privilege of working in the “spiritual maternity ward” was discussed. Now that it is summertime, many young adult Christians find opportunities to serve at camps or go on mission trips or maybe get involved in their local church in ways they haven’t before. These opportunities can be wonderful places where kids get saved and you get to be in the “delivery room” or believers are built up in the faith and you get to work in a “nursery” of sorts, helping babes in Christ feed on the sincere milk of the Word. But while serving in these respective places, it can be very easy to do so for the wrong motives and in so doing, shift dependence from God onto ourselves.
On the doors of a maternity ward and throughout the ward itself, there will usually be some warning signs and reminders for the nurses to stay scrubbed up, alert, fresh with their job, etc. We need those, too, as we enter the spiritual maternity ward, or else very costly mistakes can be made. Being unprepared makes us vulnerable for some very major pitfalls. Some of these pitfalls include:
- vanity/pride – I want to make sure to get a picture of myself with all these people I’m helping or Oh, no, I can’t do THAT job…I would rather do what I’m used to…
- notches in a spiritual belt – While I was gone this summer, I led ten people to the Lord. Ten! Try to outdo that!
- pleasing men – Maybe if I do this for so-and-so, he will think I’m super spiritual…
- apathy to the responsibility – Meh, it’s okay if I don’t spend time with the Lord this morning. It won’t really make a difference to the people around me…
Wherever the Lord has you, you have the opportunity to see His glory proclaimed and His gospel preached – but there is also, in that place, the opportunity to allow self and “stuff” to take over. The truth is, no one is immune to the disease that is self.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” | 1 Corinthians 10:12
If we ignore the warning signs and reminders of our constant need for more of Christ, we will find ourselves utterly burnt out and unable to cope. But when we deny ourselves moment-by-moment and come to the Lord Jesus, crying out, “I need You!” we will find our souls refreshed. Be thankful for the needed reminders of His power to take all control.
So when we step into that “maternity ward,” we must take heed of self and remember that we are only steady on our knees. We need sound counsel that can only be had by spending time alone with God. How much time do we spend in preparation with the Lord Jesus, communing with Him, and receiving counsel from Him alone? Dear reader, I hope we see more and more our desperate need for Him at every moment as we tread the halls of this world. May we see Him alone as our desire and His glory our purpose. We are Christ’s! We belong to Him, and there is nothing worth getting in the way of walking with Him moment-by-moment. He is better!
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. | Galatians 5:24-26