“Though needest much; seek much, and have much.”
(C. H. Spurgeon)
Somehow, in understanding the sovereignty of our great God, I have somehow come to believe that my need to “seek much” has been rendered null and void. Without realizing it, I have subconsciously adopted a view that says, “Oh well, God is sovereign and in control and I will have or experience whatever He wants me to, so I don’t need to work at it. After all, it’s not about my works or efforts anyway!”
However, I am beginning to see that this is exactly what the devil wants: Christians with good doctrine who lack action. Ironically, this isn’t “good doctrine” at all.
When faced with my lack of passionate prayer and my failure to rise early and prioritize meeting with Jesus, I justify myself by saying that these disciplines aren’t what make me acceptable to God. I reason-away my passivity by emphasizing that I stand on the righteousness of Christ alone, and not on the state of my personal prayer life or the frequency of my devotional time. And this is true. The gospel is that God, through Jesus, saves sinners…sinners like me, who lack spiritual discipline and faithfulness.
Yet I am beginning to understand the subtle arrogance that underlies my current mindset, which is often masked by my subscription to “good doctrine”. In reality, my lack of prayer shows that I depend on myself, not on God. My lack of disciplined devotional time shows a reliance on my own abilities and/or doctrinal understanding rather than dependence on His Holy Spirit.
Yes, God is sovereign. Yes, He is powerful and completely in control of all things.
And I need Him.
As Spurgeon said, “Though needest much.” Isn’t this the HEART of the gospel I cling to? That we are all sinners who NEED a Saviour? And that we never move past our need for Him?
So why, then, do I live like I don’t need Him? Why am I not desperate, seeking, thirsty, longing, hungering for MORE of Him?…more communion with Him through prayer…more of His Word…more of His presence…more of the gifts He gives His children? Why am I so passive…putting forth so little effort…so easily satisfied with crumbs, when He offers me BREAD?
John Owen put it so well when he said, “…our duty and God’s grace are in nowhere opposed in the matter of sanctification; for the one absolutely supposes the other. We cannot perform our duty without the grace of God; nor does God give His grace for any other purpose than that we may perform our duty.”
God gives me his grace so that I can pray…so that I can earnestly seek Him…so that I can know Him and actively pursue a closer walk with Him…so that I can come to Him daily with open arms to embrace all that He is and all that He has for me as His daughter.
So today I come humbly before my great God, admitting that I need much and resolving to seek much, that I may have much.
You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:2b-3)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)