The Lord is teaching me a brand new concept. Well, at least it is brand new to me but it is has been around for 1,000s of years. The heart of it comes from the very first beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the poor in spirit..." (Matthew 5:6) While in Canada, I picked up Barbara Henry's (http://barbarahenry.wordpress.com/) Renewing the Heart for Women: Life Principles from the Beatitudes and it is already rocking my world. Let me share a bit from Day Four Week One.
Galatians 2:16, 3:2-7 (New American Standard Bible) …nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified...This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
These verse show that my works bring about nothing. My justification and sanctification are works of Christ and the Holy Spirit through me. (Check it out in The Message as well (http://bit.ly/4yxmDV). Barbara draws a wonderful picture of what this looks like:
Think of spiritual wealth in terms of a bank account in heaven. Since we are spiritually bankrupt in and of ourselves, Christ made the deposit for our “savings” account (justification), and the Holy Spirit makes all the deposits in our “checking” account (sanctification). By faith we make withdrawals from both accounts. Our good works are the fruit of those withdrawals but can never be considered part of the deposit because we are poor in spirit. We have nothing to deposit.
WOW! This is such a paradigm shift for me. I thought my good works - especially in relation to my prayer times, Bible reading, Bible studying, etc. - were making deposits into my spiritual bank but in reality I am making withdrawals. The Spirit of God is rising up in me to go to my prayer spot and seek His face so that I can be empowered to do His good works. I come broke - empty - needy. To be honest with you, it flies into the face of my pride!! What do you mean I have NOTHING to offer? Surely, there is something I can bring to the table. But, alas, I bring nothing. Nada. Zilch.
However, the great news is that my spiritual bank account will never fall below the limit. There will never be any insufficient funds fees. As a daughter of the King, I have a sweet Daddy who ALWAYS keeps my bank balance full and passionately calls me to spend freely. May I be found making lots of withdrawals throughout the day!