This week has been slightly discouraging. I can’t put a name to why, but I’ve been forcing myself from falling into a kind of despair. Yesterday, I finally got back to some devotional reading. As you may remember, I usually augment my Bible study with Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest. This is the devotion from yesterday:
The Place of Ministry
He said to them, ’This kind [of unclean spirit] can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting’ —Mark 9:29
His disciples asked Him privately, ’Why could we not cast it out?’ ” ( Mark 9:28 ). The answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “This kind can come out by nothing but” concentrating on Him, and then doubling and redoubling that concentration on Him. We can remain powerless forever, as the disciples were in this situation, by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on His power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature. We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ. Your duty in service and ministry is to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there anything between you and Jesus even now? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it as an irritation, or by going up and over it, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ. Then that very problem itself, and all that you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way that you will never know until you see Him face to face.
We must be able to “mount up with wings like eagles” ( Isaiah 40:31 ), but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and in the living that is done in the valley. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” ( Philippians 4:13 ) and what he was referring to were mostly humiliating things. And yet it is in our power to refuse to be humiliated and to say, “No, thank you, I much prefer to be on the mountaintop with God.” Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they really are destroy my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?