Stubborn Independence

Acts 9:28-31

Rather than considering yourself (even secretly) indispensable, remind yourself often, It’s the Lord’s work to be done the Lord’s way. I first heard that principle from Francis Schaeffer while attending one of his lectures. There he stood in knickers and a turtleneck sweater, delivering this very message to a group of young, idealistic listeners—many of us struggling to find our way. I heard him say this again and again: “The Lord’s work must be done the Lord’s way. The Lord’s work must be done the Lord’s way. The Lord’s work must be done the Lord’s way.”

If you’re in a hurry, you can make it work your way. It may have all the marks of promotion, but it won’t be the Lord’s way. Stop and realize that. It may be time for you to be let down off your wall in a basket to learn that in your life.

John Pollock, on page 45 of his splendid book The Apostle, states, “The irony was not lost on him that the mighty Paul, who had originally approached Damascus with all the panoply of the high priest’s representative, should make his last exit in a fish basket, helped by the very people he had come to hurt.”

That about says it all, doesn’t it?

Just to set the record straight, our lives are not caught “in the fell clutch of circumstance.” Our heads are not to be “bloodied, but unbowed.” You and I are neither the “masters of our fate” nor are we the “captains of our souls.”1 We are to be wholly, continually, and completely dependent on the mercy of God, if we want to do the Lord’s work the Lord’s way. Paul had to learn that. My question is: Are you learning that? If not, today would be a good day to start. Now is the time to humble yourself under His mighty hand. If you don’t, eventually He will do it for you. And it will hurt. In His time, in His way, He will conquer your stubborn independence.

God is never pleased with a spiritually independent spirit.

  1. Quotations are from Willliam Ernest Henley, “Invictus.” Public Domain.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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