"Though my pen and my tongue sometimes move freely, yet the total incapacity and stagnation of thought I labor under at other times convinces me that, in myself, I have not sufficiency to think a good thought; and I believe the case would be the same, if that little measure of knowledge and abilities, which I am too prone to look upon as my own, were a thousand times greater than it is."He also makes an interesting point about the supply of manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness:
"Moses, when speaking of the methods the Lord took to humble Israel, mentions his feeding them with manna as one method. I could not understand this for a time. I thought they were rather in danger of being proud, when they saw themselves provided for in such an extraordinary way. But the manna would not keep; they could not hoard it up, and were therefore in a state of absolute dependence from day to day: this appointment was well suited to humble them.
"Thus it is with us in spirituals. We should be better pleased, perhaps, to be set up with a stock or sufficiency at once, such an inherent portion of wisdom and power as we might depend upon, at least for common occasions, without being constrained by a sense of indigence, to have continual recourse to the Lord for everything we want. But His way is best. His own glory is most displayed, and our safety most secured, by keeping us quite poor and empty in ourselves, and supplying us from one minute to another, according to our need."The manna would not keep. God had to give them a daily supply. This daily supply was enough--no one lacked--but it kept them in humble dependence on God.
Sunday morning I was driving to church and contemplating these things, and I realized that I myself prefer to try to "store up" my spiritual strength and draw from my own stores as needed, rather than trusting God for His daily supply.
How curious that it is in human nature to want to do this. If we have money, we want to store it up for ourselves so that one day we won't have to work for more. If we have possessions, we tend to accumulate more and more of them (and hoarders show us the extremes to which this can be taken). There is something in us that is constantly crying out, "more, more!"
But as I was thinking and praying in the car on Sunday, I suddenly saw that the way to have more spiritual strength is not by accumulating more and storing it in my brain or in my heart or wherever it goes--it is by surrendering more and more to God and becoming more and more dependent on Him. His supply is infinite! He is able to give me more each day than He gave me the day before! As I yield to Him, He is able to increase my capacity. As He gives me spiritual strength, knowledge, and grace, I can freely and cheerfully give it all out. I don't have to worry about running out, or saving some back for the next day, because the next day, there will be more from Him.
People who have become giants in the faith, great men like Hudson Taylor, Andrew Murray, George Mueller, C.T. Studd, David Brainerd, or John Hyde, could have ever-increasing spheres of service precisely because God increased their daily supply.
It comes from God's side, not from my side.
It comes daily, moment by moment, and cannot be stored up.
The question is, am I willing to remain in humble dependence on God? Am I willing to forego the luxury of having stores laid up? Am I willing to trust that, having no stores, God will never forget me for a day?
Spiritual strength is like manna. You can't just tuck it away in a little cubbyhole in your soul and expect it to be there when you go back to find it. It will be rotten. It will have melted away. Spiritual strength only comes from God. It is useful in the moment that He gives it to you, and He will give you another supply in the next moment.
I will begin to live like this is true. I will look to God each day for the supply that I need. I will trust Him to visit each moment with the continuing flow of His strength, wisdom, and grace.
When I receive it, I will pour it out freely, ungrudgingly, joyfully for the advance of His kingdom. I won't have to wonder where my strength is coming from or when I will get some more. He will be back in the next moment with more for the next task.
What a different way to live!