Awful Awful                   

A Devotional Snapshot

by God's Little Boy
© 2015
Posted 4/19/15


An "Awful Awful" is a large thick milk shake that has been served for decades at a certain creamery in parts of New England. The name "Awful Awful" is an advertizing play on words. According to their slogan, it is "awful big and awful good." Because the Awful Awful is so big, and thick, and cold, it is not easy to drink quickly. It is not a treat to order if you are in a hurry. As with any kind of beverage that contains ice cream, it can be difficult to get it to flow through the straw. You have to take time with it and let it melt a little and draw it slowly up the straw. If you try to draw it up too hard or too quickly the sides of the straw will collapse and what little flow there is immediately stops. It is not easy to get 16 ounces of frozen cow juice through a flimsy plastic drinking straw and trying too hard only works against you. You can only drink it as fast as it comes. The same thing is true with learning and studying the Bible.

I remember when I was in my first year of Bible School, there was a certain student in our dorm who declared a serious commitment to learning the scriptures. He said, "We really have it easy; lawyers have volumes of books that they have to learn, but we have only one - the Bible. He said, "I am going to master this book and learn it inside and out." I remember thinking to my self, "yes, that's right! I'm going to do that too!" And for years I struggled to do just that with little results. The more I committed myself, and the harder I tried, the more frustrated I became. What little flow I had been receiving would completely stop in the presence of my newly determined efforts. This was awfully frustrating and awfully discouraging. At one point I remember throwing my Bible in the trash (only to change my mind and pull it out 30 minutes later). I was reminded of the fact that I possessed the academic powers of a mosquito. Who was I kidding? I have always been an average to below average student of paper pushing academia; did I really think that I could pull it off myself..... Mr C minus? Oh, but I wanted to, and that was the problem; I wanted to. God was faithful to save me from myself and to teach me one of the most important lessons of Christianity.

It took me many years to learn this lesson that God was trying to teach me. The last thing my flesh needed was to achieve Biblical scholarship by my own efforts. God stopped the flow every time I approached his word through my own efforts. Eventually I realized that he was telling me, "I'm not going to give it to you that way. You aren't going to take it from me, I am going to give it to you; and it will be little by little, according to my choosing." "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6) This verse is essentially a promise from God that he will do it by his power and it will not come about by human energy. The Christian life is waiting on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) God made me to cease from my own efforts. I learned that this principle was true concerning the other aspects of Christian living as well. I found that my learning came in the goings, and as I sat under my teachers to simply receive what the Spirit was saying. That is when I received heavens flow and it was without the involvement of my own effort. Understanding came through receiving. I would learn best when I simply trusted God to teach me and to impart truth to my heart through the hearing of faith. The vast amount of what I have learned has come simply by hearing and receiving what God has granted to me. We learn and grow from faith to faith - here a little and there a little. I can truly tell you that to learn in this way is awfully easy, and awfully good.

The Bible is a supernatural book given by God. It is truth that can not be handled by the natural man or comprehended with natural understanding. It has to be imparted to man by God, and man must be consecrated and anointed to properly hear and receive it. We do not learn the Bible ourselves; we are taught the Bible, and the Spirit of God is our teacher. There is no school of learning like that of Christ's, and there is no schoolmaster as skillful as the Holy Spirit. As ones who are Spirit taught, we learn at his pace; we cannot, ourselves, turn on the impartation or speed up heavens "feed," he is in sovereign control of our learning. He governs the rate at which we grow in our understanding, thus safeguarding us against pride and dependence upon our own strength. The best thing we can do to increase the flow is to cease from our own striving and simply be available to hear him, and be faithful to sit at his feet as disciples that continue in his word. If we seek to come to the knowledge of God by any other means the outcome could be awful..... just awful!  





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