Elephants, dolphins, and … then there’s me.
It was once believed that elephants had the longest memory, but move over elephants—studies now show that it’s dolphins.
And where do I fit in? Where do you fit in? Depends on the day when it comes to my memory.
But I’m not the only one with this issue. The prophet Jeremiah tells us just how forgetful the Israelites were. God did some amazing things for them—parted the Red Sea to save them from Pharaoh’s army, sent food from heaven every day, kept their shoes and clothing from wearing out as they wandered for 40 years, and saved them from others who tried to harm them over the years. But even after all God did for His chosen people Jeremiah writes:
“They have gone far from me . . .” (Jer. 2:5) and
“ . . . walked after things that do not profit” (Jer. 2:8).
And then, “For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn (carved out) themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jer. 2:13).
What is God saying?
First of all they had walked away from God and turned to other things, ways, idols, and people instead of seeking Him.
They tried to do things with their own hands like carving out cisterns—broken ones that couldn’t hold what they needed to make them whole.
What’s Our Response?
I do this. I have done this. I am doing this. For a few weeks I’ve not been as faithful spending time with the Lord—reading His word, praying, listening to His still small voice.
I fill my days with things that aren’t bad, they’re just things that I’m trying to do on my own. (Being transparent here) In a sense I’ve forsaken God—the fountain of living waters—and filled my world that I’ve made on my own with things of this life. I’ve carved out a daily routine, a broken cistern, that can’t hold water, the water that will make me whole.
Jesus Christ Himself said, “ ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive . . .” (John 7:37, 38).
The Holy Spirit is the living water that flows out of the heart of each person who believes in Jesus. We receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Christ, but we must daily move self out of the way and allow the Holy Spirit to do what He does best.
He is the One who fills us with living water and gives us what we need to get through each day. But when we rely on ourselves, we are carving out the broken cisterns that Jeremiah talked about and they don’t, and can’t, hold the living water that God wants to give us.
My broken cistern looks like this:
- Me trying to manage each day by myself without the strength of the Lord. It’s not that He isn’t strong enough, it’s that I don’t ask Him or allow Him to be strong through me.
- Me depending on my own wisdom. That never turns out very well.
- Me spending my day doing things I think are important without asking God what He wants me to do that particular day.
- Me searching for contentment on my own in the midst of my trying and stressful days.
In my own strength, I can’t have peace, joy, or any of the other fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—(Gal. 5:22, 23). The world I’m building around me leaks and is not satisfying because I try to do it by myself, but when I fill myself with the Holy Spirit, my “cup is full” and it’s full of “living water.”
This happens the most when I’m focused on myself and not God. I don’t take the time to remember, reflect, and thank Him for all He has done for me. Nope, my bad memory and I chart a course of our own. And it’s never a pleasant journey.
How is your memory? Elephant, dolphin, or are you like me? Do you forget what God has done for you, like I do, and try to venture out on your own?
My goodness, I even did it with this blog. I’ve been trying for weeks to get this written, but I was trying to do it in my own strength because I had arranged a schedule that didn’t include God and I wasn’t spending time with Him to allow the Holy Spirit to fill me. I was working with a broken cistern that would not hold water–the Holy Spirit. I was too full of me and how I felt, and what I have to deal with every day, and on and on.
What about you? Do you do the same?
God had Jeremiah write to His people and tell them that they had “committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn (carved out) themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Let’s read these words and learn from them today. They are not out of date. They are as important to our generation as they were to God’s chosen people back in the days of the Old Testament.
God wants to fill us with all the fruits of the Spirit and if you are like me, during this crazy time of dealing with the issues caused by the coronavirus I need more love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There’s not one of those that I don’t need daily to help me navigate through my days.
May God give us grace to
live each day seeking Him first and
remembering all that He has done,
and continues to do for us, His children.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV)
Pictures courtesy of www.pixabay.com