Jesus says, “Without me you can do nothing.” I believe this black and white statement at face value because I am a living example.
I have three college degrees. The bachelor’s degree is a joke. It was bestowed on a man whose mind was blown with the wicked wares of the world. After four years and a diploma it was time to find a job. A recruiter from IBM asked me, “Are you good?” He knew it was a thinly veiled sarcastic question as he glanced at my sparse resume and below average GPA. I left the interview ashamed but aware of God’s wakeup call. Part of the answer was to go to graduate school. Further shame piled on when certain college department heads looked at me and my record. “You want to go to graduate school? You’ve got to be kidding, right?” Indeed, there was very little left of my brain and God was chipping away at what little was left of my pride.
I went to graduate school. But first I enrolled in God’s school of transformation by mind renewal. I studied hard. I took notes. I paid attention. I went to class clean and sober. I did the things necessary to be a great student, things I had never done before in my life. But more than these, I spent significantly more time with Jesus. At one pastor’s advice, I started reading a Proverb a day according to the calendar (31 Proverbs – 31-ish days in a month). I did this because I knew my mind was shot and I needed knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I wanted the kind that could not be taken away nor prevented by the current state of my gray matter. Thirty years later I still read a Proverb a day.
I also prayed without ceasing. Before tests, quizzes, homework, or class, I said, “God, help me to remember and to apply and to derive the right answers.” God was very faithful. I earned my Master’s degree. A few years later I earned a Bible degree.
Every day I am in the process of learning and doing the impossible through Jesus. He transformed me by the renewing of my mind. I can take no credit for this whatsoever. In my former state I should have ended up on a steam vent out on the streets. But God is merciful. I put no trust in my own abilities or thoughts. Yes the temptations are still there and I still sin. The impact is always sudden and painful. I wish I could paint a picture for you of Nothing. “Without me you can do nothing.” Nothing is a void. It is utter darkness. There is no sound, no sight, no thought. Nothing is as good as dead. It is a deep, dreamless sleep.
It’s a frightening place to be when God makes you aware of it. That’s good motive to get out. God says the way out is to awake unto righteousness and sin not. That righteousness is Jesus. He alone wakes us up. Have you been roused from your sleep of sin? Have you enrolled in God’s school of transformation? What does your “nothing” feel like?