Always Digging Deeper for the Treasure
2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure [Christ] in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us. (8) We are pressed on every side but not constricted; unable to find a way out but not utterly without a way out; (9) Persecuted but not abandoned; cast down but not destroyed; (15) For all things are for your sakes that the grace which has abounded through the greater number may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
It is an amazing thing that in our experience the Holy Spirit can empty us. When we first became a Christian, we considered ourselves to be rather good and capable in everything. But after some time we noticed that the life we were living was short of the Christian standard; we realized that we had failed and could not go on anymore. Consequently, we felt dissatisfied, and we prayed for God to fill us up and make us obedient. God then ordered some unbearable and distasteful circumstances to come upon us. Yet by the grace of God, we eventually overcame them. Then we had something to testify about, and we were able to say that we overcame. We were able to say that we overcame a certain particular matter and that, at a certain point in time, God filled us. We may have even thought that we would be an overcomer from that point on. But surprisingly, after some time, the victory was lost, and failure came back again. We thought that it was very easy to overcome, but it seemed as if all strength was gone, and new obstacles were before us again. There seemed to be a wall in front of us; we could not find any way out, and there did not seem to be any way to bypass it. Consequently, we said that our previous victory was lost, and we were no longer filled with God.
What is the significance of this kind of experience? You should bear in mind that in God’s eyes the Christian life should be an ever-deepening life. A Christian should become emptier and emptier, and the Lord’s riches to him should become fuller and fuller. After passing the first hurdle, you may think that there can be no higher life than what you have experienced; you may think that you can advance no further and that you have reached the summit. The Lord knows your condition. He does not want you to think that you have abundant life already. Therefore, He allows new difficulties to come upon you, and He places impossible things before you. Based on your past experiences, you may think that you will overcome again. But you fail at your first attempt. You may attribute your failure to the lack of vigilance and effort, and you may take greater care and exert more energy in tackling the situation the second time. Yet you fail again. Eventually, you will find that you cannot overcome this hurdle; there is no way to handle the matter. But God has only one reason for doing this–to lead you on further and to dig more deeply into you so that you may receive more filling. This is why new difficulties are in front of you all the time. Unless you have fresh filling, you will not be able to overcome these fresh difficulties. All your difficulties are ordered by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of creating a stronger craving and hunger in you for Him.