James Smith, 1860
So wrote a godly young man, when describing the state of his soul.
"Utterly helpless!" So all feel that are at all deeply taught of God. "Not sufficient of ourselves," said Paul. "Utterly helpless!" So we feel more and more as we grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But it is with us, as it was with the Lord's worthies of old, of whom we read, "Out of weakness, were made strong." And as it was with the apostle who said, "When I am weak, then I am strong."
But it requires . . .
much stripping and emptying,
much baffling of our own wisdom,
many bitter disappointments,
and severe soul exercises — to bring us to this.
But if brought here, and kept here, it is a blessed state. Absolute dependence on Jesus is a blessed state! "Utterly helpless!" Then we are safe, for we dare not look to self, depend on self, or rest in any outward observances. We must look to Jesus, cleave to Jesus, live on Jesus. The eye must be fixed on his precious blood continually, and the heart must rest on his finished work alone. All boasting is prevented, all confidence in the flesh is destroyed.
We must come to Christ . . .
for all that we need,
with all that troubles us, and
through all that opposes our progress.
We must make Jesus our strength as well as our righteousness; and look to him as a fountain to supply us, as well as a foundation to support us.
Our strength arises from a sense of our weakness,
our safety arises from a sense of our danger, and
our wealth arises from a sense of our poverty.
Weak in self — we are strong in Christ.
Exposed to danger in self — we are safe in Christ.
Poor in self — we are wealthy in Christ.
"Utterly helpless!" Then we cannot live without prayer — but must learn to cry to the Strong One for strength. We must pray always, and pray everywhere. The life we live, must be a life of simple, active, and absolute dependence on the Son of God. And as we receive all from Jesus, so we must ascribe all to Jesus.
"Utterly helpless!" O how painful! Yes, to the proud unhumbled heart.
"Utterly helpless!" O how humbling! Yes, self must be abased and laid low.
"Utterly helpless!" O how blessed! Yes, to the soul that wishes to see grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.
"Utterly helpless!" O how preserving! Yes, like the feeble branch, it will be sustained and supplied by the parent stem — and like the helpless infant, it will be tended with all the kindness and watchfulness of a mother's love.
O my soul, be not afraid to feel your weakness, your utter helplessness — but cling to Jesus, lean on Jesus — and his strength will be made perfect in your weakness! Look to him, under all your painful discoveries of weakness, vileness, and woe; for he never breaks the bruised reed, nor will he quench the smoking flax. Rest on the faithfulness of the Almighty Promiser, to make good his word, and preserve you unto his kingdom and glory.