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by Phil Ware

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    Wow! What an incredible experience. A friend took me sail fishing for three days. It was the experience of a lifetime. The only fish we kept we either ate for supper or shared with the dockhands for the families to eat. The sailfish, beautiful and powerful, were all carefully released. Yet their powerful jumps and amazing runs were awesome to experience in the beauty of God’s magnificent ocean. Bible study, Christian friendship, and prayer with men of shared faith was such an incredible blessing for me. I was in a period of depletion for several weeks of very hard ministry. The rest I enjoyed, the physical energy I exerted, and the spiritual renewal of being around godly men at this moment in my life was a treasured blessing.

    A side benefit of this experience was a chance to see other captains and their boats. Many of them were beautiful. All of them were kept immaculately. However, the most impressive thing to me about nearly all of these boats was their economy of space. No space was wasted. Every cubbyhole, every empty space, every hollow spot, and every corner intentionally designed to be used profitably for stowage, for equipment, for ballast, or some crucial function of navigation or propulsion. I don’t think I have been anywhere where I was so conscious that so much design and preparation had gone into ensuring that there was as little wasted space as possible.

    Wasted space! Look at your life carefully. Examine it for wasted space. At first, you’re going to protest and declare emphatically that you don’t have any wasted space. In fact, you’re probably going to assert that you have more to do than you can “say grace over” — i.e., get accomplished. But I believe if you are honest, you will find a lot more wasted space than you ever imagined!

Listen to a warning from Jesus...
    So often, we define our faith by what we don’t do that the world does. In fact, when sin enters our lives, we do everything we can to rid our lives of that sin. And in all honesty giving up, stripping away, avoiding, and putting to death sinful thoughts, habits, and actions are crucial parts of our walk with Jesus. However, when we work to remove many of these sinful elements, we do little to put anything in their place. We neglect the empty wasted spaces left behind when we excised these sinful elements of our lives. Before we know it, the same ol’ thing or some new thing has crept into that wasted space and taken up residency. Why? Because we only cleaned out the bad. We didn’t intentionally fill it with godliness. We didn’t invite the Lord to take residence and control of that area of our life and lead us into something new and productive to put in place of the sin driven out.

    Listen to a warning from Jesus and then a passionate declaration of the apostle Paul as they speak about these wasted spaces:

“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and clean. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ... (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

    So what’s the point?

    It’s pretty simple. We’ve left too many unguarded, wasted spaces in our lives that are not consciously and consistently turned over to the Lord for his use. We focus so much on avoiding sin that we don’t put something back in its place that is righteous and good and nurturing. So let’s renew our commitment to invite the Lord into the areas of our life that are empty, wasted spaces. Let’s ask him to not only cleanse them, but redeem them and put them to use for his glory. Let’s not leave ourselves idle time to aimlessly surf the net or the channels. Let’s not go into the battle of the nighttime hours by putting ourselves in the wrong places at the wrong time with the wrong people. Let’s live intentionally, trusting that God is working in us for his purposes and to fulfill his plans in us. Let’s work to discover those purposes and plans and live them out. Let’s fill all our empty wasted spaces with the presence, power, and work of God.

 
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      Title: ""
      Author: Phil Ware
      Publication Date: July 7, 2003


 
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