How Low Can You Go?

Sometimes this Christian life feels like I’m stuck in third grade! You know what I mean—we want to move on to higher things, but the Teacher says we’re not ready yet. Seems we haven’t nailed down the basics—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Perhaps the multiplication tables are not laid in stone, and because of it, our progress is hindered.


So it goes with my progress to be like Jesus. I know I’m saved and on my way to heaven, but this sanctification process is grueling. I want to discover all the amazing things God wants me to know, experience, and incorporate into my everyday life. But I’m stuck here—in Romans Chapter 7.


For fear that some may lag behind, it is necessary to linger long in the hidden truths in Chapter 7. The Apostle Paul clearly describes a carnal Christian in these hard-to-own words: “for what I want to do, I do not do; but what I hate, I do.”1 Sounds just like me, and I must find out why.


On my non-stop search for answers, I find this:  “God’s means for greatness are not climbing up the ladder, but going down,” writes Chris Tiegreen.2 “He who is least among you all, he is the greatest.”3


Yet another hard pill to swallow in American culture: going down. That couldn’t possibly be the way to greatness, could it? It so goes against the grain.


Against the grain of what? Let’s examine. Against the grain of self-achievement, self-sufficiency, self-worth, self-esteem, self-made, self-taught, self-anything! That is the grain that going down works against: S-E-L-F.


Jesus taught and modeled the exact opposite. The Son of God said, “I do nothing on my own.” 4 If Jesus needed God, how much more do we? How then do we get God doing for us? Here is the mystery—fully hidden from the proud and self-sufficient—we go lower.


Whether we like it or not, humility is the way to God. There is no other way, but to admit helplessness (depravity) and depend on God. The lower we go the more of God we get. Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”5 See it! Peter urges us to “humble yourselves under God’s Mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time.”6


Being lifted up any way other than God’s lifting won’t last—it will eventually collapse.


Humility and depravity—words that come to our aid—position us correctly before an Almighty God. We’ve tried everything else—self-help books, self-taught Bible studies, self-sanctification efforts—all have failed us. Are we not yet ready to try the proven path found in God’s Word?


It is time that we stop our self-efforts, cease from our own works, and toss our 10-step plan to successful Christian living out the window, and go lower.


Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”7 Why? We are in the wrong position to receive more truth from God. It could be that fourth grade material is just too hard for us. We cannot grasp it yet, not in this position.


Where then is the right position? Somewhere lower and we must find it.


Let us seek a place away from the world’s activities, away from the TV, the music, and even the books. Shut it all down and get still before God. Bring every thought into captivity. Do not entertain any thoughts of pride or self-achievement; they destroy our ability to find God and fellowship with Him.


Seek God’s presence. Crave His presence. Cry out for His presence. Learn what is required to acquisition His presence, and then wait for Him.


Are we quiet enough yet to hear His still small voice? Have we heard Him call our name today? Have we learned to practice His presence on our knees, in our closet, until we hear Him say, “You are mine?” We simply must stay there until we do.


If we still cannot hear the voice of God, there is only one option—go even lower. ~Janie Kellogg



1Romans 7:15; 2At His Feet One-Year Devotional, Chris Tiegreen, Sept. 21; 3 Luke 9:48; 4John 8:28; 5 2 Cor. 12:10; 61 Peter 5:6; 7John 16:12

Also see Treasure in Earthen Vessels post: A Hard Pill to Swallow, and God Wants Me to Fail.

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6 thoughts on “How Low Can You Go?”

  1. Girlfriend!!! I’m blown away by the scriptures you used and wow am I hit between the eyes! All you said is confirmation from what God has been trying to tell me. I been pruned and pretty soon I am gonna be a stump! But if that’s what’s needed, then so be it. Oh it’s painful…so painful but the dross has got to come off! Thank you so much for being in my life! So grateful to have you on my journey thru this trial of learning to decrease so He can increase! Bless you! I save all your posts and pass em on to other souls who need them! Have an awesome weekend! And your son is amazing! Luv that article! God has certainly used you in raising a godly young man for the King!

    Love you the MOSTEREST! Rom 12:1-2 Carla Young

    1. Thanks for the kind comments on my blog. I am always humbled when someone confirms that what I say agrees with the things God is telling them directly. What an amazing God we serve that He allows us to touch each other’s lives with our obedience. I am thankful to be on this journey with you as well. You are so right…the dross has got to come off. And when it does, we will once again see an empowered Church! Bless you, my sweet friend. ~Janie

  2. Humility seems to me to be the opposite Of pride. Jesus, the King of Kings “humbled himself even to the death of the cross.” Like everything else we need, it seems to come from the same place, our Heavenly Father. It is humbling to realize that we have nothing when it comes to spiritual things.
    God has it all. So “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God” is the public secret.

    I think you are boiling the matter down steadily to the core, the bottom line. And again, Jesus is the foundation, the source of all things spiritual.
    “How” once again is wrapped up in the Savior, “The giver of all good gifts and graces.” All roads begin and end with Jesus. Thank you, Jesus! Guide each of us to where you can dispense your very self into us making us into your image and prepared for our assignment in your eternal Kingdom.

    Thank you again for keeping up the pressure to press on, press in, and totally surrender to our perfect Savior.

    1. Thank you for persevering to get those comments on the blog. I really want others to be able to read them as well. I worry sometimes that I am “making it too hard,” yet if we ever catch the full picture of what Jesus did for us totally and completely, we will wake up to the fact that our self-efforts are worthless. Jesus did it all! And our part is to humble ourselves and receive it! What glory, victory, and freedom is ours when we finally see it and claim it as our very own. I believe God is taking the Church to the place where we will grasp this glorious truth and be the Spirit empowered people that He intends for us to be, especially in these last days. Please read Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest today, April 12. This same message is all over that writing!!!! Thank you so very much for your support. ~ Janie

  3. So true. Thank you again. You always hit the nail on the head and I feel it definitely speaks to me. That is my desire -to be humble and let Jesus be what He wants to be in my life. Love you.

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. That is my desire too, and I feel that my Holy House Guest is showing me the way and taking me there. God has us on an amazing journey together! Thank you for your support! Love you too.

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