If I could bear fruit without my God, I would loathe the accursed thing, for it would be the fruit of pride—the fruit of an arrogant setting up of myself in independence of the Creator. No; the Lord deliver us from all faith, all hope, all love which do not spring from himself! May we have none of our own-manufactured graces about us. May we have nothing but that which is minted in heaven, and is therefore made of the pure metal. May we have no grace, pray no prayer, do no works, serve God in nothing except as we depend upon his strength and receive his Spirit. Any experience which comes short of a knowledge that we must get all from God, is a deceiving experience. But if you have been brought to find everything in him, beloved, this is a mark of a child of God. Cultivate a spirit of deep humiliation before the Most High; seek to know more your nothingness, and to prove more the omnipotence of the eternal God. There are two books I have tried to read, but I have not got through the first page yet. The first is the book of my own ignorance, and emptiness, and nothingness—what a great book is that! It will take us all our lives to read it, and I question whether Methuselah ever got to the last page. There is another book I must read, or else the first volume will drive me mad—it is the book of God’s all-sufficiency. I have not got through the first word of that, much less the first page, but reading the two together, I would spend all my days. This is heaven’s own literature, the wisdom which comes from above. Less than nothing I can boast, and yet ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ ‘Having nothing yet possessing all things.’
For meditation: Apparent fruit produced by our own efforts independently of God is no better than a mirage; it will vanish upon inspection on the Last Day (1 Corinthians 3:12–15). Fruit which is derived from Christ and acknowledged to be produced in us by him will abide in abundance to God’s glory (John 15:5,8,16). Joseph did not forget the source of his fruitfulness (Genesis 41:52).