@Eric-Mockaitis Hi Eric, thank you for letting us know of your role and your experience and enjoyment of the sermon by Tim Keller.
Yes, I've experienced the dehydration you refer to, the dryness of soul, the emptiness; almost like I'm a mixture of the Tinman with no heart, the lion with no courage and the scarecrow with no brain, and all the while trying to minister to others from this spot of total emptiness and powerlessness.
It's a common experience, as you know. This dual life has been the cause of believers crying out for rescue:
Romans 7:21-24 (NIV) So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
When we find ourselves in this situation, we remind ourselves of the good news of Jesus entering the darkness to rescue us, of Jesus' receiving condemnation and punishment in our place to free us, of Jesus' loving sacrifice of atonement and powerful resurrection from the dead, and our deliverance through Him:
Romans 7:25 (NIV) Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
We should contemplate deeply this rescue and deliverance finished by Christ. We should dwell long and often on His blood that atones for our every sin, on His wounds which heal us, His death that frees us. We should endeavor to see Him suffering capital punishment for us, hanging on a tree under the condemnation and wrath of God, taking the curse of the Law for us, and purchasing the blessing of the Holy Spirit for us.
Can you see Him now, Eric? Hanging on a cross so that you can stand in the judgment? Can you see Him being punished in your place? Do you see He is taking your guilt and shame so that you can be free from condemnation? Do you see His heart has been pierced in order to mend your broken heart? Do you see Him being crushed for your iniquities?
He has gone to the cross willingly for you, Eric, and not just willingly but it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross for you. He became the man of sorrows that you could experience the joy of pardon and complete forgiveness.
Then He rose on the third day, in powerful resurrection from death to life, and so your payment has been made by the Son and accepted by the Father, and you are now accepted in the Beloved Son, Jesus.
If you can see Jesus undergoing punishment and being made your sacrifice of atonement as He hangs on the cross, then you need to go further and see yourself hanging with Him. You were in Christ on the cross, paying for sin, and you have been crucified with Christ. Your old man has been impaled on a tree and has suffered death for sin, and has been buried with Christ. Your identity as being impure, as continually falling, as one powerless before the enemy, is now completely dead. It does not exist.
Instead, you have risen with Christ as a new man to a new life. You are alive from the dead, learning now how to walk by the Spirit so that you don't gratify the lusts of the flesh. Halting and stumbling, yes, tripping occasionally, but learning the value of fixing your eyes on Jesus, of trusting His finished work as your finished sin, and of looking away from your performance to His performance for your right standing with God.
Eric you've seen this before, probably preached on it, but consider again this passage:
Hebrews 3:1 (NIV) Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
We are told to fix our thoughts on Jesus. Not on our sin, our failures, our shortcomings, but on Jesus. We are to look beyond our performance and fixate on Jesus.
But every pastor knows to look what the "therefore" is there for, so look at the previous statements made about Jesus in Hebrews chapter 2 verse 14-18, and consider these questions:
What thoughts, about Jesus, specifically, are we to focus on? What did Jesus accomplish for you? What is the basis of Jesus being able to help you when tempted? As you fix your thoughts on Jesus, how does this provide a river of living water to your soul?
When you have time, write back your thoughts.
I believe that your future will be one of great drenching in the Spirit of God and great fruitfulness in ministry as you begin to focus like a laser on the thirst Jesus experienced on the cross to quench yours, on the darkness Jesus endured on the cross to bring you into the light, on the rescue He made and the redemption price He paid to set you free and bring you to Himself:
Isaiah 35:6-7 (NIV) Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.