Friday, May 21, 2010

Independant from God

Look at all of your possessions and think of all the good that you have done in your life. Have you gotten anything or done anything independent of God?

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How are you doing? I pray that you find this blog in good health and spirits. Things are going good with us. We sold the last of our sheep on Tuesday. Didn't do as good as last month but still did better then we had planned. Now we have no sheep and it is time for us to prepare the homestead for milk cows, goats and chickens. I have so much to do before spring. I also have to build a new outhouse and fix up some rooms in the house. The house is real old and needs some work to keep the heat in the house during the cold months. One of the things I am going to do is lower the ceilings. The ceilings are 9” and I want to lower them down to 8” and then insulate them.

What I want to blog about is something that is very hard for humans to accept. As humans, we like to think that we actually have control over things and that we can do good and get things for ourselves. We like to take pride in our achievements and our possessions. I am really no different and have to remind myself that I can do no good without God. For me, it isn't so much my possessions. Even though I do catch myself bragging about owning a house and land free and clear. What I catch myself taking pride of the most is my knowledge of Trinitarian Theology and God's nature. But I do know better. I know that this knowledge doesn't come from human knowledge but from the Holy Spirit.1 I know that if it wasn't for God, I would not even know that Christ is Lord. I have had people say, “But Joe, you study so much. You get this knowledge from the books you read and reading the Bible.” I have a confession to make. I am not a book worm. I never did good when it came to reading and writing. I always had trouble understanding what I read. I tell you the truth, the knowledge I get from reading isn't from my own understanding. My ability to understand what I read is a true testimony of what God can do for anyone who has faith and leans on God.

So, how about our possessions. I have a house with 20 acres, an F-250, a van, a car, and a neat Ford Ranger which I have to do some work on. I am able to put food on the table and clothes on the back of my family. Surely I must be able to take pride in all this. I did work hard for it all didn't I? The truth is, God not only provides our needs2 but He provides us with everything that we have.3 Now, I am thankful for all the people who have helped us out. The biggest being my parents who sold me the house with land and the neat Ford Ranger for a real good price when I needed them. I have also been blessed with many friends who have also helped my family out throughout the year. But I know that humans can not do good without God and that God makes it possible for friends and neighbors to work together and help each other out. Now, I have had some say, “Well, then we don't have to do anything because God will provide for us.” Not true. God gave you gifts and He wants you to use to provide for yourself and your family. It is written "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Yes, you must work but remember that God gave you the ability and knowledge to provide a service to someone so you may have your needs met.

Here is a big one with many Christians. Can we, as humans, do anything good without God? The first thing that comes to my mind is that we wouldn't even know what good was. We would not know that love isn't only a feeling but an action. As I said earlier, we would have no wisdom. Would would not even know that we should help each other out if it was not for Jesus Christ showing us. But there is more. Jesus clearly says that without Him, we can DO NOTHING. Jesus said, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.”4 The fruit that Jesus is talking about is good works. You can not do good works without Jesus. I know that some people are saying, “But Joe, I know people who do not believe in Jesus and they do good things. I am going to tell you something that non-believers don't like to hear. God doesn't need us to believe in Him in order to work with us. God can use any human for His Glory or to serve His purpose whether we accept Him or not. Another thing is that humans can do some things that may help others out on their own but they are usually conditional, temporary or for selfish gain. Even someone who does acts of good for the purpose of them thinking they are gaining credit to go to heaven is selfish. God wants us to do good works out of love and the only way we can do good for no other reason but love is if we have the love of God in us. Can humans have that love in them without God? I know I don't. Paul also knew that he could not do anything good without God. Let me tell you, Paul was a great man and could easily made himself look good but he took no credit for what he did. He said, “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”5 “Yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” What Paul is saying is that it isn't him that is doing all the work, but God. In 2 Corinthians we see that pure motives and sincerity are from God and not by human wisdom.6 So, what can we do without God? Well, we can mess things up. I have no problem doing that without God's help. I have become great at doing that. But another thing I can do is submit to God and listen to Him. I can let my human nature die and let the Holy Spirit fill me. Then, I am able to do anything.In closing I want to remind you that God loves you very much. More then you or I can ever understand. It is because of this love He has for us that He does give us the ability to do good and provides for us. Once we have this understanding, then we can do so much more and yet our burden is lightened. I pray that this blog helps you out in your everyday life. Take care and God Bless.

The Oklahoma Tomcat

11 Corinthians 2:4–5, Prov.2:6-7, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, 1 Corinthians 12:3
2Philippians 4:19
3Luke 21:1–4, 1 Timothy 6:17
4John 15:5
51 Corinthians 15:9-10
62 Corinthians 1:12

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