November 18, 2012

God does it all

Being a Christian is something like being a glove. We can’t do anything unless the hand of God moves us. While some speak of personal disciplines and obedience as if my spiritual life depended entirely on those things, I’ve learned this is not so. Apart from God, I can do nothing. Jesus said so when He used the illustration of the vine and the branches. He said,

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5)

I’ve understood this to mean that I cannot serve God or be like Jesus unless I cling to Him like a grafted branch clings to the vine. However, being a glove in God’s hand is also about my position in Christ and my entire spiritual life, not just about Christian service.
The following verses begin with “It is God who…” That is, I cannot do any of these things by myself either.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21–22)

God establishes us (this is a communal project) in Christ. This word means that God makes us stable, sets us firmly on the foundation that is Jesus Christ. We cannot do this by ourselves.

God also anoints us. Anointing is never a mere ritual or ceremony. This is a work of God to consecrate His people to a particular office or station in life, our special place for spiritual service. I must not decide what I will do for God. He alone moves the glove; the glove cannot make those decisions. 

God puts His seal on us. In days gone by, a drop of wax was used to seal special documents. Then that wax was stamped with a signet or private mark for security or preservation. In the case of God’s people, He seals us and His seal declares that we belong to Him and are kept safe in His care. I cannot do that for myself either. Being sealed is a God thing.

Lastly, God puts His Spirit in my heart as a guarantee. Some Bible versions translate this guarantee as a down payment. The Holy Spirit is our indication and promise of what is to come. 

He also is the hand in the glove, the third Person of the Trinity that fills my life with so much joy and gives me all that I need to abide in Christ and move forward in my Christian life and service.

God does it. So what then is my job? Perhaps behave like a leather glove that stays supple and pliable in His mighty hand!

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