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Understanding God's Work
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When seeking solutions to the struggles we deal with, nearly every child of God knows that he/she is supposed to trust in God to deal with the problem. Although this concept is well known, it is not very well understood. If this were better understood there would be so much more joy and freedom in our lives. This concept is actually incredibly simple, but can be complicated when we fail to separate God’s work from our own. It is delayed when we fail to truly gain an understanding of God’s work.
What is God’s work? How does it actually work for us against stubborn struggles? What are our works? How do they keep us in the same predictable cycles of failure and frustration? It is important for us to truly understand what God’s work really means, and his plan for executing it in our lives.
To understand God’s work we must first understand his love. In general people harbor faulty beliefs about God, but these beliefs are especially damaging during times of difficulty. We often feel as if God is watching us and waiting for us to overcome our difficulty alone. This is untrue. God does not wait for us in our distress, nor does he expect anything of us. God aligns himself with us at all times. It is the very heart of God to demonstrate his loyalty and love toward us even in our worst predicaments.
His type of love does not demand ideal circumstances, well put together behavior, or even our contribution. In fact his type of love performs best when all odds are against us (2 Corinthians 12:9). Not only does God want us to realize his love for us in personal difficulty, but also wants us to know that he is the only possible way of overcoming our challenging struggles.
To distinguish God’s work from our own, we must first define the cycle of our works. We often begin blaming ourselves and focusing on everything that we have not done right or cannot do right. The cycle of our work often begins with our own search for answers to the mystery of our difficulty. We believe that if we understand the problem we can fix it. It seems rational to us that awareness of the problem should lead to a change in behavior.
The Holy Spirit responds to our distress with answers. He gives us clear direction and understanding of both the problem, and solution so that we are no longer confused. However we sometimes mistake the revelation for direction. Instead of allowing him to complete his work, we attempt to modify ourselves into fitting what the Holy Spirit has described. For example, if the Holy Spirit shows us that our problem is our lack of love for others, we immediately transform ourselves into the most loving person on God’s earth. We begin to perform a new loving attitude, but immediately stumble when confronted with a true challenge. Without a genuine change, such efforts are usually intense, but short lived.
Before long we find ourselves engaged in those same old behaviors. We soon realize that despite our new found understanding of our situation we are still unsuccessful. We eventually learn that God does not give us understanding as a direction for us to go out and follow (this would be our workings of his plan). Rather God gives us understanding to make us aware of what he is going to do for us, which are his workings (Ephesians 2:8). His revelation is the beginning of his work and what he plans to carry out. This is often a very misunderstood concept. Despite our best intentions to follow what God has shown, this self work keeps us from success.
Self work is something that God never meant for us to practice. In addition, he never intended for us to change or construct ourselves in any way. God understands that we are not equipped to do so. Only we hold the false belief that we must do something in order to bring change into our lives. God however is well aware that we are incapable, as this is his purposeful design. God leaves this space for himself that we may rely on him. Any work that God expects, he knows that he must produce it himself.
The difference between God’s work and our own is that God’s power drives his works effortlessly. God’s work is motivated by the desire to build a permanent foundation in our lives. A foundation built by God will never leave us stranded in our bondage (Psalm 127:1). God’s works are not a dogmatic attempt to dominate us, but rather a loving measure to protect us. God understands that the works we attempt to build are very unstable and can lead to repeated failures. With perfect precision and accuracy, God desires to deliver the resources that we need to bring about the desired changes, without our involvement. His works are permanent and able to stand the test of time. He knows exactly what we need and has the power to produces lasting, genuine, and truthful change in the area of our struggle.
God’s plan is simple, he only desires that we ask for what we need and he will give it (John 14:14). When we ask him, God replies immediately, with his power. God seeks to relieve our distress and never leaves us to suffer in bondage. However God cannot and will not perform the work with us, nor does he help us get better. His desire is to wean us from dependence upon ourselves, therefore he does not seek to improve us. He will not spend time trying to perfect that which is not perfect (John 6:63).
God on the other hand seeks to operate in his own perfect qualities, lending them to us (Colossians 1:16, Philippians 2:13). We merely adopt his ability. As a result we are able to operate in his new quality, leaving our own insufficient qualities behind. This is the nature of God’s work. When we ask God, endows us with specific extra grace in the area of our need (James 4:6). Our needs then are completely fulfilled.
God’s spirit is able to accomplish this work when we follow his lead. Although this is a familiar idea we again often lack the understanding how to do this. Following the Spirit does not require any effort or activity on our part, it rather requires a quiet restful state. God’s system of works is simple to follow, because it requires nothing of us. We do not have to perform, muster effort, or create anything within ourselves. We simply allow God to carry us and give us everything we need.
In conclusion, God uses our difficult circumstances to show us the riches of his glory and love for us. God builds our confidence to truly trust him and rely on his ability to meet our needs in life. The trial itself is not difficult to God. It did however remain difficult to us in order to help break the habit of trust in ourselves. In order to experience true freedom in our lives, we must truly abandon our habit of trusting ourselves and abilities. Freedom and safety comes from complete trust and reliance in God alone, as any other foundation will eventually fall.
God continues to train us in this way by keeping himself as the answer to what we need and not allowing us to be self sufficient. When we learn to separate our works from God’s, we find that our struggles are not so difficult at all. In fact we often find that all we need is understanding. It is then that we experience genuine rest from our struggles.
God Bless You
Copyright 2005 - Samantha Cole
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