Our Working God
“No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4)
Here you are shown as the active agent. I must be passive, patient, anticipating…trusting. There's nobody else like this - that will gladly, willingly work for us - all we must do is wait. Lord - teach me to patiently wait for you - and to trust that you will accomplish everything on my behalf for salvation, sanctification and joy.
“God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:25)
I can't even take a breath without you working on my behalf! All the work I do to prove myself worthy is in vain - you have done it all, and continue to do it all. All of life is sustained by your perfect will and power. May I remember that the next time I try to earn my salvation.
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
It's easy to think of our need to serve Christ - after all, he is our God and we are his people. But may I not too quickly look over the fact that you came, primarily, to serve us. We needed help. We had nothing to offer. We were hopeless in our sin. We were being held captive - we needed a ransom. You poured out your life as a service to mankind - even to the point of shedding your own blood.
“The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him.” (2 Chronicles. 16:9)
You are on the search for people to trust in you - who trust in your strength. So much I attempt in my own strength. But I am weak. You want to show me your strength. But it seems front this passage - that my trust must come before I can see. Lord, give me the ability and the desire to trust in you. Take away all of my doubts and concerns - show your power to me in a huge way.
“If I were hungry, I wouldn't tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)
You don't need me. I need you. You are never hungry - but even if you were, I would never hear about it. What a great visual picture this is! Thanks, Lord - for giving such relatable, human pictures like this so I can understand. May I call on you when I'm desperate and hungry for more. May I glorify when you come through.
“To old age I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:4)
May I not fear age. May I not fear death. You will carry me through all of the frightening, new experiences of this life. You have made me this way - you will help me bear the weight of all the loss and uncertainty.
“I worked harder than any, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians. 15:10)
Our waiting and trusting and praying is not a totally passive thing. No, we must work - but out of the strength you provide to us through your grace and your work.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
Lord, may I not commit to building anything that you are not already building - and calling me to build with you. You have called me to join you in the building of your church, your kingdom, your family. You have not called me to build a selfish empire of money, greed and lustful satisfaction. You have not called me to build a kingdom of lies, sinful pleasures, and fleeting fame. Lord, may I abandon all other houses except the one that you are building. May I join you in your work.
“Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11)
What is this strength you supply? How is it obtained? What is it for? Why must God's strength be used and not my own? The glory of God is the purpose of all existence. God is not glorified in what we do if we take all the credit - and do things in “our strength”. (And even this notion that our strength is really our own is false - as we saw earlier that even this strength is given from above.) God supplies this strength through his powerful word, through his powerful work, and through our constant, humble reliance and waiting on him. We need this humbling power in order to serve without expecting a reward. To serve selflessly. To serve as Christ's hands and feet. To serve for the glory of god. To truly point to him as the ultimate servant - without basking in some of our own “humility” and glory.
Lord, teach me to do this. I do so much for my own attention and glory. Teach me to find my approval, acceptance and satisfaction in what I was made for: exalting and bringing attention to, you and your power.
“Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, to will and to work.” (Philippians 2:12–13)
I believe this is touching on perseverance and sanctification. Salvation is not a one-time thing - it is a persistent reliance on Gods power every day.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7)
This means we don't just wait around, expecting God to work apart from us. He works through us. We are his hands and feet. We are his tools. He has ordained to include us in the building of his kingdom. We plant, we water - but only God can bring our work to fruition. This is because we are about God's work - we are not working for ourselves. We are relying on him for everything. If we plant and water faithfully, and yet do not see the growth we desire - we should not despair. Christ is powerful. Christ is in control. Christ is working in ways we cannot imagine. Behind the scenes - in the scenes.
I praise you, Jesus - for being a tireless, powerful, masterful worker. Expand my faith to believe this is true. And give me the humility, patience, wisdom, and desire to help you in your work. Work through me in a way that gives glory to you - and not to myself.