(Friends: this is a repeat from 2003, and addresses the issue we considered yesterday. Several questions for contemplation follow. Thanks, Glen.)
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
The wonder of Christ living His life in us, and our living our lives by Him, presents a challenge to which there are no final answers in this lifetime. Instead, we are involved in an ongoing discovery of God’s role and our role in the relationship. If we could presently engage in an audible discussion with our Heavenly Father, perhaps the consideration might proceed as follows:
"Heavenly Father, this command of Your Word is beyond my abilities, I cannot fulfill it."
"Yes, I know, My child, you cannot."
"Oh then, since You know my weakness, You will fulfill it for me. Thank You, my Father!"
"No, My child, I will not fulfill it for you."
"But, Father, I cannot do it, I have no strength equal to the task!"
"Yes, My child, this is true, you have not and you cannot."
"So then, Father, You must do it for me!"
"No, My child, I will not do it for you."
"But Father, You're telling me to do something You acknowledge I cannot do, and that You won't do.
"This is true, My child. You cannot and I will not."
"But Father, how..."
"Be quiet, My child, still yourself and listen. It is true that you cannot fulfill My will. And it is also true that I will not fulfill it for you. You cannot and I will not, but...
"Yes, my Father?"
"You cannot and I will not - but together we will!"
"We will, my Father?"
"Yes, we will, My child. I will be the wisdom, the motivation, the power, the life, and most of all, the love that must fill and fragrance our every doing. You will be the trusting recipient of all that I am and all that I do. You will believe Me and by faith submit your whole being unto Me for My purposes and glory. Yes, I will be the Vine and you will be the branch upon which I bear My choicest fruit. Together, My child, we will."
"Yes, my Father, we will."
The presence of the Spirit of Christ in our trusting hearts draws us into a relationship with God wherein both the Divine and the human actively participate. We are not robots in whom He merely programs our responses and doings. Our Heavenly Father rather constitutes believers as living persons with whom He relates by revealing Himself and His truth in order to lead us to the conscious, decisive response of faith and devotion to Him. The relationship is personal, and it is free in the sense that neither party coerces the other. “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8).
God is always first. He ever calls, leads, draws, woos, and motivates. We respond to His moving within us. Our experience and application of the relationship proceeds in direct proportion to faith, submission and the determination to know our Lord in a manner mutually pleasing to both Him and to us. Yes, the Christian life is "we" - Christ lives in us and we live by Him.
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (II Corinthians 4:7).
Questions For Consideration
1. Why does God desire that we have an active role in our relationship with Him?
2. Obviously, it is also possible to seek through determination and self discipline to do that which only God can do. What might be the consequences be of this error?
3. On the other hand, it is also possible to expect God to do that which we ourselves are commanded by the Bible to do through His power. What might result if we fail to engage ourselves in the relationship?