Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 21 June 21:
Ephesians 3:20 — Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The primary theme throughout today’s readings is the Sovereignty of God and our total dependence on His grace, guidance, and provision in our lives. Apart from Him, we are nothing and can accomplish nothing of value. (Review John 15) We must be continually reminded of this fact since we are so tempted to grow prideful, self-reliant and self-promoting, which is celebrated by the world with its philosophies of humanism and rationalism. When we return to the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (when we presume we don’t need God to decide what is good and bad or right and wrong, and when we begin to follow our own desires rather than His will – Genesis 2) we walk away from the Tree of Life, Jesus, and we no longer bear the good fruit we were intended to produce. We are created to live by God’s grace, rejoice in God’s grace, proclaim God’s grace (in word and deed), and glorify God as evidence of God’s grace.
Note from today’s readings, whenever David sought the Lord’s counsel and obeyed God, he was successful. However, when he didn’t seek the Lord’s will and follow it, he failed, despite surrounding himself with many experienced advisors. “David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader,” before deciding to fetch the ark of God, but he apparently didn’t consult with God (1 Chronicles 13:1) — this didn’t work out so well for Uzzah. However, against the Philistines, “David inquired of God,” (1 Chronicles 14:10, 14) and God brought him great victories.
“And the Lord said to him, ‘Go up, and I will give them into your hand.’ …David struck them down there. And David said, ‘God has broken through my enemies by my hand….” (1 Chronicles 14:10, 11) David understood and was sure to proclaim that, though God worked through him, God and God alone brought the victory. To whom do you give the credit for your talents, skills, abilities, accomplishments and successes? Do people praise you or your God in Heaven?
Ephesians 3:3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 16, 19, 20, 21 – “The mystery was made known to me by revelation…. revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit…. I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power…. this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…. we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him…. that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…. to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.”
Paul was equally emphatic that his faith, love, knowledge, preaching ability, boldness, and strength were all gifts from God rather than the product of his abilities. In fact, he emphasized that the gifts he had obtained from God and shared with others were “unsearchable,” surpassing human knowledge or understanding, and beyond what anyone could ever imagine or ask from God; and his prayer was that others would experience the same fullness of God, being filled up by God. Paul relentlessly gave God all the glory. Do you?
Don’t make the mistake Moses made at Meribath: “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) Don’t attempt to share the glory with God as He works through you with His power — It is never “we;” it is only “He.” Watch out for that personal pronoun, “I” when celebrating accomplishments. To God be the glory.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 June 21: Celebrated God’s grace and provision in your life. Go out of your way to give God all the glory today. In all that you say and do, point others to Jesus – don’t allow yourself to be a distraction to others from Him.