Who Works — Jesus Or Me?
Allow me to share with you that the majority of this post is very personal. Why? Because for the most part what you will read below was from my personal devotions years ago.
“Why not so many verses or ‘proof texts’” you ask?
The answer to that question lies in how I was doing them at that particular time. I would read a section of Scripture, reflect on it, and write down both personal applications and then include an “advice” section. The advice section was my idea of using it to help others — usually with my children in mind.
This particular reflection came from my reflections from Philippians, chapter one. In particular, the word “confidence” caught my attention here:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)**
Since this rather elongated article has to do with the topic of “Who Works, Jesus Or Me?” when we work out our salvation in Him, I am going to ask you to follow along with me to the end.
I ask you to follow along with me to the end because I believe in doing it will give you a bigger picture instead of a one or two paragraph answer. Should you desire that, I’ll give it to you up front, right here:
— My Immediate “Answer” —
“Who works: Jesus or me?” My simplified answer is both. I’d better work hard at being the person who Jesus wants me to be because I will stand before Him to give account. This is personal. It will happen.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10).**
And yet, in the same breath I also must bow in thanksgiving before the Lord because I credit my working for Him with zeal due to His zealous and powerful work in me.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10).**
— Now Travel Along With Me —
Honestly, I am not changing much below from when I first penned these words. I am asking you to “travel along with me” because of the fact that what I am addressing I believe to be a biblical mystery — similar to the God’s sovereign plan vs the free will of man controversy — and I want you to catch my thinking process. Then, of course, you decide.
On to what I created during my devotional time. And my title was:
“Here’s My Advice On Developing Confidence In God”
Watch How He Has Worked
Watch how he has worked in your past and project his working into your future in your mind.
One of the most helpful concepts in the Christian life for me has been “He who began … will complete…” What God has begun he will complete.
Trust that he will work.
Affirm that he is working in your life and that he will continue to work.
Ask him to work.
Asking and receiving from the hand of God is a great confidence builder. In general, the more you ask — the more you “get.”
The more you depend — the more he works.
And the more you see him work the more confidence you have in his working again.
Think right. Think, “I am confident in God’s desire and ability to use me.”
Realizing that God desires to work in your life and bear lasting fruit for the honor of his name is essential.
I am not a “worm” saved by grace. I am a new creation saved by grace to serve by grace.
That is God’s design.
That is God’s desire.
Thinking this way … believing in God’s plan this way … builds confidence.
Believe in your own gifts and abilities.
Acknowledge the strengths you have been given and develop them.
Don’t think, “it’s only Christ in me.” I think that is false thinking.
Sometimes I think people reflect this attitude and never acknowledge their own strengths which have been given to them by God.
In one sense, you could term what I am saying to be “split personality” thinking. And… in one sense I’m not so sure it is true, lol!
It’s true that Christ works in and through me.
But that’s the point…
He works in and through me according to the personality, gifts strengths and abilities that he has equipped me with.
I am a whole person redeemed by God.
Develop And Dedicate
My summary advice is: develop and dedicate.
And don’t try too hard to figure out “Who’s working here — Christ or me?”
To the best of your God given ability.
And when he blesses your life thank him for the blessing, dedicating it all to him.
I have not figured out the “how” of, “To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:29).** To me, it is a mystery. And my temporary solution to this “mystery” is to:
View myself as a whole, redeemed person,
Ask for God’s help in all things,
Depend upon him to work,
Thank him when he does work,
Dedicate the results to Him,
Recognize my strengths as real strengths of character and real, “Lee Wise” God- given abilities throughout the entire process
And continue to develop any one or combination of skills that I have been given.
In this way, I grow in confidence.
Confidence in God and confidence in the Lee that God is making.
This is my point.
If I say that only Lee or only Christ exists in a given situation this is out of balance thinking.
If only Lee is operating, Christ is somehow left out of the picture.
If only Christ is operating, then to say that Lee isn’t in the picture is crazy.
Somehow it is Christ in me, but it is also Christ and me.
Somehow it is me in Christ, but it is also me and Christ.
So, Who Does Work?
(Not in my original devotional thoughts)
In the end, I would say that in living out our lives — or as you see here on this blog — in the living out our 5 Missions, we are to:
Work like crazy for Jesus,
While trusting that Jesus is working like crazy in and for us!
I am active.
Jesus is active.
I give the glory to Jesus.
Jesus gets the glory from me.
And all God’s people say, “Amen!”
**Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.
The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™