By Rev. Evans Emmanuel
We met energy here. Life isn’t man made. The potential to live and to make things happen came from God but how we use life and the energy we met here depends on either we lean towards fulfilling God’s desires or on following our own purposes.
It’s a fact that man is a free moral agent who can make independent decisions and make things happen here on earth without God and even directly against God’s pleasure. Man can be successful in rebellion against God in this world.
It is under this leverage that sin becomes possible. If nothing can happen except by God, then sin would not have been possible.
So success in any particular endeavor isn’t a sign of God’s approval. Babel was built to an extent and God Himself said, they would have achieved that, were He to let them be. Who knows how many millions of Babels have been built since then without God interference?
That lack of divine interference is now making us think we can do and undo, and whatever we achieve even with God’s involvement is based on our own life, prowess, energy and personal development and not God’s.
When we operate this way, we feel we don’t owe God any glory or thanksgiving for what we achieve and in so doing, think God is unnecessary in man’s affairs. We don’t see grace, divine permission, support or any contribution of God into our success rather all the glory comes to us.
You may think I’m speaking only of unbelievers, no, it happens also among believers, even among ministers of the gospel. I once heard a man of God making comments on the infrastructure of their ministry headquarters back in the late 80s saying, when God was the only one working there, that it was all bushes and forests until he joined Him and those things were built. Though I understand the principle he was speaking from, it sure sounds as if he was the one who made the difference and not God.
Pride is a very deadly emotion. It points only to self absolving any other of any credit including God. Those who want to experience God deeply must avoid it like a plague. Pride won’t give glory to God rather runs a person in direct collision with Him.
You may be a very casual Christian who don’t pray much, who don’t study God’s word much, who don’t go to church much, who don’t do all the standing on God’s word to receive anything specific from God, yet it will be safe for you to know that the life you have and the energy with which you live to make things happen comes from God. Give Him that credit and give Him the glory.
You may be a big fasting and prayer person, a mighty seed sower, a giver in the realm of giving all, holier than all, working perfectly before the Lord, a man of great faith and love, yet, don’t ever think that the smallest thing you receive from God is because of any of these wonderful things you do. The grace to do any work of righteousness is purely from God. He is the One who works in us both to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Give Him all the credit and praise.
The truth is that we all have our weaknesses and if that’s all we have, we may never be able to achieve what we have achieved, no matter how modest.
If our outcomes have been by the reason of those things we do wrongly and not by those we do rightly, we won’t be able to boast of anything at all.
Jesus Christ told us through His disciples that without Him, the Vine, we, the branches can do nothing. Here in His Kingdom, we who have submitted to His Lordship should learn to work with Him and to stay within what He permits us to do and to accomplish and not to overreach beyond His workings within us. We should only work on the outside to catch up with His working on our inside, nothing more according to Colossians 1:29. Seeking self glory won’t make us limit ourselves to that inner working. I know that sounds condescending but that’s our life.
Because another end of boasting is to think that we deserve more than what He permits us to accomplish in spite of our gifts and efforts. Our gifts, intentions and efforts aren’t enough, it takes divine working for us to become all God has prepared for us to become without becoming what God didn’t have in mind no matter how impressive that may be to people.
When we, who have submitted to His Lordship and leading, understand that we can only do so much as He permits, we won’t have any reason to boast, to look down on ourselves or to query God why we aren’t as big or as good as others in achievements.
Rather, we will give God glory that we are able to do as much as we do, trusting God to be able to do more if He wills. We may dream big, put in big efforts but the outcome will be within God’s limits in fulfilling His own purpose and pursuit. Paul plants, Apollos waters, but the increase is of the Lord. The only One who matters according to Paul, is the one who gives the increase. To Him alone must the glory go. 1Corinthians 3:6&7
You can’t measure your success or judge another person’s failure by the size of outcomes but in relation with divine purpose. If we build big but fail to fulfil purpose, we fail before God even if the world sees us as billionaire achievers. Life is all about divine purpose and divine purpose depends on divine power and it is that input of grace that gives God glory.
Have you been boasting lately? Have you praised your own wisdom, power and might? Have you looked down on others to blame them for the size of their achievements compared to yours? Have you seen yourself as bigger than where God has prepared for you? It’s time to repent and give glory to God.
Give God glory and avoid boasting. God resists the proud and give more grace to the humble.
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.
Rev. Evans Adetokunbo Emmanuel is a prolific writer and ordained minister of the gospel. He is the president of Grace Missions International Ministries based in Lagos, Nigeria, an inter-denominational ministry that focuses on ministering to ministers. The ministry holds a bible class every Wednesday (The Bible Class) where topical issues relating to Christianity today are freely discussed in the light of the bible under the auspices of the Holy-Spirit.You can access more of his materials at http://evansademanuel.blogspot.com