Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Jesus Helps Me

I have been using Oswald Chambers' devotional book My Utmost for His Highest in my devotional reading in the mornings. The reading for November 2 I thought was good and really blended well with some of the thoughts I have been pondering the past few days. Yet, there was one sentence I just could not accept. Chambers wrote; "Jesus Christ will not help me obey Him, I must obey Him; and when I do obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny" (p. 307). I have no doubt that our spiritual destiny lies on the other side of obedience, and it is because the stakes are so high that Jesus gives us the ability to obey.

Part of the problem of the human condition is that we don't have what it takes live a life of obedience. We are dominated by the flesh and we don't naturally do what God has called us to do, even when we have good intentions that we will. If my spiritual destiny depends on my obedience then I am in huge trouble!

Oswald Chambers began the reading with John 14:15; “If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (ESV). Our love for Jesus is demonstrated in our obedience to His will. Yet Jesus goes on to say; "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16, 17; ESV). Jesus knows we need help in our obedience and so He sends the Holy Spirit to be the help that we need.

The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13; I can do all things through him who strengthens me (ESV). Paul credited his continued obedience in the face of hardship to the strength that Christ provided. This was not something that Paul could have done on his own, he need the help of Jesus.

When it comes to obedience it does start with our intention and commitment. In other words we need to position our lives towards obedience. For me that includes going to God and asking for the strength to forgive, to love, to serve, and to give generously. If these things depended solely on me then I would fail. The help of Jesus is essential for my obedience, and I am going to continue to rely on His strength as I follow after Him.


f said...

I so agree with you. There's no way I can do this on my own, and I believe the Bible gives me assurances throughout that the Holy Spirit will guide me and give me the strength I will need. I have to seek that guidance and strength.

But I also have to have the faith to expect that guidance and strength from God will be there for me after I ask. (Too often I pray for help, then go about continuing to worry and trying to do it on my own.)

Just an observation.

Liane said...

I wonder if he didn't mean to say that God won't do our part of us? We must choose and do the actions. We are not puppets that God put through the motions, but we are weak in areas, and we do fail. Even Paul says in Roman 7 that his new nature wants to do what is right but his old nature still loves sin - "...what a terrible predicament I'm in!" But Jesus set him free from sin.

I like what Phil 2:13 says, "For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants."

You see, He gives us the "want" and then, when we ask according to His will, He fulfills it and helps us do it.

I do think that the choice is yours. He can help us all He wants to, but if we don't act on it in faith then it doesn't result in obedience. I don't believe that God will do what is ours to do. We must do what we can and trust Him to do what we cannot. It is a team effort; not just God and not just us. I almost want to say "it takes two to tango" in a fruitful relationship with Christ - for apart from Him we can do nothing (the Vine and the branches).

Paul Steele said...

F, I agree with you we do need to have the faith that God will answer our prayers and give us what we need.

Liane, I think that is a possibility, because I agreed with every thing else about that day's devotional, and that sentence just seemed a little out of place to me.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I appreciate it.

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