Believing in God’s unconditional love in Christ results in a state of rest and a surrendered will with a content soul. That is when precious works happen, for it is Him that does the works in us. We serve with a heart filled with love and gratitude to our Father in heaven.
Fearing God’s judgement and condemnation results in a servile attitude, that of a slave and not a son, seeking to please Him in the flesh - producing works as filthy rags. It is akin to trying to justify the sincerity of our faith by doing “good” works. Bribing God. The motive of the heart isn’t right. If true love isn’t the driver, it is meaningless - for it means that God isn’t the One doing the work in us - He is Love and whenever He acts we know that He is the One doing the works.
When works are done by Him in us, they are done in reverential humility before God, bold respect before man, and carry with them the fruits of the Spirit. That is the difference between doing works in the authority of the Father, and doing the works in the flesh (unsure, indifferent, confused, uncommitted, demanding, selfish, etc.)
Should we then do nothing until we enter that restful place? No. We still seek the Lord, meditate on Him as we go about our day, read the word and even serve one another. But the service should be done in faith - for whatever isn’t of faith is sin. If we don’t have the faith for a particular job, we won’t be doing it in love, and it isn’t God in us who is doing the work but rather the flesh to please man - it isn’t done as unto the Lord. Faith doesn’t happen by coercion or by mental analysis. Faith is the work of God in us.
Serve in the way that the Lord has shown you and given you peace about. Be faithful in the little things until He gives you bigger things to do - Him doing them in you and not you working up your flesh to do them in your own power and understanding. When we do the work ourselves we feel good about ourselves, having achieved, boastful in the flesh. That isn’t God’s way. When He does the work, all the glory goes to Him with heart-felt joy as our Lord, Savior and King!
Yes we are to die to our selves but even that the Lord does in us. I am willing to die to self in love. I don’t believe God is asking us to die to self by choosing just about any cross. He gives us the cross to carry and He also gives us the love/grace to labour. Without the grace, there is no spiritual vision to make us see the joy set before us. Jesus endured the cross because He saw how by suffering, great joy will come to those whom He loves. Likewise, we carry our cross and die on it by “seeing” how suffering will bring about great joy for those whom we love. If there is no spiritual vision about a particular cross, then there is no conviction of life by the Holy Spirit, and thus there is no “true” heart-felt motive to die on that particular cross. God gives us the cross to die on. We don’t just choose any cross. Otherwise we are doing things based on our own understanding and not in faith of the Spirit.
To repent is to believe in God’s unconditional love in Christ’s sufficient blood. Repentance isn’t to try and do good works. It isn’t to work on your “sin list”. It is to “believe” in God as our Father through Jesus who loved us eternally and said “it is finished”. Now we wait on Him with expectation - that He who began a good work will finish it. Repentance indeed produces good works but emulating “good works” do not prove a repentant heart. One can do a “good work” and still have an evil heart of unbelief.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (John 5:24)
Love cannot be generated at will. It isn’t the same as service. Love is the substance of God and it is poured into our hearts by Him, at His will. When this happens, faith builds up and we see the power and awesomeness of God, thus being able to be bold in Him, knowing that whatever we ask for in Jesus’ name we will receive. Those are the precious works.
A proud heart resists the grace/love of God. Thus to receive more of God’s love we are to humble ourselves by facing our fears and shame.
I have pledged allegiance to a King who loved evildoers so much he died for them, teaching us that there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for. While terrorists were nailing him to the cross, my Jesus pleaded that they be shown mercy, for they knew not what they were doing. We are all wretched, and we are all beautiful. No one is beyond redemption. May we see in the hands of the oppressors our own hands, and in the faces of the oppressed our own faces. We are made of the same dust, and we cry the same salty tears."
— Shane Claiborne (via blakebaggott)
— 1 Peter 4:1-2
A young man went out to the desert to meet a desert father for instruction. When he arrived he said “Abba, what is Christian perfection?” The desert Father excitedly said – “follow me!” and he lead the young man into a cemetery. They approached a fresh grave and the old man stood on top of the grave and speaking to the dead man said – “you were the most miserable person that ever lived, you were ugly, mean and the world is far worse off for having you in it, your death could not have come soon enough!” The old man paused after saying this and looked at the young man, asking – “how did the dead man respond?” The young man replied – “he is dead, he did not respond.” Then the abba looked toward the grave again and said – “you were the most wonderful person I had ever met, Everything you did was wonderful, you were so handsome and splendid, the world is a far worse place with you having left it.” The abba again turned to the young man and asked – “what was the dead mans response to what I have said?” Again the young man said – “the man is dead, he has no response.”
The abba then said – “This is Christian perfection, the dead man stands before his God and hears Him alone, he is unswayed by condemnation or praise, truly this man has achieved Christian perfection.”
• Do you want to grow in intimacy with God? It begins with dying to oneself.
• People often say to me – “I cannot hear God”, but in order to do so we must first turn down the volume of self (Christopher Nerreau)
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)