Religious “flesh” always wants to work for God (rather than humbling itself to realize God must work for it in free grace) . But “if you live according to the flesh you will die” (Romans 8:13). That is why our very lives hang on not working for God.
From the chapter on prayer, p.172, Desiring God by John Piper.
Peter 4:11 states the principle so well: “Let him who serves serve in the strength which God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and power forever and ever. Amen.” The Giver gets the glory. So all serving that honors God must be a receiving. Which means that all service must be performed by prayer.
Man. there is no question that I am a man in need. I need intervention in terms of safety when there are cars darting around that I can’t see and street kids jumping out in front of my car as if they WANT to get hit. I need intervention when I get angry at my friends, or when I would prefer to just be lazy instead of being a help to my wife. Or even to exert myself in a focused way instead of driving her to say “you are so distracted!”
But too many times I stop with being in need. I mope and sit and whine that I need God so bad, and you know what, I think only about 30% of the time I eventually call on Him. I think I just camp out in need without walking over to my Giver of all good things.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
(Hebrews 11:6 NIV)
rewards= the greek word misthapodotes– (Mr. Podotés?)
The water system where I live isn’t the best in the world. Often times when I turn on the sink in the bathroom, the water comes out normal for a second then all of a sudden starts going FFFTFFFTTTT FFTFTFTFT FFFTFTFT THOTH THOTH FFFFSSSHSHSHSHHSH. For a long time, actually for over a year, when this happened I would jump back and cringe in fear and anger and try not to get wet. Water and air would shoot out of the faucet and splatter all over my clothes, my face, the towels on the shelf, everywhere. It is very frustrating.
When I was in college, I took a class called weapon and weaponless defense. It was really fun. We bought these special bamboo-like sticks and learned how to swing them around like ninjas and fight with them. Me and my friend Kieth Woods would go out on the quad and beat the snot out of each other’s sticks.
We also played a lot of Frisbee. A lot. I mean it. We played for 8 hours a day. We added it up. Between our classes and our homework and meals and such, we played Frisbee AN AVERAGE of 8 hours a day. On the weekends we would actually play an organized game of Ultimate for a few of those hours.
There was one thing that always separated the good Ultimate players from the people just out throwing a Frisbee. If the disc was flying along down the field, you had to get it. The difference was whether you would wait for it to come to you, or if you would go to it. The people that would wait for the disc to come to them usually never caught it. The people that saw the disc coming at them and ran to meet it were the people that would usually end up scoring and winning.
When Keith and I would swing our sticks and attack each other, we were constantly in offense and defense at the same time. When one of his sticks came at me (you have one in each hand) I would have to swing mine at his stick as hard as or harder than his strike, or I wouldn’t block it. If I just held my stick up and let him hit it, it would come back on me and I’d get nailed with my own weapon. My defense was to swing at his offense as hard as I could.
Now when the sink goes FFTFFFT SHSHT FFFT FFFT I grab the faucet. If the water and air blast out into my hand, they don’t splatter all over my clothes. I grab onto the thing and in a few seconds it works right.
I think God is just that way. Mr. Podotés is so full of blessing, so full of power and action, but if He just did stuff He wouldn’t get as much glory. It’s when we ask Him and seek Him that He gets the most glory. When He gets the credit and I don’t blame some weird thing I call chance or luck.
I want to swing at him, I want to run up to Him and meet Him and not just wait for him to float down to me like a perfect throw. I want to swing at Him like He’s swinging at me!
When Keith and I would get tired of sparring, the sticks would start bonking and clunking. We would take a break and then go at it again, and when we were both hitting hard and really swinging, you could hear the CLACK A CLACK KA CLACK echoing off of all the stone buildings around us. I think Mr. Podots wants us to CLACK A CLACK with Him. I think He wants us to meet Him so He can pass out His glory and His goodness into our lives in big and wonderful ways.