Friday, June 2, 2017

Christ Equips, Not Us

Christ Himself equips believers for living every aspect of life in His grace and peace, but we often don’t realize it. Instead, we attempt to work out our own Christian maturity, yes, along the lines of Christ, but not in Christ Himself. We don’t study, learn, accept and then live out His equipping.

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

“Therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

We struggle because we focus on the struggle and pray our hearts out that God would help us. To do what? Act like Christ in our own power? Transform the world around us while we ignore Christ?

Or, we can pray that Christ, whose Spirit is within us, is lived out through us so He can transform the world around us:

“His divine power has given (notice the past tense) us everything (notice it is in full, not part), we need (not what we want, but what we need), for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4, words in parenthesis mine.

The next paragraph continues,

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8

I believe verses five through eight do not take us back to our own striving, based on verses three and four.

Our “every effort” is in submitting to the Godly qualities attached to faith. It is the discipline and decision of obedience in Christ Jesus. In this way, Christ’s equipping bears His fruit through us. And this not of ourselves:

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:4-9

copyright Barb Harwood

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