God is great
Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world—1 John 4:4
We are praising the Lord Jesus Christ for how He has directed us in our endeavors over the last week and a half. As some already know we started a benevolence project on April 27th, which God directed us too. This was a house in which three elderly ladies lived that was in great need of repair. We knew that the roof was leaking and that the shingles would need replacing as well as some sheetrock inside the house but we didn’t know how much needed fixing. It turned out to be a four day project and there were over 25 volunteers who gave their time for this endeavor.
Not only did the obvious need fixing but there were 16 sheets of 4x8 sheeting that had to be replaced on the roof, more than half of the skirting was replaced, all of the fascia boards, the back steps were replaced, leaking plumbing was fixed, and guttering was replaced. Then of course there was all the trash that had to be hauled away which filled a dump truck and a large trailer.
Besides all the donated labor, the costs of the project have nearly been covered, which exceeded $4,100, and this has just been amazing as we are such a small group and this could only happen because of God’s providential provision. I am realizing more and more that this is precisely the way God operates. But as Americans we have become accustomed to success of our own making which gives us the credit. God made it very clear that we would seek the credit instead of giving it to Him, for when Yahweh said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against Me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ ” (Judges 7:2).
All too often we are under the illusion that we can do these things in our own strength. And many times we do, but we miss the grace of God and the benefit that He gives in gaining the victory. This is exactly what Paul discovered in his life when he said, “I have to brag. There is nothing to be gained by it, but I must brag about the visions and other things that the Lord has shown me. I know about one of Christ’s followers who was taken up into the third heaven fourteen years ago. I don’t know if the man was still in his body when it happened, but God certainly knows.
“As I said, only God really knows if this man was in his body at the time. But he was taken up into paradise, where he heard things that are too wonderful to tell. I will brag about that man, but not about myself, except to say how weak I am.
“Yet even if I did brag, I would not be foolish. I would simply be speaking the truth. But I will try not to say too much. That way, none of you will think more highly of me than you should because of what you have seen me do and say. Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw. One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud.
So it is good to recognize what we have accomplished but know that it is because of God’s work in our lives and He alone gets the credit. Paul put this in perspective when he said, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." (Galatians 6:2-5)
When we glorify God we do not nullify what we are doing in the process but keeping the right perspective, because everything comes from God in the first place. He has given us our bodies, minds and spirits to serve and worship Him in all we do and when we keep this perspective constantly before us then we discover what is best for us.
This also means that we will have difficulty along the way because we have an enemy, Satan, who is seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) but greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). So instead of focusing on the problem we look to Jesus for the solution. And here is how we can make sure that we maintain the right attitude in our lives: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)