It's Thursday, the day after "hump day," and I am feeling a bit under the weather. I am not sick, per se, just feeling that "I don't feel well" kind of feeling. I woke up with it, and while I have prayed to have it go away, I still feel not quite right on. I am not sure why I get this way, but I think it is probably due to the fact that I am prone to depression, and that I often get attacked by the enemy right when I encounter some doubt and difficulty. Yes, unfortunately the enemy knows my weaknesses well. Thank God that the enemy also knows my strengths, and that my STRENGTH is not my own, but that if the Lord Jesus Christ, RISEN AND EXALTED, and against whom no weapon can be formed (Is. 54:17 NKJV).
No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.
As I sit here today, I am reminded that I am mere flesh and bone. I am fallible, and my life's work is for naught. There is nothing I bring to God's Holy table that is of any value to Him. My life belongs to Him already, and therefore, no human work is pleasing and acceptable for any merit-based reward. No, the only work that will elicit the praise of God is the work He performs in me and through me. It must be His work, His way, and for His honor to receive a "well-done!" So long as I continue to struggle through the human frailty and think that my actual to-do lists will honor Him, I will live a life that is open to the enemies attack. If I choose, instead, to let Him do His work in me, then the enemy has to confront the Lord, and well, we already know that ending to the story. Therefore, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul were right - the more we try to do, the less we will overcome (John 3:31, Gal 2:20). The more we let Christ do, the less we will incur the enemies wrath. Of course, the enemy will seek to destroy that which is human-made, but he cannot destroy that which is God made.
It is difficult to understand what is meant by these verses. How can I decrease so that Christ can increase? Do I physically submit to the Lord, through my will, to demonstrate that I am letting go of my own well-being and welfare? In a way, yes, and in a way, no. I believe that what is being said here is in part a willful submission and act of obedience. It is also a supernatural infilling of the Holy Spirit that enables the child of Christ to allow the RISEN AND EXALTED Lord to reign supreme over every area and every need. It is progressive -- at first a laying down of one's life, and then a laying down of one's will. The act of obedience is to the WORD of God, and then to the daily application of this principle. The act must be performed over and over again, a choice that says, "I will obey you, Lord." This act of obedience is repeated throughout the believer's life, as many times as needed, to keep the body (the flesh) in check. However, without the second part, the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, what remains is mere works of the flesh (legalism).
I struggle with legalism, and with "doing" things for God. I know that I cannot do anything good, anything that pleases Him, but I still try it. I still think that somehow I will be worthy on my own merit, my own hands, and my own mind. God has reminded me that He is I AM and as such there is no other work or thing or being sufficient to stand next to Him. You cannot stand in your flesh in the presence of I AM --> see Moses who learned first hand that He couldn't see the face of God, but only His passing by (a shadow of the former, still leaving a changed appearance and a radiation-effect). No, I worship I AM and because I have pledged my life to Him, I must relinquish the works of the flesh (the good works, not the sinful works that we laid at His feet), the works that I do now as a believer in Christ. These are the works that appear to be "good" and appear to be "worthy." By human standards these works are good, they can be worthwhile, and they can bring good to others. Yet, infused by filling of the Holy Spirit, these humble works can achieve God's purposes, but only if He has a say in them, and is able to work through them.
I sit here today, and I think about the works I do each day. I think about how I struggle with doubt as to whether I have done a good job, been approved, given credit. I am saddened when I stop and I realize how much time I spend in negative feelings, self-doubt, and critical awareness. God has given me His Spirit, and I am not stuck with the works of the flesh. I have the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working on the inside of me, and His approval is based solely upon the finished work of Christ Jesus. There is nothing I need do to be approved. He is the one who gets all the credit, and as such, is the one who is EXALTED!
As I spend this day today, may I remember that you have accomplished your work, and that you have sat down on your throne. You are not waiting to complete the work for it is finished. Therefore, let me remember that your finished work applies to my life as well. I do not need to struggle to be approved by you or by anyone. I am approved. I am already made whole, made complete, and made ready to do your work. I am set free, and I am no longer in bondage to the negative self-talk and doubt. I am redeemed, I am able to do everything you have planned for me, and all will be accomplished in your Name, and through your Strength, and for your Praise and Honor. I let go now, and I rest in your freedom. Your Name is Great, and I give you all Praise today. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!