I've been seeking the Lord for my Salvation and I come across the responsibility of man as mentioned in the Bible.
So, I wanted to ask about the Responsibility of man and the Grace of God, Sovereignty of God.
The Bible in different places commands us to do something, or rather, to change.
In 1 Peter 5:6,
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up"
"And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
"Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?"
2 Chronicles 7:14
"if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
And GOD, throughout the old testament, keeps telling Israel and even other nations also at times like- Nineveh (Jonah), through Prophets, etc to Repent and turn to HIM.
And in the New Testament, we are told to Repent and Believe.
These verses seem to put it up, like humbling oneself or having a new heart and a new spirit, to Repent, as human responsibility to do what's been asked of us to do.
And so it implies also that we naturally have the ability to do what's been asked of us to do and that it's possible for us to do it without God's help, just by our will? Because if we can't', then why would He ask that of us?
But the Bible also puts things the other way, which seems opposite, that we can do these things only by God's Intervention/ Grace, power:
".....The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul"
"Then He[Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures"
Acts 18:26-40, The case of the Ethiopian Eunuch
Ezekiel 11:19 (cf. Ezekiel 36:26, Hebrews 8:10, Jeremiah 32:33)
"And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh"
In Daniel 4, God humbles Nebuchadnezzar, after which he praises God, for doing so and humbling him.
So, what should we do when we come across such commands in the Bible?
Should we wait for God to do something that we can't or we don't have the ability (will) to unless God intervenes in some way, or,
should we do what we are commanded to (to Repent, be Humble, change our hearts and minds) assuming that have the ability(the will)?
It is said that we have the ability and faculties for dong what we are commanded to do, that if we 'will', we can do it, but that the problem is that we can't Truly 'will' without the work, influence of God in our heart.
Spurgeon says about this :
"The question is, are men ever found naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ".
If this is True, then,
How should we then carry out our Responsibility ?
Over 3 years ago, God started to speak to me deeply on the great sin of division, slander, and gossip in the body of Christ. God started to have me in situations where great hurt was being done and I saw first hand the way the enemy used these tactics to destroy and hurt the testimony of Jesus Christ in others lives. One of many devotional articles I wrote during that time was called: God's Church Is Sacred In This Earth. The premise of the devotion was a warning that when we speak against the body of Christ we speak against God's Sacred Church of whom we are all a part.
Recently, God spoke to Francis Chan on that exact same verse (1 Corinthians 3:17) to give us a loving warning to the body of Christ against division.
Here is a recent statement Francis made in regards to people who divide and leave Church fellowship:
"There is this terrifying verse in 1 Timothy where Paul talked about two men who rejected the faith. Paul said that he had handed them over to Satan, by which he meant that he’d put them outside of the church (1:20). Basically, these men were actively opposing the works of God, so rather than pretending everything was fine, Paul removed them from the safety and blessings of the fellowship of believers. He was hoping that the misery of being separated from the church would lead them to repent. Are you catching the weight of this? Paul equated removal from the church with being handed over to Satan! It is crazy to me that we live in a time when people are voluntarily doing this to themselves! No church has placed them outside of the fellowship; instead, they’ve handed themselves over to Satan!"
What a sobering thought that those in our day in North America being critical of so much that is called Christian are doing to themselves what Paul the Apostle had to recommend Timothy to do to others as a last resort to have them repent of their pride and sins.
We are living in a day where we are judging others and not ourselves. We are finding it easy to be critical of everything but our own sins we ourselves struggle with.
Francis again shares on how God wants to send real unity to the body of Christ:
"Real love, unity and blessing were supposed to be found in the church. Many are having a hard time finding that, so they’re setting off on their own. Jesus said that the world would see the supernatural unity and love we share in the church and believe in Him through that. But we’re not experiencing it. We’ve given up on it. We no longer believe it is possible."
Perhaps we can start to change our minds and start looking towards others with seeing their good and not bad, speaking blessings over others and not curses. Remember we are fitted together in a temple of God with all saints of all ages. And Francis gives the example of someone taking a sledgehammer to this temple. What a fearful thing to do, of course we would depart from such an individual for fear of what God Himself would do to him. As the Scripture says, "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them" (Titus 3:10).
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. - James 4:10 Humility is the way to heaven. Christ was humble, the prophets of God were men of humility. The Apostles Jesus choose ended up being men of great humility. Saints in church history are considered those who reached a place of humility. Pride is everything that opposes Gods will and way. The demons are proud and love to come near those who are of a proud boastful spirit. Humility of heart drives satan from us. Humility is not just a sense of being but hundreds of daily choices we make. We can humble ourselves in a manifold amount of ways each day in our thought-life, actions we make, in relationships we are in. The Spirit of God is working with us daily to allow us to choose the right humble choices. Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos said rightly: "Humility is, not only to humble your own self, but also to forbear the humiliations which others impose on you." St. Chrysostom said: "For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart, will not be vainglorious, will not be wrathful, will not envy his neighbor, will not harbor any other passion." The Scriptures say to humble "yourselves." And to realize that when we do this we are doing it "before" the Lord not only men. God see's our hearts condition and honours humility. He longs and desires to "lift us up" and grant us His blessings safely as we maintain humility of heart. There are many steps to take towards humility, here is one practical step. Consider to pray out loud this "Litany of Humility" even daily if it becomes a help to you: O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of consulted, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus. That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
By Sharky and George
Learn from this and have pleasant feelings.
Sometimes I worry that I am proud but this is good as I realise it, address it and don't stumble, let me explain:
Remember this - I read this. My pride is mainly vanity which is the least of the types of pride. And this - Realising and addressing the problem of pride is the main step to becoming humble. Consider if you too - I am isolated but I still do well to try and be humble and listen to other people before I speak about myself lots. Are you like one of the celebrities on TV? No, it's not that bad but only say that if you are in despair about it AND DO squash your pride at every cost. Praise Jesus and magnify him instead e.g. if you have vain imaginations then imagine Jesus as a powerful and beautiful warrior.
Being humble feels pleasant as Jesus gives you grace when you do it.
IF you don't then you will feel like a turkey.