12/08/16 How I Do Things
“Why are you so concerned over the circumstances in which you find yourself? When did you forget all that I have taught you so far? Don’t you remember how I do things? When you ask Me for things, I give you more of Myself. That is the best gift that I can think of. When you ask Me for help, I give you My power to overcome. You may not be delivered from your trial, but you will overcome. There is nothing that can withstand My everyday force against the foes of My children.
"Don’t you remember that We are in this covenant relationship together? We share what the other is. In your weakness, I am strong. Become weak in Me; I will remain strong for you and through you.”
Phil. 2:12b-13 AMP
12b) … work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).
13) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
II Cor 12:9-10 NIV
9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10) That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
In my teens and early twenties, I used to work on cars quite a bit. I would buy “junkers” and fix them up to sell them, hopefully making some kind of a profit.
One of the tools that I used to use was affectionately known as a “knuckle buster.” It was an adjustable wrench that would efficiently remove a nut that was fairly loose and not frozen in place by rust.
As I was about to use the wrench for the first time, my dad warned me to use it only in the previously mentioned circumstances or the wrench would round off the nut, slip, and cause my knuckles to hit the closest object with whatever force I happened to be applying to the wrench at the time. I don’t remember my reaction to his words - it was probably some “know it all” kind of teen grunt - but I do remember my reaction the first time I misused the wrench while trying to save time. (In fact, tears almost come to my eyes now as I recall the countless times I had the privilege of experiencing that pain. It was not fun!)
We laugh, but most of us play out some version of that story each day in our relationship with God. It’s almost like we read some of the directions for doing things God’s way a long time ago, and decided just after reading them that we understand completely and can do things just fine on our own now, thank you very much!!
In my day, bandages on our hands or skinned knuckles were some kind of “badge of courage” with my buddies and me. We almost paraded our ignorance with a “Yep! I’ve been workin’ on my machine again” kind of bravado.
How foolish it is to regard the teachings of our Lord in the same way. He has told us that if we trust Him completely our “skinned knuckles” will be at a minimum in this life. Since the bandages we need are mostly spiritual, few people see our wounds. They are very real, however, and most of them could be avoided if we would only follow our Father’s directions.