partnering with God

Treasure in jars of clay - As Christians, God saves us, makes us His kids, and lives His life in us and through us! Our body is His temple (1 Cor 6:19). In 2 Corinthians 4:7, we learn that “we have this Treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” He is the Treasure; we are the jar of clay.  He is God almighty, we are dirt clods … but as we partner with Him we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13). In Galatians 4:6, God teaches us through Paul that “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" In Romans 8: 9, 10 we are told that we “are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit  is life because of righteousness.” So, it is Jesus Himself who lives in us and lives His life through us! "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

He is the software, we are the hardware,  – One way to help us understand the relationship between the Treasure (Christ in us) and the jar of clay (us) is through the analogy of a computer. Let’s picture ourselves as a computer. We are the hardware and we come with an operating system. As we grow up we learn to operate a certain way and along the way we download certain programs that help us do the things we do. Some of these programs are really great and some are not good at all. We go through our lives 'double-clicking' certain programs and we get in the habit of using the same programs with which we're comfortable. At some point, we download the ultimate app! It is the greatest program ever written but we don’t know how to use it. So, we need to read the manual and also just need to start using the program to learn through experience. During the learning curve we tend to go back to clicking on the programs we’re used to using, the ones we know how to use well. It is real easy to fall into our old pattern and be lazy about accessing the ultimate app but the goal is to gradually change over to using it. Now picture Christ in us as the ultimate app. When we are saved we are given His Holy Spirit as a deposit. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13, 14) At that point, the fullness of God is in us. However, we don’t know Him yet: we haven’t read the manual (the bible) and we don’t access Him because we don’t know how He works. We must choose to get to know Him by reading His Word, in which He reveals who He is to us, and we must choose to ‘double-click ‘ Him - to walk with Him; to walk in His ways, instead of our old ways. If we don't, it's like having that amazing software but never using it because we don't know how it works. But, if we do choose to follow Him, He's faithful to  make us more and more like Himself so that we get to know Him and can learn to walk with Him and operate the way He operates. God is a perfect gentleman and never forces us to partner with Him but He’s always there and ready. When we're ready, we can surrender ourselves to His Lordship and give Him full control. In other words, we can be filled with His Holy Spirit and can walk with Him in the Spirit allowing Him to live His life through us, as us!

Trust God, not ourselves - The best part of this partnership with God is that we are allied with the Creator of the universe and we can trust Him to guide us through this journey! God promises that to us in His word. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5, 6);  "A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps." (Proverbs 16:9); "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

Keep it simple: love God, love others - This partnership with God is simply profound! Our best bet is to keep it simple by simply following His greatest command to love Him and others. In Luke 10:25-28, we are told about a conversation Jesus had with a lawyer,  "And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" So he answered and said, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' "And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." If we love God, and surrender our lives to Him, He will love others through us!