“God’s sovereignty: without God, we cannot; without man, He will not.”
The Lord will not plant a field of wheat. If the farmer wants a harvest of wheat, he will have to plant the field. Then he must take care of his field: ensure that it has adequate water, fertilizer, and protection from weeds, disease, and insects. But the farmer cannot cause the growth – only God can do that.
We are much the same in our spiritual lives.
I’ve been pondering this issue of God’s role versus mine in various aspects of the Christian walk. I am to have faith, but we’re told that He gives faith (Mark 11:22, Romans 12:3). I am to repent, but that repentance is His gift (Matt 4:17, Acts 5:31). I am to have a pure heart, but know that I cannot do it through my own efforts (James 4:8, 1 John 1:9). It seems to me that all of this requires a partnership between me and God, and the nature of that partnership is that I must decide to obey, seek, be pure, believe, etc., and that He then gives the strength and ability to make it possible. I cannot do it on my own, but if my heart is right, He will make the provision.
The decision is mine, the provision is from Him.
And of course, this principle applies to far more than our inner lives. All effective service and ministry must be done in partnership with Him. Jesus did nothing on His own initiative (John 15:19), and neither can we. The entire Biblical record is the story of God working in and through people: He did great miracles, but He never did them except through the hands and words of men and women. All He needs is for me and you to choose to be obedient to His call, and we can become His tool for ministry. Rather than tell God in prayer what needs to be done, I must show up each day and ask for my orders for the day. What is He doing, and how can I be part of it?
It is not for me or about me, and yet God, in His profound humility, has chosen to give each of us a significant role in His work on earth.
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chron 16:9) And, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God, whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.” 1Peter 4:11
Heads of wheat at harvest time.