by Mike Ratliff
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV)
There are two extremes that Christians must avoid at all costs. The first is over confidence in one’s own ability, which is pride in its positive form. This causes believers to rely on their own abilities to do “good works.” The other extreme is to become paralyzed into inactivity because of pride working in its negative form. It tries to resemble humility by proclaiming things such as, “I’m not sanctified enough to do that sort of work.” Both are attitudes of pride and are in rebellion against God.
When we talk about our own ability to do good works then we are not relying on the Grace of God to work through us to do His will. All that is accomplished is empty works that are designed to be a sign to everyone about how spiritual we are. This is rampant in the 21st Century Church. As a result, we have neo-Evangelism with its golden calf of easy-believism evangelism at all cost, leaving the work of the Holy Spirit and the Bible completely out of the process. It is all man-made religion and it does not bring God glory.
When we talk about our own inability to do good works and follow that up with by doing nothing as a result, we are insulting our Creator God. When we say we are incompetent to do a certain work that is laid before us to do then we are proclaiming that God has overlooked us in our sanctification and gifting. This is slandering God.
When we say this sort of thing to men it may sound humble, but when we turn that around and speak it to God then we are actually telling Him that He is incapable of changing us and enabling us to do good works. This defiant attitude is a huge insult to our gracious God. I have been on the receiving end of attacks by Open Theists and Molinists in which they proclaimed these defiant attitudes in a philosophical way as if they are truth while claiming those of us who walk by faith and rely on God’s Word alone as our source of truth as being legalistic or philosophically dishonest.
So what is the right way to approach this? What should our attitude be toward God when we have an opportunity to serve Him? The correct way to do it may actually sound prideful to men, but to God it is the essence of a humble spirit and attitude before God that results in Him working through us to accomplish His will. We start by thanking God that He has saved, sanctified, and equipped us to do good works. Men may see that as pride, but it is humility in action. Genuine humility agrees with God about all things. That includes things about ourselves. Then we must abandon ourselves to God showing that we believe Him to be true. Those that do this must never hesitate and be concerned about what other people believe about it. In fact, many people may misinterpret our actions and words as pride, but what they are really seeing is a genuinely humble Christians fully relying on God as they obey Him in all things. Instead of being driven by what people think, these Christians are being lead by their Saviour, the Good Shepherd.
Instead of being all wrapped up in trying to please people, the genuinely humble believer is concerned only about their relationship with their Saviour. It is the only one that truly matters. When Christians do this they let everything else go as they cling to their Saviour at all costs. It is these believers that God uses as He fulfills His purpose through their lives.
God works through a remnant. There are innumerable professing Christians in the world, but the tares are rampant within that body. However, there is the wheat within. This remnant is of priceless value to God’s purposes. We must ask ourselves if we are part of this remnant who lives for God’s glory alone in all they do. If we are honest with ourselves and see that we have some holes in our walk then now is the time of repentance.
If God is calling you to humble service with your life then you must repent of your rebellion and defiance and move forward in humility with Him. If you do that then you will become that one of priceless value to His purposes as you walk before the face of God in genuine humility by His Grace and for His Glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!