Letting God Be God

“Thanks God . . . We’ll Take It From Here ”

Are you doing your ministry the best you can? Are you doing your ministry the way you think will best accomplish God’s work?

Big mistake.

Jesus should be the one doing your ministry. Nothing in our lives brings glory to God or accomplishes His purposes OTHER than what Jesus Himself does as we let Him live His life in us and through us. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5); “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19).

BACKGROUND: Read the Gospel of John 11:45-12:6

Jesus raised Lazarus at Bethany.  How surprising that some who saw it ratted him out to the Pharisees–and that the Pharisees upon hearing it overlooked the fact that even though Jesus was a political threat, He obviously came from God.  Nobody should be able to witness a resurrection without being worshipful (Jn. 15:24).  This is why Jesus said to believe on account of His works. 

The Pharisees did not trust God in spite of the undeniable testament that these works were from Him.  They feared if they let God be God, they would lose their “place” (Jn. 11:48), their material well‑being, and their positions of prestige.  They were more interested in their own system than in the mighty works of God.

They imagined themselves concerned about the things of God.  They wanted to protect and preserve the Jewish nation.  They were its guardians.

Really?  God had done that Himself for thousands of years, in spite of opposition much worse than the Romans!  They called the Jewish people “our” nation, forgetting God had called the Jews “My” people and promised to preserve His people forever and that He is faithful to His Word.  How foolish to trust your own system more than the promises of God! 

Ironically, while they did not trust God, they did not trust their own system either, being so threatened that Jesus would destroy it.  It is ironic we make service to God first in our lives but then devise our own ways to serve Him that take precedence over His Lordship.  We won’t let God be in charge of His own holy work.  We not only touch the ark, we wrest it from God’s hands only to destroy it.

Meanwhile, Judas was stealing from the ministry.  We see ministers today who, as Paul said, consider godliness a source of gain.  Mary did what God delights in, she gave her all to Jesus, poured her heart out to Him and ministered to Him.  And Judas, a supposed member of the ministry, spoke evil of that sort of thing, saying she had “wasted” the perfume she poured on His feet.  He opposed the things of the heart, which flowed out of a deeply personal connection with Jesus. 

Whenever ministers oppose the things of the heart, there is certain to be a secret sin behind it, in Judas’ case feathering his own nest from the offerings of God’s people.  Materialism, pride, or sex often deteriorate the spiritual quality of many ministers, whether it comes to man’s attention or not.

Ministers who quench the Holy Spirit drive me nuts.  But even though Jesus knew this was happening with Judas, He seemingly did nothing, resulting in even worse behavior from the carnal minister-betrayer.  Jesus allowed that too.  But even so, He was in control!  “No man takes my life,” He said.  “I lay it down of myself.”  And, like He did with Lazarus, he took Life back, the lowest defeat being overcome in glorious fashion (Jn. 10:17).  What a lesson in trust!  What a Person in Whom to place our trust!

So here was Jesus sandwiched in between the hostility of those outside and the treachery of those inside.  And he did not worry because, unlike both parties on each side of Him, He trusted in God.  And He trusted completely.  (The only true trust is complete trust.)  He trusted His ministry to God and He let God be God, even to the cost of his life.   Even those at the foot of the cross recognized this: “He trusted in God, now let God deliver him.”  And so He did!

It is not about us trying to control God’s work.  What we need to take control of is our hearts.   

“Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it flow the issues of life.” 

(Prov. 4:23)

Flee the temptation to rely on yourself to minister the Grace of God.  It is so easy to get caught up in our own programs and not realize God is not running things any more, we are doing stuff ourselves asking God to bless our stuff.  “Guard your heart above all else.”  If we lose sight of Trust, the heart of our ministry collapses into self-reliance and a controlling spirit. The hardest things to trust to Him with are the things we are naturally good at:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Prov. 3:5-6

God can take control of His own work.  The only thing He cannot take control of is our hearts.  Only we can surrender them.  And so we must, day by day. In everything we do for the Lord, we should keep our ears open to Him and let Him take control, let Him direct us, trusting that He knows what He is doing and His way will achieve the best results for His Kingdom.

“Guard your heart, for out of it flow the issues of life.”  What issue in life is more important than the choice of who is in control over our lives?   If the ministers of Christ don’t flagrantly trust in God, how can we cause those whom we say we are feeding to be trusters?  And if we are not all trusters, how can God work among us?  If we do not let God be God in our lives and in our ministries, how can He work among us?  He can’t.

When I die, I want people to say: “Haskins was an example of trusting God.” 

(Prov. 4:23; Jn. 11:45 – 12:6; I Tim. 4:10;  II Tim 4:18)

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