Cooperation with God

We have been on a journey in Galatians 5 looking at, digging into, seeking to know more about the Fruit of the Spirit.  Paul gives us a strong call to “Live by the Spirit!”  He isn’t making a take-it-or-leave-it suggestion, but he is challenging us that this is the best way the only way for a follower of Christ to live.  While most of us want to be better, to do better, Paul is telling us that the decisions that we make are our choices; that the power to live by the Spirit is not dependent upon us, but the choice to live by the Spirit is ours to make.  Or we can choose otherwise.  A few weeks ago I referenced a book by Philip Yancy, Prayer – Does It Make any Difference? and I would like to do so again in light of this journey into Galatians 5.In chapter 8 of this book, entitled Partnership, Yancy makes the following observation.
“Prayer is cooperation with God, a consent that opens the way for grace to work.  Most of the time the Counselor communicates subtly:  feeding ideas into my mind, bringing to awareness a caustic comment I just made, inspiring me to choose better than I would have done otherwise, shedding light on the hidden dangers of temptation, sensitizing me to another’s needs.  God’s Spirit whispers rather than shouts, and brings peace not turmoil.  Although such a partnership with God may lack the drama of the bargaining sessions with Abraham and Moses, the advance in intimacy is striking.  Listen to the apostle Paul as he tries to explain matters:  ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.’  I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.’  ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’  ‘For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’  
Yancy continues, “The partnership binds so tight that it becomes hard to distinguish who is doing what, God or the human partner, God has come that close.”  (p. 103, Prayer – Does It Make any Difference? by Philip Yancy)
“God has come that close.”  That statement is powerful in the life of the follower of Jesus Christ.  That is, I believe, what the result of the Fruit of the Spirit is; we have so aligned ourselves with the Spirit of God that He is speaking to us, working in and through us and it is seamless.  It does not make us perfect in the sense of human perfection, but it purifies our intentions and it calls us to a level of intimacy with God that is moment-by-moment and we become Christ to the world around us; the hands and the feet and the voice and the actions and everything else because we are so controlled by His Spirit that we become one.  “God has come that close.”
I challenge you to live like that – “So I say, live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16).

One Response to “Cooperation with God”

  1. Dorrie Tyler says:

    Dear Pastor Rick,
    Consider me challenged. I use to think that I was an “ok” Christian. But I have discovered that I am not even close. It is challenging, but oh so rewarding when God will say “thou good and faithful servant”
    At least I hope to hear those words someday! Thank you again for your inspiring message. God bless you!!

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