I would like to focus on this, without Christ, we can do nothing.  In the first chapter of Haggai, the people were busy, busy, busy. Everything they were doing, they were all priorities.  But the Lord says, "I'm the one who's blowing away your crops."  Shouldn't that relax us?  We don't make it happen --Christ does.  How about winning people to Christ?  Do we do that?  There's no way we do that.  Unless you are born of the Spirit, you are dead in sin.  How about a person growing in Christ?  Who does it?  The Holy Spirit.  Doesn't that relax you?  God wants us, but He does the work.  We are nothing, and we can do nothing without Christ working through us.  God is begging us to know him and love Him.  

Let's take it one step further.  In Hebrews it says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God."  In the Old Testament, is there anything that happened apart from faith?  No way.  Turn to Exodus 17:8, and let's look at Joshua's battle against the Amalekites.  Now, we have a battle going on in our lives, don't we?  Here is Joshua fighting the Amalekites, and Moses goes to the top of the hill with two lieutenants.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning.  Whenever his hands lowered, the Amalakites were winning.  And God says, "Write this on the scroll as something to remember, and make sure Joshua hears about it."  God did it, not Joshua.  He does it, but he does it with us.  Turn to 1 Samuel 23. The Philistines are coming in to destroy David's people.  His response?  He inquired of the Lord.  His men are fearful, and he inquires of the Lord again.  If we are abiding in Christ and remaining in Christ  This is in David's heart and mind.  In 1 Chronicles 14, David has the priests carry the ark, and as they move up the hill, David is dancing with all his heart.  This is his first act as king.  Saul's daughter, Michal, despises David in her heart --because he is growing in the Lord.  

In life, we can accomplish nothing apart from Christ.  Let's look at Paul.  He had an assignment at Thessalonica .  He was there for three weeks.  Let's see how much he did, and how much the Lord did.  In fact, let's start at the beginning and take out all the verses that mention God, and let's see what Paul did.  That gets us down to verse seven --there's one.  But do you have any doubt who did the work here? "..you work is produced by faith."  What caused the labor?  "Prompted by love." "We always thank God" Paul knew that whatever he did, it was God.  "Joy" --it's given by the Holy Spirit.  Come on, Paul, take some credit.  But he doesn't! Doesn't this relax you a bit?  We let God just move through us.

Turn to Acts 1, verse 3.  "After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive."  How many would you need?  I'd be ready to go with just one.  At Pitt, right before a game, we'd be ready to tear out of that locker room to get to the field.  But for the apostles, Jesus slams the door -- "Wait for the gift my Father promised and you will receive power..."  They were convinced they had everything they needed to know, but they had no power!  They were like light bulbs without the electricity.  God says wait, wait.  You can't do anything without the Holy Spirit.  He wanted that, and he wants us.  Look at Chapter 2, verse 41.  When we judge one another, we are really judging God, because he is the only one that gets anything done through us.  What do we think makes us the best?  Talent, experience, education, personality, IQ?  Does the person with talent please God?  We don't know.  Okay, add Christ.  Does this person please God?  We still don't know.  "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

Jesus says in Matthew 5:41, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Go the second mile?  Impossible!  But Jesus said to do it.  Roman law says you have to go one mile.  Imagine what this would have been like for you back then if you were forced to go one mile with a Roman soldier.  During the first mile, I'm sure there would be no conversation, because you'd be so angry, you couldn't speak.  You're angry because you have to do it.  Do you tell him you're a Christian on the first mile?  No. No one talks, its expected.  Then you keep going.  Who stops now?  The Roman soldier stops and says, "Hey what are you doing?"  You say, "Come on, I'll take you another mile."  Now what do you think the two of you talk about the second mile?  I'll bet you talk about the Lord.  Now, which mile will be more fun?  Wouldn't it be the second? Which mile do you get to know the Lord better?  Any cluck goes the first mile.  But you don't take that second mile apart from Christ.  Are you going to do everything that only you can do?  Is it going to be limited to only what you can do, so that you don't fail?  Why should you fail, if you can do it? Why would you be taking the ark up to Jerusalem, why would you inquire of the Lord if you knew what to do in every circumstance?

For example, a Young Life summer assignment team that runs the camp for the hundreds of high school kids each month throughout the summer, is there a sense that God is going to do it?  We're not going to move one inch unless he does.  Look at this illustration of a circle with Christ in the middle.  The speaker, program, head leaders, summer staff, and work crew are in circles around it, with lines from them leading to Christ, so they are abiding in Christ.  That feels good, but even that's not it.  John 15 says, how do you abide in Christ? Obedience.  What is this?  If you love one another (the lines are connecting each other).. But there's a promise in there.  "If you ask, if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish..." How is this going to be applied?  I don't think we have any alternative, do we?  How would you know at the end of the month if we, in this example of the assignment team, lived this way?  Did we pray together?  Did we meditate on the Word together (remember Joshua 1:8)?  Are there going to be people out there praying for you like Moses did for Joshua?

Chuck Reinhold

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