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By My Spirit

By David A. DePra

Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

 

There is a fundamental principle running all through the Word of God to the effect that God has a will to execute in this age, and that only He, by His Spirit, can execute it. "Not by might, nor by power Ė meaning of MANíS might and power Ė but by MY SPIRIT," says the Lord. Only by Godís hand can the will of God be done.

 

The parallel negative principle is that man Ė especially religious man Ė is going to try to bring to pass Godís will FOR HIM. There are many people who openly oppose Godís will. But the more common sin among Godís people is that we donít openly oppose Godís will, but try to do it FOR God Ė by our might and power.

 

Now, I would suggest that trying to do Godís will FOR HIM is not as bad as consciously opposing God altogether. Sure. But having said that, it is still a fact that when we try to do Godís will FOR HIM, we are really trying to do OUR WILL. You bet. Thatís why we are trying to do it for God. You will never meet someone who is trying to do God will for Him that does not want the thing they are trying to do. Of course they want it. Thatís what they are doing it.

 

Now, we need to see this: You are going to try to do for yourself what only God can do. You are. Not maybe. You are. It is, of course, helpful to know this, and a good thing that you donít want to try to do for God. Thatís a start. Itís an awakening. But in that case hand yourself over to God. Only He can set you free. Otherwise, however, doing for God is what natural religious man does. Period.

 

We see the natural trying to do the spiritual FOR GOD when Adam tried to cover himself with fig leaves. We see it when Abraham tried to help things along by birthing Ishmael. We see it when Jacob stole the birthright and blessing. Moses tried to do things in his own strength when he killed the Egyptian. Later, we see it when David put the Ark of the Covenant on a cart. Helping out God again. In the gospels, the disciples of Jesus continually tried to get Him to bring the kingdom THEN. Indeed, Satan himself was behind these suggestions. The temptations in the wilderness, as well as all through the life of Jesus, were geared to getting Him to by-pass the Cross, and bring to pass Godís will another way Ė through the natural. Make no question, this is a BIG ISSUE. And as I said, IT IS SIN.

 

The only solution for this is the work of the Cross. Why? Because if natural man wants to do for God, then how can natural man set himself free of wanting to do for God? He is, in that case, doing for God! This would be like trying to crucify yourself. Notice: No matter how sincere you are, you always need one hand free to pound the nails. You can never complete the job. Only God can crucify. Only He knows what makes us tick.

 

Whatís The Difference?

 

Here is where we get mixed up. One the one hand we know that God works through people. By definition, this mandates that we do things. We donít just sit there and watch God do it. But on the other hand, God says that only HE can do what needs to be done. How can we fit into this, and BE USED of God, if God must do it? What is the balance here, and how does it work practically?

 

There is only ONE way. God has to first do a work in US Ė by the Cross Ė to bring us to a complete end of our interests, strength, and confidence in the flesh. Then He can trust us enough to work through us.

 

The big issue here is OWNERSHIP. We like to take possession of the things of God. Even if we, in the beginning, allow God to work, later we often take possession of what God has done and make it our own. This is not so much a matter of things we do, as it is a spirit under which we operate, which then translates into things we do. God cannot do much through us unless we are completely DETACHED from our own interests in it, and unless we intend to live in the reality that it belongs to HIM, and not us.

 

Of course, none of this means we are passive. But it means that we are uncompromising with the holiness of God. We obey God and leave the consequences of our obedience in His hands. The reality is, no one can walk with God in such a way regarding the things of God, unless they are allowing God to deal with them personally.

 

The reason we see so much confusion, error, and trouble, in our churches today is because the individuals in the church today are not devoted to Jesus Christ. Thus, the real nature of our relationship with Christ when we are not in church is what we bring. IT WILL ALWAYS IMPACT THERE. We are not one person out of church, and another in the church. We are what we are, even if no one but God sees it.

 

Devotion to Jesus Christ isnít just a button I wear. It is a life and death devotion which impacts every part of my life. To the degree that I am unconditionally devoted to Jesus Christ, I will be devoted to His interests, and be able to be used of Him as a steward of those interests.

 

Victory Through Surrender

 

One of the greatest ironies of the Christian life is that while God is busy trying to get us to surrender so He can bless us, we are busy trying to get Him to bless us Ė without the surrender. This happens not only in the corporate body, but in the lives of individuals. God wants to bless you. But He canít until you stop trying to force the blessing, drag it out of Him, earn it, merit it, or argue it out of Him. He canít.

 

Why? Because as long as we are doing those things, we cannot be trusted with the blessing. What do I mean? Well, I mean that as long as we are struggling it is precisely because we have something we havenít surrendered. Doesnít conflict MEAN that? Sure. Where there is conflict there has not yet come surrender. We still have a personal will to push in the matter. This doesnít mean we have a devious plot to abort Godís purpose, or even realize most of what we are doing. No. It just means that the our natural man cannot receive the things of God, but is trying to receive them and control them. Thus, the work of the Cross must continue to set us free from that control so that we can be blessed.

 

Surrender is REAL when I have stopped trying to give God reasons to bless me. It is REAL when I no longer have anything to offer Him in return for His grace Ė not even my faith. If I am still hanging my hat on something that I think obligates God to bless me, I have yet to surrender. My faith is still in my faith, in my works, in myself Ė in the thing Iím hanging my hat upon. No. I have to get to the point where I realize that all the promises of God find their YES in Him, and that salvation belongs only to the Lord.

 

God is saying to us, "I cannot give you what I want to give you until you stop trying to force Me to give you what you want me to give you." Get that? The hindrance is that we are trying to get God to do Ė out of fear, demand, or self-will. THAT is a spiritual condition which is of the flesh and God cannot bless us in that. If He did, it would cement us in that condition and destroy us. Rather, God must crucify the whole thing. Then He can bless us.

 

All of the promises of God find their YES Ė their certainty and truth Ė in HIM. They donít become true once WE do this or that, or make some grade with God. No. God is waiting for us to conclude that the only reason there is for Him blessing us is Himself, and His love. Then we are getting somewhere.

 

When we finally see we havenít ONE reason to offer God as to why He ought to bless us, or help us, or be faithful to us, THEN God is free to bless us. But notice why: Not because of anything about us Ė no, for that is exactly what we DONíT HAVE. He is free to bless us, not because of us, but because of HIMSELF.

 

This isnít merely a teaching. No. Everyone knows and agrees that everything depends upon God. Rather, this is a matter of seeing the TRUTH the teaching describes. When you finally see this Truth, it will change your life. Then you will say about God, as did Job, "I spoke of things too wonderful for me. I heard of you through teaching, but now I see You."

 

God can do things BY HIS SPIRIT only if our might and power are put out of the way. The power of the Holy Spirit flows freely where people are weak in themselves. Being weak in oneself is not a matter of physical health or emotional stability. It is a condition wherein we realize that outside of Christ there is no Truth in us, no power to execute anything eternal, and a complete reliance upon God Himself. If we have come to this place, then we will stop trying to do for God because we have seen God Himself.

 

Isnít it amazing how the Word of God proves to be MORE true than we could have imagined, instead of less true? God said, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts." Now we see that He really meant exactly that, in ways we could not have grasp.

 

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