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Responding to God
- Jacob Ninan
God takes the initiative with us, and we need to respond. Since He will not force Himself on us, we will miss what He wants to do for us if we sit passively waiting for it. When we recognise His grace and mercy towards us, we respond by receving Him as our Saviour and Lord. It is then that we receive the blessing of becoming His children (Jn.1:12). When we experience His overflowing love towards us we respond by loving Him and seeking to serve Him (1Jn.4:19). It is then that we begin to enjoy the blessing of His fellowship (Jn.14:23).
The taste of His kindness leads us to repentance (Ro.2:4). Sometimes, like the prodigal son, it is the bitter fruits of our folly that cause us to repent (Je.4:18). For some the fear of God's coming wrath makes them repent, and that is why God has given many warnings in His word. But when we repent, that leads us to our salvation (2Cor.7:10). What happens if we experience such touches from God but do not repent or believe?
God manifests Himself in marvellous ways through His creation. Scientists who recognise His brilliance behind the design fall down and worship Him. God demonstrated His immeasurable love towards us, even though we were sinners, by sending His Son Jesus to die in our place, taking our punishment upon Himself (Ro.5:8). When we hear about Jesus--His life, the fulfilment of prophecies, His impeccable character, the love that reached out to miserable sinners, miracles, death and resurrection--we place our trust in Him and believe His words. That faith causes us to experience His grace--unmerited favour and acceptance (Ep.2:8).
Many people perish, even in Christian families, because they are waiting for God to do things for them while they take no steps towards God which they are capable of taking. Even many believers want God to bless them and cause them to bear fruit without actively seeking after God, waiting on Him, learning from His word, seeking help from others, etc. Then they complain against God, saying that He is not doing this or that for them. That's not true, because God is all the time waiting to be gracious towards us, and we are the ones who go on our own without seeking Him (Is.30:15-18).
God is working inside us giving us understanding, desire and ability to do His will (Php.2:13). He is also working outside of us arranging things for our welfare (Je.29:11). But we have to respond by working out what He is working in us (Php.2:12).
Satan deceives many people into thinking that they must avoid 'works' at all costs if they have to be under grace! Certainly no work of ours can earn salvation or any other blessing from God. But certainly God cannot bless us if we don't respond to Him when He offers us His blessings! Our response may take different forms, such as trusting and obeying Him, repenting and turning away from folly or sin, seeking Him more earnestly, consecrating ourselves entirely to Him, etc. 'Faith' without such works can only be dead (Jas.2:26).