Are you watching the winter Olympics? Our daughters check the television each night to see which events are on, so we usually get caught up in the competition for a little while.
I happened across this funny tweet from @HarlanCoben (whom I know nothing about beyond this tweet) a few nights ago.
Me: I’ve never watched luge. I know nothing about it.
Me 20 minutes later: Turns 9 through 12 are really the key to victory. He’s taking them too high. Why doesn’t he listen to me??
Sporting events often bring out the “armchair quarterback” in all of us! We’ll talk to the television, and “helpfully” instruct these highly trained athletes who’ve worked for years to get to this level. I mean, it’s like we know how they should go into that jump so that their triple salchow isn’t underrotated!
These Olympians have put incredible amounts of practice time and effort into preparing for the Olympic games. It’s been their “work” for many years. And while most of us won’t ever perform on that stage, there is something more important that we are called to do.
It won’t put us on a gold medal platform, or land us any lucrative endorsements. But God has a work for each one of us. And it will take a lifetime for that work in and through us to be refined.
Let’s look at Hebrews 13:20-21.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus…Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The best part about the work God has for us to do is that He will do it in us. According to the Geneva Study Bible, the word “perfect” in this verse actually means fit or suitable. In other words, God is the one who makes us suitable for His work. He equips us with what we need for the job ahead of us.
I like what Barnes said in his commentary about the above verse. “Paul prayed that God would fully endow them with whatever grace was necessary to do his will and to keep his commandments…” Whether it’s my marriage, my parenting, my career, or my ministry, I can’t make myself fit for it. Only through Jesus and His Holy Spirit continually working in us can we live “wellpleasing in His sight.”
The work of the Holy Spirit is gradual and progressive. Maybe you think, “God’s not doing much with me now. I do the same thing every day (whether that’s go to work or do laundry or drive carpool).” Yet even when we don’t feel like His Spirit is working, when we’re not seeing how He’s growing us, we can know He’s faithful to be dong it. He’s equipping us for what’s to come.
It reminds me of Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Because God does the work, I can’t take credit for it. All glory goes to Him. When I’m a more patient wife or mom…when I’m bold enough to talk to my neighbor about my faith…when I find that last little bit of endurance I need in a difficult situation… it’s God who deserves the glory and praise.
God is the ultimate orchestrator of all that has to do with us. He will give us everything we need to live for Him, and will energize us to do the work to which He calls us.