In his ‘Back to Basics’ sermon series currently on the radio, Charles Stanley focuses on the idea that God has given you an ability, or talent [a thing], with which to serve God. [Similarly, he says in another sermon: “He has given believers everything they need to become more like Him and to achieve all He has planned for them. Since the way we think is vitally important in this process, the Lord has given us the mind of Christ. Now we have the capacity to think as He does and to see situations from His perspective.”]
A listener to this sermon cannot but conclude that each Christian locks their eyes on themselves.
Your things, your ability, your capacity, your service, your self-discipline.
It’s essentially up to you and your hard work and the external things God gave you.
That is what everyone learns under law. Law is what man must do. You’re on your own with your external things.
What is grace? Grace is what God must do, because man cannot.
“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law [what you do], but by Jesus Christ’s faith [Who He is and what He does], even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by Christ’s faith, and not by the works of the law. For no one shall be justified by the works of the law.” Galatians 2:16
God’s boot camp, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, removed the special haircut you sported [buzz, zip!] and your unique belongings that shouted or whispered, “I’M SOMEBODY!” or “i’m nobody,” and put you into Christ and Christ into you.
Your old self was crucified with Him (Rom 6:6-7). Dead, nevermore to continue.
Your resulting new selves shaved heads in your sea of green uniforms were to bond as a team with God, a united force, the church.
“And He is the Head of the body, the church: Who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18
“For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; no, it is not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the Son of God’s faith, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Is there still work for you to do? Yes, but not legalistic rules that you must get done. There is work to do in which you participate with Him in relationship!
The difference is that you used to think you were just you with your things, abilities, and capacities. God was somewhere else outside of you. Now, you are no longer just you. You are in union with the Godhead in your spirit. You work with Him, your eye on the Commander and the team. He Is the Drill Instructor, the Author and Finisher of your faith. You find out from Christ what He wants you to say and do, just as He did from His Father!
“(19) Then Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing by Himself, but only what He sees the Father doing: for whatever things He does, the Son does also. (20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows the Son all things that He Himself is doing: and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” John 5:19-20
The parallel for us is through the Son: “If you keep My commandments, you shall remain in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and remain in His love.” John 15:10
You are no longer just you!
You are in this together in spirit with God Who places the preeminence on His Son. Jesus Christ is your example of how God and man work together!
Are you unique?
Absolutely, to His glory. He is crazy about you.
Meant to draw attention to yourself?
No, only to Him.
You have been given much more than an ability. You have been given much more than the capacity of the mind of Christ. You have Him! The only way you can have His mind is to have Him. He doesn’t detach His mind and give it to you, nor does He cookie-cut a mind for you! Don’t sell Him or yourself short of His full intent!
You have been given the indwelling Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in your spirit!
You depend on the triune God to know everything.
“But the anointing which you have received from Him remains in you, and you do not need that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall remain in Him.” 1 John 2:27
The job of anyone who ministers is to introduce others to God, that they may bond with the Godhead.
You have Christ, the fullness of God, not just an ability and capacity, and He shares Himself with you.
“For it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell in Him;” Colossians 1:19
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9