Monday, July 13
Apostles' Creed Focus
“He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.”
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” - John 14:1
I can still remember the first time I drove a car through town. The trip was actually quite simple, a leisurely cruise of a mile down the road to the grocery store and back. What terrified me was the fact that I didn’t know this was happening until the keys were tossed into my hands. I asked my father why I was now holding his keychain to which he replied, “You’re driving us to the grocery store. You have to learn somehow!” As petrified as I was that I would flatten someone’s mailbox or cause a multiple car pile-up, everything turned out just fine.
What I didn’t take into account was all of the times my father had let me drive around in parking lots. I weaved in and out of cones, stopped and started more frequently than necessary, and began to understand all that safely driving a car entailed. He had given me every tool in order to succeed and he never got out of the car while I was driving. We look at God in a very similar way. We wait for God to drive us where we need us to go, to drop us off at the next necessary destination, or to take us to the place of greatest success. Yet, God very clearly empowers us to be a part of his gospel message throughout the world. He gives us the tools to co-labor with him. Reassuringly, the Holy Spirit never chooses to leave us as we continue to live out the ups and downs of the Christian life. We are fully equipped to do the ministry Jesus has set out before us.
This point comes across very clearly in John 14. Whoever believes in Jesus and follows him faithful will end up doing great works for the kingdom! What’s important to note however, is that Jesus isn’t saying he is empowering us to do the exact same things he has done, rather, he provides a way for us to do more things for the kingdom of God than he himself did during his 3 years of ministry on earth. This is not a case of the quality of works, it’s a case of the quantity of works. In those works lies Christ’s encouragement for us that in him, we are able to accomplish the tasks he sets before us.
So where does this leave you today? How has God empowered and equipped you to do what you are currently doing? How can you trust God more to enable you to faithfully walk through life where he leads? As you think on these questions today, be encouraged that God has not left us to live out the Christian life alone. He has empowered us to live a life full of fruitful labor!
Thank you God that you don’t leave me when the going gets tough. Not only that, but you empower me to live out the gospel to its fullest extent. Help me to rely on you when I feel like I can’t faithfully walk in the ways you have set out for me to live. Remind me of your presence and the tools you have given me to minister to others on a daily basis. Amen.
Verses for Further Reflection
2 Corinthians 12:9, Acts 1:8, Deuteronomy 31:6
Have you ever had a parent or teacher say, “I am going to be down the hall taking care of something. While I am away I want you to clean your room or complete your homework?” Some of us get to work right away and follow the instructions that we have been given. Others put off the instructions and do what we want to do and think we have plenty of time until the person will be back to check on our work. When the parent or teacher returns, which person do you think is not going to be embarrassed? Which one will be found disobedient?
It’s always best to obey the instructions we have been given immediately. We should not put off what we know we are supposed to be doing. In the case of parents and teachers, there will probably be consequences if you don’t obey the instructions.
Jesus had given His disciples clear instructions before He left them to go back to Heaven. They had work to do and it was important that they obeyed Jesus’ instructions so when He came back they would not be embarrassed or ashamed that He found them not doing what He told them to do.
You can find out what the disciples did after Jesus returned to heaven in the Book of Acts. The same instructions Jesus gave to His disciples before He returned to heaven are for His followers today. If you and I are believers we need to be sharing with others the Good News about Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit living in us giving us the power to do God’s Work until He returns.