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Not What but How – Gospel for Asia

September 8th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Romans 14:23 (NIV) reminds us, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” When we depend upon ourselves, we cancel out any reason to have faith and depend on God. So then, whatever is done in our own strength, rather than in dependence upon God, is sin. And Scripture testifies that we can bear good fruit only when we, as the branch, remain dependent upon the life from the Vine. In John 15:4–5 (NIV), Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

When we stop depending upon the Lord, our lives stop producing good fruit. This is exactly what happened to King Uzziah. Becoming king when he was only 16 years old, King Uzziah ruled in humility and depended on God to guide him and give him wisdom to rule. Second Chronicles 26:4–5 (NIV) says, “[Uzziah] did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. . . As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.” King Uzziah was successful because he depended upon the Lord. But sadly, as he became a more “competent” king, growing older and having some experience to fall back on, he no longer trusted or obeyed God. Instead, he did things his own way. Scripture says of him, “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God. . .” (2 Chronicles 26:16, NIV). His life ended in terrible tragedy; he became a leper.

The same downfall also happened to King Saul. He started out little in his own eyes, trusting the Lord in the beginning of his reign. But soon things changed. He became prideful, self-willed and strong in his own strength, seeing himself as important and competent. He stopped depending upon the Lord, and it cost him his throne and his life.

In the end, we must remember that the most important thing is not what was accomplished, but how it was accomplished. Were things done relying upon you—your strength and your provision—or were things accomplished by relying upon God? Jeremiah 17:5–6 says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.”

The Lord sets the choice before us to depend upon ourselves or to depend upon Him. The rest of Jeremiah 17 tells us the outcome of the man who, indeed, does rely upon the Lord: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7–8). Let us be those people who choose the way of blessing by honoring the Lord with hearts dependent upon Him.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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