The divine – human partnership
For reading & meditation: Colossians 1:15-29
“To this end I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (v.29)
We spend another day focusing on the question: Does self-surrender mean that we become passive and acquiescent? At first sight, it seems to be so – we surrender to Another. Do we resign ourselves to whatever comes, letting this “Another” do everything for us? We talked a few days ago about John Dewey’s suggestion that “science” encourages control, while “religion” encourages acquiescence. Actually, when we surrender to Christ, we experience, not passivity, but a new type of control. Jesus said: “My Father is always at his work ‘ and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). In God’s universe, there is always work to do – creative work. But what sort of creative work? Listen to this: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. 8:28, AV). How can that be? We know that all things do not of themselves work together for good. The Revised Standard Version puts it like this: “In everything God works for good with those who love him.” Note the change – “with those who love him”. Not “to”, but “with”. Can you see the truth underlying this text? Given our consent and co-operation, God is able to retrieve some good out of everything that happens to us. Given our consent and co-operation – ah, there’s the rub. In order to achieve good out of bad, God requires us to work “with” Him – this is not acquiescence, but control. Look again at the text for today: “I labour, struggling” – the human; “with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” – the divine. What a picture – the human and the divine working together – in “control”.
My Father and my God, what can I say? I surrender to You, and the next thing I know is that I am taken into partnership with You. It just seems too good to be true – but too good not to be true. Thank You, Father. Amen.
For further study:
1. What was Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians?
2. What does this produce?