Here is an anecdote with a thought provoking analogy: Queen Victoria was interviewing three men for the position of coachman. Each was asked what skills they believed they had to recommend them for the post. The first declared : “I have the ability to drive a coach safely to within 3 feet of a precipice”. The second declared, “I believe I have the skills to drive a coach safely to within one foot of the edge of a precipice”. The third applicant declared, “I do not possess the skills to drive as these two men have declared, but, in my case, I would keep away from the edge of any recognised danger”. The third man got the job!
Keep away from the edge! When a man takes the credit to himself for something God is doing, God is displeased and removes His grace resulting in man’s downfall. A study of history reveals the lives of many who have been mightily used of God but have fallen from grace into sin. When a man takes credit for the blessing and position God has elevated him to and strays into danger, he is driving too near the edge of the precipice! The source of God’s blessing is Himself and nothing to do with man. Pride comes before a fall! With great blessing comes great responsibility before the Lord. Holy ground! The little foxes (Solomon 2:15) allowed in and not dealt with will lead to falling off the precipice.
Jealousy in mankind is wrong. God’s jealousy is righteous and denotes something of His nature, also wanting to protect His creation, us! Exodus 34:14, Isaiah 42:8 declares “…..My glory I will not give to another”. Here the Lord is speaking of the credit due to Him. God uses men, but not men’s methods. When God blesses the gifts He gives us, or uses us in any way in His divine plan and purpose, it is to extend His kingdom here on earth and portray Jesus to mankind. It is no credit to us, it is all about Jesus. God’s glory/credit is always in safe hands with Jesus, because He always honoured His Father in recognition of giving Him the credit for the power that flowed through Him. Jesus, the miracle worker, declared, “I can of my own self do nothing.” John 5:30 “It is the Father in me. He does the works!”, John 14:10
Jesus is our Pattern Man, our example. If He recognised He could do nothing of Himself, why do we think that when God blesses us it is something to do with us! It is always about the power of the resurrected life of Jesus working through us, when God blesses. The glory is all God’s. When we begin to get puffed up and think it is anything to do with us, we are driving too near the edge…..of the precipice! Beware! God is righteously jealous for His glory. If we attempt to touch it, or take credit to ourselves, we will fall. Remember the account of Uzzah putting his hand out to steady the Ark of the Covenant, (2 Samuel 6: 1-7).
When God uses men to extend His kingdom, God requires the man to walk closely to Him in humility. Many on-lookers may call them “wonderful men” but there are no wonderful men, just mere men used as a vessel by a truly wonderful God. He is the magnificent One! To Him alone belongs all praise.
Philippians 2: 7-9 Jesus, the divine Son of God, “….made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant…”. We are to follow Jesus’ example in wanting no reputation for ourselves, but to promote God. Jesus had a himself that did not operate. He came to do His Father’s will. He only spoke the words His Father gave Him. He only did the things that pleased the Father. In declaring that “I can of mine own self do nothing”, He then did everything, mighty miracles through the power of “Another”, His Father, and Jesus gave Him all the glory/credit for the works.
The whole purpose of sending Jesus to earth was to redeem mankind and “bring many sons to glory”. I have a responsibility to make myself of no reputation, not to operate in my “himself” . A new dispensation requires us to leave the old ways and traditions as the new day dawns. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, Proverbs 9:10. Do I reverence the Lord and what He permits in my lot? My Father is sovereign in my life and not the devil. We surely need divine wisdom to traverse our journey. Humility is always key to staying close to the Lord, yet how often we rise up, react and miss the mark!
How do we navigate the unknown path? Don’t focus on the dangers, focus on the way. Joshua 3:4 “….for you have not passed this way before”. Here in Joshua chapters 3&4 God gives the children of Israel divine orders for the passage through Jordan. In God’s plan is a divine order, there is no room for my good ideas that will only birth “Ishmaels”. We need our Guide, the Holy Spirit, trusting in the Lord as He leads us one step at a time, seeking to promote Jesus that only He will be seen and no man……… God receiving all the glory and credit due to Him alone. As we walk in humility we can recognise the dangers and stay away from the edge!