Title: Judges 7. Gideon, part 22: Removing the careless. Spirituality and alertness in God's work.
As the book of Judges challenges us in the area of application of truth and performing the work of God that He has willed for us to perform, we pause so as to give the proper caution that must be exercised when a Christian sets out to perform any work. Many Christians have set themselves to the task of work in ignorance and in the wrong power and wrong motivation.
Gideon is given a humanly impossible task to perform. He cannot do it by means of his own strength or intellect. 20,000 of his men were sent home because they were afraid and another 9,700 because they were careless.
Fear shows a lack of trust in the Lord. However, if the 20,000 were unafraid because they trusted in their own might, they would still have not been allowed to fight. Careless shows a lack of understanding and immaturity. However, if they did care to maintain their alertness due to some other reason than love of Jehovah's purpose for Israel then they still would not have been allowed to fight. We are not to grasp at any power available, or any desire that may motivated us, or any idea or way that we might think has the best chance to work. We are to firmly grasp God's will in faith, and only His will.
The problem of improper and wrongly motivated work by Christians is one of ignorance and a lack of true spirituality through daily fellowship with Christ and the Holy Spirit.
The Christian is to be about the work that is ordained by God's will. He is to follow the commandments. "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments." He is to think and conduct himself in righteousness since he is righteous as a new creature in Christ. And in his own life there is a particular will of God that applies to him alone. These are the works that he alone has been commanded to walk in. It is God's will that I pastor Grace and Truth Ministries, which is something that scared the heck out of me not very long ago, and that is a calling specific to me. Each believer has such callings which all together fulfill the list of a variety of gifts, a variety of ministries, and a variety of effects.
1CO 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1CO 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
1CO 12:6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
1CO 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
By his deeds the Christian is a witness of Christ to the world.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
It is not any work or any deed that we may think will open the eyes of others to see. These works have been foreordained for us to walk in them. We are the light of the world. We are to simply perform God's will and some men will see our good works and glorify God by believing in Him as Savior Jesus Christ.
1PE 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.
1PE 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles [ethnos: the multitude or heathen], so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1PE 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
1PE 2:14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
1PE 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
1PE 2:16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
1PE 2:17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
The Christian is not to set himself in the work of any "good cause," but solely the will of God for his life, which will God will supernaturally reveal to him. If the Spirit can bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God then He can also bear witness of the specifics of God's will for each of us individually. And so we must be able to discern God's will in humility and we must only do that which God has empowered him to do.
In the plan of God, the end never justifies the means. We can do nothing apart from Christ. Whether alone, with support, in great adversity and suffering, in prosperity, in mundane details we seek and do what God has called us to do. Independence from God is completely adverse to the child of God in union with Christ.
God can easily, and will certainly, provide for the carrying on of His own work.
We are called to perform good works, in fact it is for these deeds that we are evaluated before Christ. They are the gold, silver, and precious jewels of our lives. However, we cannot know what to do or how to do it if we are not first and foremost spiritual through study and maturity and personal communion with the Lord of glory. His glory must first be revealed through the Holy Spirit within us and this is the person of the heart coming to know, love, and personally and privately worship the Lord.
Spirituality is not zeal and sincerity when these are misdirected.
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
So often, such zeal seeks to attain spiritual ends by only outward means. Paul admonished his readers to understand that the weapons of our warfare were not of the flesh. They are not carnal weapons, but spiritual weapons.
Attempts to excite the senses by gorgeous ceremonial and other stimulants to the religious imagination, whether it be ascetic calls to self-denial or licentious calls to constant materialism, are only an attempt to produce a spiritual result by purely outward means.
Spirituality is not overt, but in the soul. It is a transaction between God and the human heart. Only such a heart will see God's will for works.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.