Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Working in partnership

So this piece is not a part of GOD’s STORY per se, but about our relationship with Him and the depth and breadth of His abiding with us that is possible.

We are meant to be partners with GOD. God working in partnership with us is His heart and it is the means to transforming society, bringing mankind back to Him.

How to partnership with Yehovah GOD

Writing from GOD’s perspective as I have been attempting to do for the past several weeks, I can’t possibly assume I know what He’s thinking or wanting to share; and yet, He reveals things to us through His Word and through His Spirit that complement one another and encourage us. GOD lives and breathes in and through us to the degree we allow, through our obedience, surrender, engagement and worship. We are saved individually, but also for the purpose of bringing others to Him. He is a good GOD, the righteous and generous father of mankind, giving good gifts to His children and desiring that none should perish.

“GO and make disciples of all nations…” said Jesus in Matthew 28.

A leaf from GOD’s STORY

So, this piece is not a part of GOD’s STORY per se, but about our relationship with Him and the depth and breadth He can draw us to Him.

Why did GOD create mankind? 

GOD created mankind for relationship — with Him, as well as with one another. 

Reading Genesis 1, He reveals Himself as 3 persons with 3 identities, aspects, personalities in the One Person of GOD. He is 1. Creator who creates. 2. The Word who speaks 3. The Spirit who hovers over the waters from the beginning. GOD spoke and creation happened. He was and is and will be GOD: “In the beginning, GOD”. 

As GOD is Creator, Word and Spirit – He is one GOD revealed in three persons, He is and always has been in relationship. Likewise, when He created Adam in His image, He did so for relationship. And then, He said it was “not good” that man was alone and He created woman. More relationship. 

And so it is with us, we who are born again, we who speak of a relationship with GOD, we who have faith and follow Him through His Word and by His Spirit — we are in relationship with Him.

In Partnership

But I choose to go a step further today to say: Yes, we have relationship, fellowship… and also partnership with Him.

I read a book recently which offered good teaching for young people about following GOD. I won’t quote it but I mention it to say this: It has solid information but it lacks one thing: It does not teach about partnership through Holy Spirit.

The book taught that since Word became flesh and that word has been written down, everything Jesus had/has to say to us is in the Bible; by following that Word, and using sound judgment, we walk the Christian life. This is true but it is leaving out a vital point: through Holy Spirit we have fellowship with GOD and the opportunity for complete partnership with Him. 

The Father wants relationship with us. He is relational; it’s a part of His identity. Even following the Bible with the best will and passion in the world, we are still walking in the flesh, which is still finite and, I purport, still limits our engagement with GOD. 

Only through the power and presence of Holy Spirit manifesting in our lives are we walking in complete partnership: yielding our flesh to His Spirit with each step that we take.

This does not mean we cannot tie a shoe without asking GOD. As the book rightly suggests, GOD is Sovereign and in that, He gives us freedom and room to choose, to think, to delegate, to “live and move and have our being” while He is also fulfilling His plans and purposes. 

But our walk can be so much more than applying the Bible to our lives. Applying the Bible is good! but it is still not the fullness of what GOD asks and what He offers. Rather, He offers and seeks intimacy that comes with constant fellowship — conversation with Him, seeking Him out, allowing Him to fill us with His supernatural presence and power through the person of Holy Spirit.

John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being”

Faith is Trusting in GOD

First and foremost, we commit our lives to faith in Jesus, as son of GOD, as the one who died and rose again. We trust Him with our salvation and with our lives, both here on earth and in heaven after our physical presence on earth ends. We believe and we trust. But there is more…

Rigidity without Holy Spirit

There is a danger in following the Bible totally fastidiously:  that danger is to become rigid in our thinking, becoming religious or even self righteous. Without the Word we have no compass. But with only the Word we can become legalistic, dictatorial. Alternatively, our attempting to follow the Holy Spirit can become whimsical, irrational, or can even lead us toward error in our thinking without the Bible support. If, for example, we think “GOD said to do X” when X is clearly contradictory to the Word, it cannot be true. We do need both the Word and the Spirit to walk with Jesus in the way He has always intended.

The Word keeps us on a righteous path. The Spirit keeps us surrendered to GOD. 

Jesus said he did only what the Father told him to do (John 5:19). His Spirit will never contradict. We need to know the Word so we recognise the voice and the will of Jesus. But Jesus left earth in order for Holy Spirit to come, and we need that Helper to help: to lead, guide, teach, correct us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit will always have the same message, though they may express themselves to us differently. We need all three in our lives. We need Holy Spirit in order to grow in our intimacy with GOD, in order to become perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), in order to fellowship with GOD and with one another to the capacity GOD has for us.

There is nothing trivial with GOD!

Some might say that GOD isn’t interested in what we should eat for dinner, or whether we should wear these shoes or those, take this job or that, marry this Christian or that one. But I disagree. 

“As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13) He is watchful, He is engaged, He is interested.

Jesus adored and encouraged the children to come to him. Likewise, the Father relishes our time with Him. It is narrow for us to think He isn’t interested or that what is trivial to us is also trivial to Him. That is looking at ourselves as equal to GOD, as “adults”… but we are neither equal nor adult to Him.

1 John speaks of children, young men and fathers. And yes, we in the faith, mature. And Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians of teaching “meat” versus “milk” to the believers. We do grow in maturity as re are ready to hear.

But GOD does not limit our access to Him nor our prayers. Yes, He wants us to move and respond freely and as we grow, in a mature way. But this takes time and experience. We learn the Word and we discover Holy Spirit: both Jesus and Spirit of GOD are equal and of equal importance to grow us into the people GOD has created us to be. 

In one sense, we will always be His children.

Predestination v Arminianism

I think the debate between predestination — where everything is pre-ordained, and arminianism — where GOD gives us freedom to effect the outcome of our lives, is futile, because both purport a one way or other way view. 

I think the truth is in between, a both/and reality. GOD is sovereign. And yet, we must wrestle against flesh and blood to grow into His likeness. 

The Hebrew people were completely able to recognise competing truths. I think we gentiles need to be able to do the same.

Sovereignty and Partnership

Recognising GOD as sovereign does not mean we are puppets. Realising the active influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives does not mean we can foul up the predestination of GOD. Rather, we trust in GOD’s righteous and powerful sovereignty even in the midst of our attempts and failures at following His voice today through Holy Spirit.

GOD wants partners. GOD wants us to grow to full maturity. GOD wants to engage with us. And in my experience, I grew more though Holy Spirit than without. I failed more often too. But here I am, more surrendered, more intimate, more in line with the character of GOD as revealed in His list of Holy Spirit fruits (Galatians 5) , than I ever would have become with the Word alone.

I have studied the Word voraciously. But that alone was not enough to curb my impulsivity, my fleshly temperament, my ego. I needed Holy Spirit actively in my life to ensure my dependence and eventual maturity in GOD. 

Flesh v Spirit: obedience, wonder, worship, surrender, grace

We cannot walk in the flesh forever. Ultimately and sooner-is-better-than-later, we need to walk by the spirit in us. How?

“I die daily.” 

“I am crucified with Christ.” 

We must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Centuries ago, priests seeking to be more like Jesus literally flagellated themselves to try to defeat the sinful flesh. In the 1800’s many preached hell and damnation, not erroneously but without love, and alienated for generations those who would be lost; today Christians still have a rotten reputation for hypocrisy and judgementalism rather than for the lovingkindness of Jesus.

Seek Jesus, Seek Holy Spirit, Seek the Father

The Word of GOD is wonderful. It needs no editing, no addendum, no apology. However, Jesus was openly declared at his baptism by the voice of GOD and the presence of Holy Spirit. Only then did his ministry begin. Likewise, we need Holy Spirit to live our lives as Jesus teaches us. 

If we resist Holy Spirit out of fear, suspicion or pride, we miss an essential part of GOD and forfeit the power and presence He wants us to have. 

We learn to worship the LORD in Spirit and in Truth!

“Not my might, nor my power but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts.” (Zachariah 4:6)

As we ponder the Spirit of GOD, to the degree we allow Him to be active in our lives, we will determine our growth in character and our depth of relationship… that’s what I’ve experienced and that’s what I believe.

Going forward, I press on to the upward call of GOD in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13) and pray for the same for all of us. How we manage is up to the LORD and may we all surrender fully into this so that He can have His way entirely in our lives.

Shalom and GOD BLESS you!

6 replies on “Working in partnership”

Wow, gosh Sarah, SO MUCH “Food for thought” here, you have presented us with a veritable “feast” (of scripture-plus-‘de novo’ thinking) to “digest,” it’s difficult to know where to begin in response. Just a few thoughts ”for starters” so to speak. Yes, we are ALWAYS His children, in fact Christ sort-of commands us to be so, with his quasi-warning “Unless you become like little children, you CANNOT see the Kingdom of Heaven” (emphasis mine.) He DOESN’T mean we can’t get to Heaven, but rather that, if we cling to our ”adult” ways on earth, we’ll be prevented from seeing the Creation through-a-child’s-eyes, i.e. FRESH eyes, as if we’re seeing trees, plants, animals, and other folk for the very first time, presumably the SAME way Adam and Eve saw everything, BEFORE they sinned (through disobedience.) He doesn’t mean “be childISH,” but rather “be childLIKE” in attitude, i.e. TRUSTING our Heavenly Daddy completely, and OBEYING Him, out of Love and Respect for Him, knowing He always has our best interests at heart.
St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 “…when i became a man/woman/adult, i put way childish things….” proving that you are quite right, we MUST check out what even Christ said, with our knowledge of God’s Word (like the Bereans habitually did, for which Paul commended them.) And ‘Yes,’ if we know the Word, but WITHOUT-the-Spirit, we can become ‘legalistic.’ As an old saying goes “Too much of the Word ONLY, and we dry up. Too much of the Spirit ONLY, and we can blow up. But Word and (Holy) Spirit in equal measure, then we GROW UP (spiritually,)” whilst STILL remaining childlike-in-attitude to God our Father.
After all, as Jesus said “Holy Spirit will lead you into ALL Truth,” plus in prayer to God “Your Word IS Truth,” so then scriptural proof that we need BOTH (as you rightly say!)
More later (hopefully.) Shalom/God bless+++

I love this:”Too much of the Word ONLY, and we dry up. Too much of the Spirit ONLY, and we can blow up. But Word and (Holy) Spirit in equal measure, then we GROW UP (spiritually,)” I don’t know who said it originally, but it is a great (and fun!) summary:) May you be blessed today. GOD has blessed me through you indeed. Shalom:)

Thank you so much for responding my sister. I heard that saying FIRST, at Ellel Grange near Lancaster (bought by former publisher Peter Horrobin, who went on to found ‘Ellel Ministries International,’ Ellel Grange remaining as ‘Ellel Ministries’ HQ, as well as a Counselling Centre.) The person who spoke that saying, at a meeting there, wasn’t Peter, but his Director (circa 1992) Ken Hepworth. I’d forgotten all about it (the saying) but Holy Spirit brought it back to mind yesterday, some 30-or-so years later. I don’t remember ever using it before, even as a methodist ‘Local Preacher.’ Quite incredible!

Thanks for the reminder that all 3 of the Holy Trinity were present together at the Time of Creation Itself, which you describe as God, Word (LOGOS) and Spirit – that’s SO clear, simple and (once it’s pointed out) OBVIOUS, but i’ve never heard it spoken about quite so plainly before. Brilliant!
We know HOW God created the Universe, by SPEAKING It into being (“Let there be Light” etc) and from John 1 (which also starts with the Words “In the Beginning”) we get an incredible insight into the WORD (Christ) “being spoken” by the Father, in order that IMMEDIATELY whatever was spoken, came into Being.
NO committee meetings, nor PCC agreement, or whatnot, just God Speaks/It Happens.
Jesus was the “Word made flesh” (John 1 verse 14) so He MUST have been involved in The Process of Creation, as part of God’s Oh-so-Mysterious Ways (whilst Holy Spirit “Brooded over the waters.”)
Beyond belief, yet TRUE nonetheless!

Finally, i absolutely agree with you, that we MUST “Work out our own salvation, in fear and trembling” (St. Paul,) for as the late Rev. David Pawson emphasised, we are not Truly and completely “saved,” until we at last arrive in Heaven, when “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
THEN we become wholly sanctified (literally “Made saint-like”) and Holy enough to receive our Resurrection bodies, that we may “Be like Him.” Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Amen. Father, may you draw more and more of your children to a full awareness of Your power and presence through the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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