Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)
Total reliance upon God is an important aim of the Christian life, and His sovereign orchestration of unwelcome hardship is often the most effective way of accomplishing this. Just look at Paul; he felt he had received “the sentence of death.” How intense is that? But he knew the greater purpose behind what he was going through—to learn to cast himself fully upon the God of resurrection.
Pastor and author Harold Sinkbeil says that when it comes to the life of the Christian, it’s “not that you do part of the work and God does the rest; it’s not that you do a little bit and God does a whole lot. Rather… the Holy Spirit does everything.” This is challenging for us. When things are going well, we mistakenly think it is our doing. To some degree, we attribute our fortunate circumstances to the Lord for doing His part. But ultimately, we are getting what we’ve earned for doing ours, are we not?
Then difficulty comes and turns everything on its head.
Family dynamics shift toward strife, a job is lost, illness befalls us, financial pressure becomes insurmountable—it all goes wrong. At times, we may even feel like we are under a sentence of death. However, we must remember that, severe though it may feel in the moment, this is the loving way of God. He is aligning us with reality, inviting us to realize that we are not self-made, we are not “enough.” No, our life is owing entirely to His grace and Spirit. Through such knowledge, we enter into a state of humble reliance upon Him. There, we thrive in worship, confession, and prayer—divinely appointed expressions of our dependance. You need to remember this every time you feel that you are being stretched, every time life is getting too overwhelming, every time you feel too burnt-out and exhausted to go on.
As you come to church this Sunday, bring all of life’s circumstance to the throne of grace and lean into the reality that you are being taught to rely on God who raises the dead. His Spirit can and will do everything. All you need to do is respond to Him in whole-hearted worship. Won’t you?
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
- What unwelcome hardship are you facing right now? Has it been difficult for you to rely upon God in the midst of that? Why or why not?
- How might LifePoint’s gathered worship help you to rely more fully on the God who raises the dead? Take a moment to think and pray about how God might want to speak to your circumstances this Sunday.
- Pray for LifePoint, that all would come ready to receive and respond to the Word and presence of God.
Set List for Sunday, October 27, 2019
- Call Upon the Lord (C. Brown, S. Furtick)
- Holy Ground (J. Cravity, M. Fieldes, M. Malone, B. Younker)
- Great Are You Lord (J. Ingram, L. Jordan, D. Leonard)
- King of Kings (J. Ingram, B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood)
- More Like Jesus (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, K. Stanfill, B. Younker)