The Holy Spirit: Hearing His Voice, pt. 5

This is perhaps the greatest gift that we have in this life: that the living God lives in you and with you. If we lived in this reality, everything would be different. You – yes, you – can hear the voice of God. We are sons and daughters of a loving Father, the bride of Christ, a friend of God, the sheep of the Great Shepherd, and a body with Jesus as the head. Bill Johnson said, “I would rather make a bad decision with faith than a good decision without any”, and that’s what we want; to make decisions out of faith, without fear of being wrong. Either way, God will be with us.

Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit is like learning a new language. We learn to hear God  in the little things, not just the big ones. Be humble and risk; we have to practice and apply His word to our lives. The Holy Spirit is speaking…would you be humble enough to learn and listen?

Why does it seem like we can’t hear Him at times?

  1. I don’t believe I can
    1. James 1:5-8: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
  2. I’m unprepared to obey
    1. 2 Timothy 4:1-4: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
    2. Jonah 1:1-3: Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
    3. The authority of God in your life isn’t real until it’s been tested. You’ll know you’ve been obedient when you’re struggled to obey God; if submission is easy every single time, you’re letting yourself play His role.
      1. That being said, God’s way isn’t always the hard way. The more we mature in our faith, the more what we want to do will align with God’s directive for us.
  3. He is empowering me to make the decision
    1. #Sanctification, ya’ll!
    2. Romans 8:14-17: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
    3. Hearing God isn’t a superpower or a trick, it’s our identity.

So, what are we to do when it seems like you’re not getting specific direction?

  1. Search the Scriptures.
  2. Ask other people to pray with you and share what they believe God is saying.
  3. Pursue wisdom from church leadership.
  4. Get as much information as possible and then ask:
    1. What will glorify God the most?
    2. What will bless others the most?
  5. Make the decision. Risk in faith!

Biblical references: James 1:5-8; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Jonah 1:1-3; Romans 8:14-17

 

The Holy Spirit: Hearing His Voice, Pt. 4

We – Mosaic, and followers of Jesus – believe that everybody on the earth can hear the Holy Spirit. If you’re a believer, you can hear Him because He is in you and with you. If you’re not, you can hear His voice because He is constantly wooing you, trying to win your heart, and ceaselessly loving you. We don’t ask the question, “can I hear the Spirit?” but rather, “how do I hear the Spirit?” because He speaks is so many different ways; we see this across the Bible (He speaks like a friend in Exodus 33; in 1 Kings, His voice is a still small whisper, etc).

The Holy Spirit doesn’t seek to you so that you can seem a magician, gain fame and glory, or to avoid personal responsibility in the name of “God said” (a classic example: the break-up due to “God said..”). He doesn’t speak so that we can know the will of God for our lives because (spoiler alert: we already know!). We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

…and to God be the glory, for the verse following is a directive for us in order to hear Him: Do not quench the Spirit. His primary interest is not to give you orders; He wants to talk with you and walk with you, to hear your story and what makes you sing and what makes you sad. And why? Why does He speak?

  1. He wants to teach you Truth, Peace, and Courage
    1. John 14:26-27: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
  2. He wants you to live freely
    1. Galatians 5:16-18: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
    2. The ‘law’ = the idea that your dos and don’ts define your identity and declare your value. No! That’s not what God says! He speaks freedom over and over again, despite all the things we do and do not do.
  3. He wants you to walk in the manner of His greatness
    1. Colossians 1:9-11: And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…
    2. We have equated skepticism with intellect.
    3. James 1:5-8:  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
    4. We have to begin with faith. We can’t expect to hear from the Spirit when we are cloaked in doubt. We hear by faith.

There are parameters to keep in mind:

  1. The Holy Spirit won’t contradict the Bible.
  2. He won’t contradict the Spirit of Jesus.
  3. It will usually be affirmed by church leadership.
  4. It we be reinforced by our church community.
  5. It should bear fruit.

He speaks in so many ways: through the Bible, other people, nature, books, dreams, visions, words, visions, an audible voice…It’s up to us to trust that we can hear Him! He speaks in big picture and he speaks in specifics of the day-to-day. Expect that you can hear Him, and you will.

Biblical References: John 14:26-27; Galatians 5:16-18; Colossians 1:9-11; James 1:5-8

The Holy Spirit: the Unblocking, Pt. 2

christoffer-engstrom-189369-unsplashGod is so extravagant; look at the way He made the universe (at least, so far as we can even see!). He created people – you and I – with the capacity to choose or to not choose Him. He chose to make us, imperfect and flawed as we are, for the purpose of pursuing and wooing and loving us to no end.

In relation to the pursuit of the Holy Spirit, we can respond in one of three ways: pursue Him back, reject His pursuit completely, or merely co-exist with Him. God’s intention for us is the first of these – fullness and abundance and intimacy with Him. His story – His very purpose – is one of pursuit.

Part 1: The Holy Spirit participates in creation (including the creation of you and me!); the Word implies anticipation and expectation when He creates.

  1. Genesis: 1:2: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Part 2: The Holy Spirit fills specific people for divine purposes.

  1. Numbers 27:18-20: So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.
  2. Judges 6:34: But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.
  3. 2 Samuel 23:2: The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.
    1. If every part of your life is comfortable and in control, where is there room for the Holy Spirit to move?

Part 3: The Holy Spirit is on Jesus, leading Jesus, and in Jesus.

  1. Matthew: 3:16-17: And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
  2. Matthew 4:1: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
    1. Why did the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness, knowing that he would be tempted there? And why does He do the same in our lives? Because, often, the way to green pastures and still waters and lands of milk and honey isn’t around but though the wilderness. God promises to lead you, not leave you.
  3. John 20:21-22: Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 

Part 4: Jesus promises the Holy Spirit would be with you and in you.

  1. John 7:38-39: Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
  2. John 14:15-17: If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Keys to Unblocking the Holy Spirit:

  1. Unrepentance –> Repentance
    1. Acts 2:38: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    2. Galatians 5:16: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
      1. We have to be careful and intentional in our repentance; we’ve equated repentance with confession. There’s a difference between talking about it and turning from it.
  2. Disobedience –> Obedience
    1. Acts 5:29-32: But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
      1. Obedience is not hindrance. Rather, it’s a means to abundance.
      2. Start simple. Ask yourself: God, what was the last thing you asked me to do that I haven’t done?
  3. Disunity –> Unity
    1. John 17:20-23: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
    2. The enemy likes to use unforgiveness and comparison to tear us apart.
  4. Apathy –> Prayers of asking
    1. Luke 11:5-13: And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
    2. Jesus withholds nothing from us. All He wants is for us to ask!

Biblical references: Genesis 1:2; Numbers 27:18-20; Judges 6:34; 2 Samuel 23:2; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 4:1; John 20:21-22; John 7:38-39; John 14:15-17; Acts 2:38; Galatians 5:16; Acts 5:29-32; John 17:20-23; Luke 11:5-13

Questions:

  1. What unrepentance do you have in your heart?
  2. Where have you disobeyed God?
  3. Where is there disunity in your relationships?
  4. Where do you need to start asking instead of being apathetic?

The Holy Spirit: with You and in You, Pt. 1

Artboard 1Mosaic, family and and friends alike, we are so excited to start our new series, “The Holy Spirit: with You and in You”. How many of us do not realize that we are meant to be receiving from God on a daily basis? How many of us think that salvation is a one-time transaction? This morning, we are going to be talking about what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Contrary to what some of us may believe, the Spirit is not a what, nor is He a force (like a power or an element). Rather, He is a “whom”, a relational, intimate being, exemplifying the Father heart of our good God.

John 4:13-15: Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

Romans 8:11: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

5 Truths about being filled with the Holy Spirit:

  1. Being filled with the Holy Spirit elicits the following:
    1. creative gifts, leadership gifts, charismatic gifts, wisdom, revelation from God, praise, boldness, grace, faith, power to perform miracles, personal healing, authority, conquering over powers of darkness, and joy
    2. This is the diversity of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit! So often, we think it looks like one expression (we’ve reduced His presence to goosebumps in worship or tears in prayer), but this is far from the Truth.
  2. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is repeatable.
    1. There is 1 initial entrance, yes, but then there are multiple fillings
  3. Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not preclude one from suffering.
    1. He does not promise the absence of pain (on the contrary, he guarantees suffering to all those that follow Him).
    2. The promise is that the Holy Spirit will be with you in that pain.
  4. Being filled with the Holy Spirit often comes at a time of intercession, affliction, or moments when God is calling someone into a particular ministry.
  5. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is always associated with greater:
    1. Revelation
    2. Praise
    3. Proclamation
    4. Life

It is also important to note that being filled with the Holy Spirit is never going to work without a childlike faith. There will be moments in which we have to choose to believe that God lives within us. So, what’s our part to play here?

  1. I must be filled (as believers, it’s our duty and responsibility).
    1. Luke 24:49: And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
  2. may be filled (as believers, it’s an honor and a privilege).
    1. John 7:37-39: On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
  3. will be filled (or, I am willing to be filled, and further: I am willing to do whatever it takes to be fulfilled). There’s a difference between wishing and willing, ya’ll.
    1. Ephesians 5:18: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…
    2. It might require repentance. It might take some “de-cluttering” of the soul.
  4. shall be filled.
    1. This is the faith declaration moment.
    2. Acts 2:38-39: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Biblical references: John 4:13-15; Romans 8:11; Luke 24:49; John 7:37-39; Ephesians 5:18; Acts 2:38-39

Questions:

  1. What truth of the Holy Spirit are you struggling with today?
  2. What “rooms in your house” do you need to invite the Holy Spirit into? What needs to be “decluttered” so that He can enter in?

Message Recap: God at Work, pt. 4

rawpixel-com-274858So far, in our series, led by the incredible Jim Larson, we’ve looked at why and how we work; today, we are looking at another important identifying piece of the puzzle: where we work. As people, indecisiveness is all too rampant in our culture. Let us be the people that decide where we are going to work, and then go do it.

We are in a really unique place in time; only 200 years ago did we first start having the ability to choose our work. What a privilege (and an obligation) to choose where we work! The hard part, of course, is the dizzying effect of the paradox of choice. We are faced with so much opportunity, so many good choices, that we are led often to anxiety, disappointment, and discontent. And, further, we get caught up in the idea that our choices today will dictate our forever. But that’s note the case! Though Martin Luther made a case against career changes, John Calvin and much of the Bible encourage career changes. And, many of it’s characters exemplify the ways in which they glorify God (look at Moses, for example – from sheep herder to political leader!).

Myth 1: Where we work is more important than why we work and how we work.

  1. The Truth is that why we work and how we work is at least as important as where we work.

Myth 2: We will all have a burning bush moment (though, God can, and does, do this for some of us – it’s not a guarantee).

  1. We cannot sit and wait for our calling, God wants us to trust Him and sometimes, make the first move in faith. Even if it’s wrong, it is still a step driving us forward.

Myth 3: We should determine where we work based primarily on our passions.

  1. We should be driven by the following, instead:
    1. The needs of the world
      1. Jeremiah 29:7: But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
    2. Our giftings
      1. Romans 12:6-8: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
    3. Our truest desires (not our fleshly desires, but the ones that align with the Spirit)
      1. Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
      2. John 16:24: Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
    4. Compensation
      1. 1 Timothy 5:8: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
      2. We have to make tradeoffs, and there is almost always a sacrifice.

Myth 4: The best way to hear God is to be standing still.

  1. We have the ability to move forward with God. How do we do it?
    1. Understand the world’s needs
    2. Understand your strengths
    3. Research potential roles
      1. Research what it’s like
      2. Engage with people you know who are in it
    4. Seek community

All of this is critical as we face the question of where we work, and it is critical that we do it all with God.

Biblical references: Jeremiah 29:7; Romans 12:6-8; Jeremiah 17:9; John 16:24; 1 Timothy 5:8

Questions:

  1. How is God transforming how you work?
  2. What is God showing you about why you work?
  3. What is God saying about where you work related to needs, giftings, desires and compensation?

God at Work, Pt. 3

christin-hume-311288

Talking about work is so important because we spend so much time working. Last week, we looked at the why of work, and today, thanks to our wonderful speaker Jim Larson, we are diving into the how of work.

A myth about work: your manager writes your ultimate performance review.

  1. The sacred/secular divide: the incorrect concept that parts of our world are sacred, and the rest of it is secular. This implies that God cares about some things more than He cares about others, which is absolutely untrue. God is in everything. He is Lord over all. 
  2. Martin Luther: “The idea that the service to God should have only to do with a church altar, singing, reading, sacrifice, and the like is without doubt but the worst trick of the devil. How could the devil have led us more effectively astray than by the narrow conception that service to God takes place only in a church and by the works done therein…The whole world could abound with the services to the Lord, Gottesdienste – not only in churches but also in the home, kitchen, workshop, field.”

The Truth about work: God ultimately writes your performance review.

Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…

  1. Our value is not in our performance. It is in our adoption and sends and daughters of the Kingdom, and it is high and fixed.
  2. That’s not to say, though, that God doesn’t care about our performance. He does! He has invited us to co-labor with Him, and He expects us to do it well.
  3. Being a Christian at work is the same as being a Christian. 

5 ways we can live out this Truth:

  1. Love others, and love them well.
    1. Matthew 22:37-40: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
    2. Treat people as ends and not as means.
    3. Be a giver and not a taker (givers, on average, perform worse on reviews than takers or “matchers”, but, having a culture of givers actually produces more fruit and increases performance).
  2. Have integrity.
    1. Proverbs 11:3: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
    2. Proverbs 28:6: A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.
  3. Be diligent and seek excellence.
    1. 1 Corinthians 9:24: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
    2. Psalm 24:1-2: The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
      1. Our blessings, our talents, and our time all belong to Him (we often forget that last one!).
  4. Be joyful.
    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
    2. We aren’t called to be joyful circumstantially, but always.
    3. There is a clear connection between gratitude and joy (biblically and scientifically).
  5. Rest well.
    1. Genesis 2:1-3: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
    2. We must rest well so that we can work well.
    3. God didn’t need rest (He’s God), but He chose to model it for us.
    4. Take an inventory as to what truly refreshes you. (because, honestly, it probably isn’t social media).

What is the one way God is calling you to work like how He would work?

Biblical references: Colossians 3:17; Colossians 3:23; Matthew 22:37-40; Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 28:6; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Psalm 24:1-2; Genesis 2:1-3

Questions:

  1. What is the one way God is calling you to work like how He would work?
  2. How are you going to have integrity with your work this week?
  3. How are you going to be diligent and seek excellence?
  4. How are you going to be joyful?

 

Message Recap: God at Work

GOD ATWORK

Though the first message recap, this is the second part of our new series, God at Work. Last week, we were blessed by four members of our church, who participated in a discussion panel surrounding their vocations and how it aligns with God’s vision for work. Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Jim Larson, a faithful member of Mosaic, father, husband, friend, and employee of the secular world.

Unfortunately, the numbers in which people are unhappy and find their job meaningless are ever increasing (more than 50% of people in our society claim both). Not only is this heartbreaking, but it absolutely is out of the will of God; therefore, it’s critical that we ask ourselves, “as the church, how should we think about work?” and “what does God say about it?”. In the next few weeks, we are going to answer a few important questions (i.e.: why do we work, how do we work, and where do we work?). In each instance, we want to identify and reflect upon the overarching question: what is God’s heart for this work?

Let’s address 2 myths about work:

  1. Work is meaningless
    • Why? A lot of people are working solely for the purpose of getting a paycheck. And, though some of us know that work is an opportunity for missions, to spread the Gospel, God still has more in mind.
  2. Work is our primary identity
    • Too often, our first question when meeting someone new is ” what do you do?”. It can incorrectly reduce someone down as seen only by their occupation; though important, it is only one very small aspect of their character and giftings. Too often, we think that knowing one’s vocation is the closest we can get to understanding someone’s identity.

Genesis 1:1-10: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:26-2:3: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:5-9: When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:15-20: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Genesis, and specifically these passages here, present two radical Truths about work:

  1. We have a God who works, and He delights in it (He’s a gardener. He gets down and dirty!).
    • God doesn’t just do “high” work; His work is expansive and varied. All of this work isn’t just good; it’s worthy of God. No work is medial to Him, because He chose to do it first.
    • He calls us to two types of work:
      • Co-creation: He invited Adam into the work of naming the animals, and He commands us to “be fruitful and multiply”.
      • Co-provision: We are called to co-labor with God.
        • Psalm 145:15: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
  2. Our identity, first and foremost, is in our Maker – not in our role at work
    • Our value is high and fixed by God. It’s impossibly to be devalued when you are His “special possession”.

We have the honor and privilege and freedom to co-labor with God, who made all things in Heaven and Earth. What an honor and a joy! Lord, open our eyes that we may see work the way you do. It is good because you have said so. Thank you, God.

Biblical references: Genesis 1:1-10; Genesis 1:26-2:3; Genesis 2:5-9; Genesis 2:15-20; Psalm 145:15 

Questions:

  1. Are there any places are you letting your identity be in your work and not in who God says you are? If so, what are they?
  2. How is God calling you to co-labor with him?