Only a few things have gripped me with greater joy than the truth that God loves to show his God-ness by working for me, and that his working for me is always before and under and in any working I do for him.
At first it may sound arrogant of us, and belittling to God, to say that he works for us. But that’s only because of the connotation that I am an employer and God needs a job. That’s not the connotation when the Bible talks about God’s working for us. As in: “God works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).
The proper connotation of saying God works for me is that I am bankrupt and need a bailout. I am weak and need someone strong. I am endangered and need a protector. I am foolish and need someone wise. I am lost and need a Rescuer.
"God works for me" means I can’t do the work.
And this glorifies him not me. The Giver gets the glory. The Powerful One gets the praise.
I just completed a series on Twitter (@JohnPiper) celebrating some of the texts that express this truth. Here’s the summary list. Read and be freed from the burden of bearing your own load. “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Let him do that work.
- “No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)
- “God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:25)
- “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
- “The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him.” (2 Chronicles. 16:9)
- “If I were hungry, I wouldn't tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)
- “To old age I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:4)
- “I worked harder than any, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians. 15:10).
- “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
- “Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11)
- “Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, to will and to work.” (Philippians 2:12–13)
- “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7)
Recent posts from John Piper —
- Four Waves of Change in Missions
- The Authority of Preaching for Readers and Non-Readers
- Be Encouraged to Pray This Summer