God’s power is evident as we read the Old and New Testaments. From the Creation to the Great Flood of Noah, the start of a new nation in Israel to the spectacular exodus from Egypt and from fighting giants in the promised land to the miracles of Jesus and later the apostles, God’s power is undeniable. However, there is something I am discovering and learning as I get older and become wiser: Even as God can do everything, most times, He won’t do it because He does not want to raise lazy children. This is not difficult to understand; if we give our children everything, they want, they will never learn work ethics. So, God’s grace is manifested through hard work, dedication, and faithfulness. The following portion of Scripture validates this point,
All hard work brings a profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23 (NIV)
The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 (NIV)
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10
We are called to work hard and be diligent… who knew? When we adopt the mentality that we want God to do it all for us supernaturally, we are setting ourselves up for incredible frustration, eventually leading to us giving up. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
When we don’t understand this principle of hard work and diligence, we develop doctrinal errors such as: 1) Wanting health without changing our lifestyle and nutrition. 2) Wanting deliverance without confessing sins or accountability, and 3) Wanting financial prosperity without stewardship.
In my mid-forties, I look back at my financial habits, which were terrible with terrible consequences. I had much debt. I pray for God to help me to be debt free by the time I turn 50. I did not receive a check in the mail; I did not receive any money to pay my debt. God’s power was manifested in that He always provided me with a job and blessed me with the discipline to pay down my debt month after month until it was gone.
In my current struggle with diabetes, the same principle applies. I did not experience supernatural healing; God changed my lifestyle and nutrition, and as long as I stay disciplined, I will be ok. However, if I return to overloading with sugar and carbs, I will return to where I was or even worse.
It is difficult for us in the “charismatic wing” of the church to accept these principles of hard work and diligence; we expect everything for free and are unwilling to put any effort into anything. We want God to do it all. However, the Bible is clear; through hard work, dedication, and faithfulness, God manifests his power by blessing us with the discipline, stamina, and strength to press on and not give up.
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