Operating in God’s power rather than our own?

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by Romans5eight, Mar 26, 2019.

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  1. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    How do we live in God’s power rather than our own? This concept seems to mean different things to different people.

    It seems like for some people this means a “let go and let God” model of discipleship to tap in to God’s power. To others it assumes God’s abiding power in the Christian life and our personal effort is exerted.

    How can we practically operate in God’s power rather than our own?
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I wouldn't read too much into it. God's power doesn't negate our own. We are called to be his co-workers. That's where the "let Go" folks mess up.
  3. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I have a close friend going in for surgery this morning for a perplexing set of circumstances. I know she has been obedient to the sixth commandment in making good health choices and that she and her husband have applied God's word in making a decision to operate. We're all praying. That's all we can do: apply what God has revealed, pray, then wait to see how He choses to work in the circumstances.
  4. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Brother, I would commend to you Walter Marshall's The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, wherein he discusses what it is to "live in God's power" by faith, and demystifies -in my estimation- the concept. One consideration is that we begin our day acknowledging that we have no help if God is not our help, and that we cry to Him that if it is not He who turns us, we will not be turned.

    Living in God's power begins with truly -by faith- believing those practical and unequivocal promises that He will give us every good gift, and not like our earthly fathers, but as a perfect heavenly father. These good gifts include:

    1. Progress in mortification
    2. Progress in understanding the Scripture
    3. Afflictions to rid us of every vestige of self-righteousness, drive us ever to Christ, apprise us of sins, perhaps, we did not know exist, etc.
    4. Progress in listening to the Word preached, our behavior, comprehension, and gratitude at the administration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper
    5. Many, many, more.

    But all of these must carried out by faith, believing that it is the goodness of God that is the foundation for such things. In this way, then, we spend our best efforts in seeking God's commandments, by use of lawful and appointed means, but never trusting in those means, only trusting in the God Who makes those means effectual as He sees fit, in His due time, at His good pleasure.

    We do these things in the "power of God," not by some mystical Let Go and let God empty vain practice, but as attendant children, humble, earnest, and believing. I cannot recommend Mr. Marshall's book enough, and also this sermon from the afternoon service this past Lord's Day.

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  5. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe what those who are teaching “let go and let God” are really dealing with is people who have been taught unrealistic expectations of personal sanctification. People who are trying to hammer out their progress and not achieving perfection and getting burnt out.

    So maybe it stems from a low view of keeping the law which believes that we can achieve sinless perfection in this life.

    Maybe there is room for “letting go and letting God” if that means we are to let go of our own righteousness and lay hold of Christ’s righteousness by faith and obeying him by faith.
  6. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

  7. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    You're on to something here. Pietism has always had an odd way of elevating the law while at the same time knocking it into the dust because no human, no matter how sanctified, can keep it. The standard of the law has to be lowered to maintain the veneer of keeping it.

    In reformed circles, we are left keeping Biblical truths in suspension or risk falling into error. We are fully responsibile, yet God is fully soveriegn. We must hold to the necessary perfection of the law and our inability to keep it. In Christ, we are fully justified and sanctified, yet we struggle with sin. These points create tension for any thoughtful Christian.

    From a practical viewpoint, we can daily turn to God and his Word and seek to grow in grace and wisdom. Doing so goes far in making decisions and enduring the tough times.
  8. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    Ryle’s book “Holiness” is also good and deals with some of the Keswick movement practices and teachings. I have Marshall’s book and it is also good.

    I just thought it would be interesting to hear how some on the board practices actually “living in God’s power” even though that idea has been abused.
  9. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    It's a bit fresh on my mind right now because I've been reading about George Whitefield's intersection with pietism before traveling to the colonies.
  10. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Yeah, this is an interesting topic. I don't think anyone knows really how the mystery of it works, but through experience we can share examples. Just today, I was dealing with anxiety, and the thought crossed my mind "I am free in Christ and I'm not in hell." Honestly, just that thought alone transformed my mind and body, and gave me power to overcome my weakness. This topic is so broad and complex, but that's just one example.
  11. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Freshman

    I think there are some personal factors that can play in.... I’ve needed some purifying fire to be freed of my self love, self dependency and need for control. My Lord has done a good job of stripping that away and only recently am I starting to see some progress and maturity in my walk because I’m clinging onto Jesus out of true desire and necessity, God willing this will remain and I not deceiving myself...
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  12. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    It is for sure not really a "how to." Some temptations particular to each individual seem to be easily done away with. But then in some cases when we've prayed, meditated on the Scripture, looked for practical ways to remind ourselves and encourage ourselves about the dangers of particular sins we may be prone to fall into... we find to our great disappointment that once again, we have failed and fallen. I think God uses the hard trials of life to change our desires; we get really sick of our sin and get more serious about depending on the Lord; only by transformed desires will recurring sinful patterns be done away with. God also uses the passing of time and our aging minds and bodies to help in doing away with temptations to sin. There's much to be said in the way of encouragement, even though all this is so. He gets the glory, yet in his kindness will tell all his elect, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
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  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I remember John Piper said this was not the proper way sanctification works....I am sure he has changed his mind on this now that he is older. :)
  14. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    I believe there comes a time in the life of every true child of God when He let’s you know that you are wholly dependent upon Him and won’t make it without Him. It’s a time when you’ll look so forward to deliverance from the body of death. I’m not talking about mysticism but a time of severe trial where the outward man is stripped of all worldly support and all you can do is look up to God. If you’re not living for Him now you surely won’t live for Him then. Saturate your mind with the Word of God and walk in His commandments and prepare for that day. Love what He loves. The Church. He gave Himself for it.
  15. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Under the Gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
  16. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    Are you saying that the complete way to live in God’s power is hearing preaching and receiving the sacraments?
  17. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Puritan Board Sophomore

    This spells out a nicely practical way to operate in God's power: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1st Peter 5
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