Our Part, And God’s Part

Michael Claridge Michael 0 Comments

Brace yourself, this is going to be another one of those blog posts that challenges some ideas you’ve been taught throughout your life, but aren’t necessarily true. They may sound like they are truth on the surface, but really are laced with philosophies of men mingled with scripture and in the end only turn out to be derivatives of the insidious lie.

Have you ever taken the time to really consider what your part is and what God’s part is? The difficulty arises most often because people tend to look at only one side at a time. They are either all, “it’s man’s job to work, and to do,” or they are, “it all depends on God.”

In order to understand this in its entirety you have to keep both parts constantly in focus.  You have to know what your part is and at the very same time know what part falls squarely on God. But if you tend to lean too far to one side or the other and all but eliminate the other side from your view is where many have difficulties.

Looking at one and not seeing the other, for sure will cause you to have a false understanding of the truth, which can lead to unhappiness, emptiness, and ultimately cause you to feel you aren’t supported at all from the other side of the veil; which is a horrendously lonely feeling.

Many years ago, I experienced such difficulties. If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it at least a hundred times, “Pray as though it all depended on God, act as though it all depends on you.”

My marriage was failing and I wanted desperately to save it.  I always thought that quaint phrase was the best equation, but through much heartache I learned that it’s simply not the equation the Savior taught, and it’s certainly not scriptural, and like I said, it didn’t make things better, it only caused me overwhelming depression and emptiness.

It didn’t save my marriage.  I thought the more I prayed, the more I fasted, the more times I put names on the temple rolls would turn things around.  I prayed as though everything depended on God.  Boy did I believe that. But I also believed that I should act with all diligence – so I acted like I was a saint.  I tried harder. I worked harder.  More. More. More.

And the more I did the more I felt I should be succeeding, but frankly it wasn’t happening.  The harder I tried, the less success I had.

And then?

I figured out the right equation.

Wait! I shouldn’t act like I was the one who figured out something – anything. That’s all part of the insidious lie too. It wasn’t me at all.  They taught me – line upon line, here a little and there a little, step by arduous step, brick by brick, precept by precept, day by day; and I learned a little at a time.  But mostly, it was all them.

Who? My Heavenly Parents, the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Light of Christ, my Savior, and Angels. They taught me, and when I was humble and submissive and ready to learn, which was less often than I’d like to admit, I learned the lessons they so lovingly taught me. But believe me, when I was hard headed and hard hearted, nothing, and I mean nothing was learned.  I floundered. I worried. I stressed. And I certainly didn’t learn anything, except how hard headed I can be.

And there were even times when I felt like I was moving backwards; I probably was. That part is scriptural too:

11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:11)

It certainly doesn’t feel good to be caught in ol’ loser-faces chains, but I’ll admit, I’ve been there.  I’ve hardened my heart, I’ve lost the light, I thought I could do it myself, and I’ve slowly lost what was once strong convictions and testimonies, because I was too proud, or too arrogant. I’d “right-fight” and sacrifice my own happiness in trade of being right.

Come now, don’t be so hard on me, you’ve done it too – we all do from time to time. That’s part of the lesson they try to teach – their part, and your part.

And when we think it’s all us, they step back and let us take the reigns – always to our own unhappiness and failure – always.

So what is our part, and what is their part; God’s part?

Very simply put: Our part is to trust, and God’s part is to work.

Remember the insidious lie? You can’t do it, so when you try to take it upon yourself is when you get into trouble.  But loser-scum-bucket keeps the insidious lie alive and well, and our natural men/women believe him.

Trust is what you are supposed to do. And trust and work are contrastive. Your part is to trust God will do the work God says He will do.  He said He would, now trust Him.

Here’s some very strong and important questions you need to answer for yourself:  When the Savior Atoned for you did He propose only a partial deliverance, or a complete one? Did He intent to leave you struggling and weary, defeated and discouraged? Was a continuous Atonement too much for Him? Could He not give you a complete Victory? Did “delivering us out of the hands of our enemies” (Alma 58:37, Luke 1:74), only mean a few of them? Is being “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37) mean constant defeat and failure?

I hope your answer to all these question is an emphatic out loud, “No! Ten thousand times no!”

But sadly, do we really believe Him? Do we really trust Him?

He said He would, He said He does. He swore an oath to do so:

73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (Luke 1:73-75)

But we set out to do it ourselves, because we don’t believe Him.

Granted, it’s a mighty work that has to be done.  It’s the biggest work, the most important work (Moses 1:39).  He came to destroy the chains of loser-turd-ball, and do you think for even a second that He is not able or not willing to accomplish what He promised?

Take a minute to ponder these thoughts.

Now, settle this in your mind and in your heart with complete and total certainty:  He is able to save, and exalt you.  He has the power and authority, completely, continuously, absolutely, and without fail, forever and ever.

Trust it!

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)

Your part of the equation is to trust, and that is the only thing you have to do.  But before we go on, let’s make something completely clear here, I’m not saying that you can just plop yourself on the easy-chair of trust and do nothing. If that’s what you are thinking you have neglected to look at the other side of the equation.  Remember, your part is to trust, and God’s part is to work.

We do not do anything, simply because we can’t. Remember the insidious lie? loser-lard-breath would have us believe that it all depends on us or it won’t get done – that we have to do it ourselves.  But remember you must focus on both sides of the equation. Your side is to trust, while God does the work, and it is done perfectly too.

God does the thing entrusted to Him perfectly.

Really think hard about that.  Do you really trust Him? Do you believe deep down, in your very core, that God will do what He promised He would do? Do you? Or do your beliefs and actions say otherwise?

Imagine this parable for a minute:  Imagine you were entirely ignorant of the process of making pottery out of clay and so desired to take a class from a master potter.  You would arrive at the class and the first thing the master would teach you was the clays part. It would be to passively sit in the master’s hands while the master would pound it, and roll it, and stretch it, and knead it to soften it in preparation for the potter’s wheel.

At this point you would most likely agree that there is really nothing else to be said about the clay’s part in the matter, is there? The clay just allows the master to do whatever work was required.

You’d think it ridiculous if I were to say that the clay had the duty to form itself in a special way, or to conform itself, or change itself, or make itself anything at all.  That would be a crazy notion, to think that the clay had anything else to do, but conform to the will of the master.

And the master’s part would be to mold and fashion the clay that had abandoned itself to the master’s will, by kneading it, stretching it, pounding it and pulling it and doing whatever was necessary to accomplish the creator’s desired creation.

It would be equally rediculous to say the master potter really wasn’t a master at all because every time he worked with clay he would fail, the clay would win out, and he would bend his will to that of the clay, and walk away defeated. Why would you take a class from someone who had not mastered the art of pottery?

No, the clay has its part, and the potter has his, and both in harmony would accomplish the beautiful vessel the master creator set out to create.

What is the clay’s part? To trust itself completely to the hands of the master potter. And what is the part of the potter? To create a vessel fit unto honor and glory.

8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

But isn’t it interesting that we, even understanding this parable still get the equation wrong and think we are the potter as well as the clay?

16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:16)

I ask you again, what is the clay’s part, and what is the potter’s?

Simply put, the clay is to trust, while the potter is to work.

I cannot tell you how many times in my life wonderful things have happened in my favor; things that I could not have manipulated in a million years. Like all those perfectly timed miracles, or times when one door shuts only to open several others, or when opportunities open up to me that I didn’t know about, but turned out to be wonderful blessings, or all the many friends and loved ones who have reached out to me in my time of need without either of us knowing.  Like I said, not in a million years could I have manipulated, much less even thought of, yet the master creator did – just like He promised He would.

So, friend, you can keep listening to the insidious lie, buying into the illusion, or you can trust and watch Him work.

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And with every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out—
God knows what He’s about.

—Author Unknown

And your part? Trust Him. After all, He is the Master Potter!

Michael-sig

   

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Without a doubt the most important thing I have ever learned in life is that no matter what you can't stop breathing.

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