Many years ago, I listened to a Welsh evangelist share a story of how he went to visit a friend in the hospital in Wales. This man was a dear friend of his from Bible School and he was dying of cancer. Upon arrival to his room, his friend’s face lit up and he said, “John, you won’t believe what the Lord told me this morning; ‘I am only pleased with what I do Myself.’ “
The evangelist told him, “That is a wonderful revelation!” He felt in his spirit that it was a profound statement from God, but he had no idea what it meant. He left the hospital room pondering what he had heard. His friend died the next day, so he wasn’t able to go back to ask him anything more about it.
When I heard this story, I laughed. I knew exactly what the revelation meant, because the Lord had taught me that same truth years earlier. What the Lord said to me was, “No work of the flesh can ever bring glory to God, only God can bring glory to Himself.” All of our efforts to bring glory to God fail completely. It is only through God that we can ever bring glory to His name.
If God can only bring glory to Himself, then we must always be careful as His saints, to do only what He tells us to do. We have to be careful not to start projects that we think will bring glory to God when He hasn’t told us to do them in the first place. As a result, we have to understand this profound truth: God has no interest in finishing what He has not started.
Over the years, we have often heard that God is the Author and Finisher, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, yet we have never stopped to consider what that really means. It means that God wants to be the Author and Finisher of all things. It must always start with Him and end with Him.
The Apostle Paul made this powerful statement about this truth:
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 12:36 NKJV).
Everything must come from Him, be done through Him, and bring glory to Him, or He is not interested in it. He is the source of everything we do, so that He might receive all the glory for it. That is the only thing that pleases Him. If we learn this truth, and practice it in everything we do, we will always be pleasing in His sight.
Not only must we be careful to do what He tells us to do, but we must be careful to do it His way and by His ability. God doesn’t want us to do anything according to our wisdom or our ability. When He gives us a job to do, He will also give us all the wisdom, resources and ability to get the job done. That is why we have to learn to trust Him every step of the way, from the beginning to the end. When we can see how God has done it all through us, then He gets all the glory for it. This is why He often gives us tasks that are impossible to do, unless we rely completely on Him. Does that make sense to you?
Now when God tells us to do something, we can also have great confidence and boldness in carrying out that task. The reason is because: What God has started, He will also finish.
This truth is wonderfully illustrated in Genesis when God told Abram to leave his country, go to the land He would show him, and that He would make him a great nation. However, after much time it became apparent that Sarah was barren and could not have any children. Instead of trusting the Lord to finish what He had started, they decided in their own wisdom to give God a hand, and the result was that Ishmael was born (see Genesis 12:1-4 & 16:1-16).
Whenever we take things into our own hands, and try to do things in our own flesh and according to our own wisdom, we create “Ishmaels.” This can never bring glory to God. Only God can bring glory to Himself. The result is that God will not bless what we have done through our own ability.
It took twenty-five years for Abraham to see God’s promise fulfilled to him. It was really only in Abraham’s one hundredth year that he actually believed God, and did what God told him to do. As a result, God did the impossible through a woman who was ninety-nine years old – Isaac was born! What God has started, He knows how to finish, and we must learn to do exactly what He says to get the job done.
We have to realize that, in everything we do, we are workers together with God. He is the Author and Finisher. He is the Beginning and the End. Everything starts with Him and finishes with Him, and apart from Him we can do nothing. It really is all about Him!
God doesn’t want His saints to be independent. He wants us to be completely dependent upon Him. All of our plans, all of our resources, and all of our ability to get the job done must come from Him. After all, He really is only pleased with what He does Himself.
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]