So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
– John 5:19-20
Last week I wrote about Nehemiah and how he had cultivated a spiritual perspective that saw the activity of God in all of his circumstances, good or bad. The one person who models this perfectly was Jesus. I am convinced that one of the hardest disciplines in the Christian life is cultivating a moment by moment spiritual perspective on life. It requires great spiritual concentration and focus. It is so easy to be distracted with the activity of life that it can be very hard to maintain a constant sense of being a child of God and ambassador of Christ in every situation throughout any given day. And yet, that is what Jesus demonstrates for us.
You have probably heard the saying, “live and learn”. The idea is that we all make mistakes as we live life and hopefully we have enough wisdom to learn from those mistakes. The Bible gives us a better opportunity to “learn and live” and if we have the mental foresight and wisdom, we can learn from God’s Word and as we obey it we can live the way God desires us to live. We can avoid a bucket-full of mistakes through simple obedience to His Word.
Jesus takes the idea of “learn and live” to a whole different level when He says, “the Son can do nothing on his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing…” He does only what He “sees” the Father doing. He clarifies it further in the chapter when He says that He is not seeking to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him (John 5:30).
God’s Word reveals propositional truth – written revelation. We read it and understand truth or principles that we are to apply our lives to them. But the other side of doing God’s will is having the wisdom to know how truth applies in any given situation. The problem for many people is notunderstanding what God’s Word says, they just can never figure out when and how that truth needs to impact their behavior in any given circumstance.
Jesus, on the other hand, had an almost relational sense of doing the Father’s will. He assumes that God is always at work (John 5:17, 19-20, 30). This does not set aside propositional truth (written revelation) but He could actually see the fingerprints of the Father constantly working in life circumstances … all the time. Jesus, was not about doing His own will but always listening and looking to see how the Father was influencing and guiding circumstances so that the Son could participate and see the Father’s work first hand. Can you imagine if you set aside every plan you had for a day and all you did was constantly look to see those moments when you see the influencing presence of the Father and your whole purpose was to jump in and be the “hands and feet” of the Father in that person’s life or situation? In this way Jesus demonstrated to those around Him how to participate in God’s will and experience the power of God impacting both circumstances and people’s lives.
Hindsight is ok but it is different. It is a little more “live and learn” rather than “learn and live”. Being able to “see” God’s fingerprints influencing a situation right in front of us would be truly walking in harmony with the Lord. How exciting to see God influencing something right in front of us and experience the power of God by stepping into that situation and see how God use you to accomplish His purpose and work. What a great vision to come on a Sunday and everyone is talking about how they experienced God because each one of us was “seeing” God directing a situation and we knew He wanted us to step into that situation so we could see God accomplish sometime amazing through us! Wow!
The key question I ask myself constantly and others is simply this, “How did you see God working this week?” Sometimes a tough question if we have been distracted all week. For some people they have the hindsight to look back and learn how God was working in a circumstance; which all seems much clearer now in hindsight. But if we want to experience the power of God we need to be actually “seeing” God working and influencing situations right in front of us. We can remain a spectator or jump in and see the wonderful things that God is doing. God allows us to participate and witnesses His grace.
Have an insightful week,