Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t put your con­fi­dence in your own under­stand­ing. In all your ways acknowl­edge him, and he will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5 – 6
What ever you do, whether in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giv­ing thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Colos­sians 3:17

It is very impor­tant to under­stand that these vers­es rep­re­sent the gospel of the king­dom of God. They rep­re­sent the invi­ta­tion to take our whole life into the king­dom of God and learn how to live the life God has giv­en us in the pow­er of God. When I under­take all my activ­i­ties, I am not doing them on my own, I am doing them in con­fi­dence, vision, and expec­ta­tion in the spir­it and char­ac­ter of Christ. If I am writ­ing a paper or prepar­ing for a con­fer­ence or out­lin­ing a course, I don’t just do that look­ing to myself, I do that in expec­ta­tion that God will act with me.

The gospel of the king­dom of God which Jesus preached, Repent for the king­dom of heav­en is at hand,” is pre­cise­ly the good news that, in every­thing I am and do, God invites me to invite him to be my co-work­er. He invites me to look to him, to act and move in tan­gi­ble ways no mat­ter what it is.

Go back to that verse in Proverbs, In all your ways acknowl­edge him.” What does that mean? It means that we rec­og­nize he is God, and we acknowl­edge his author­i­ty in what we are doing. When I set up a course, or when I under­take to trans­late some­thing from Ger­man into Eng­lish, or what­ev­er I am doing, writ­ing a paper, com­pos­ing a book, I expect God to direct me. I expect there to be a move­ment in my life that is more than me.

Now that won’t hap­pen if I don’t acknowl­edge him. I have to acknowl­edge him; I have to rec­og­nize him. Take the verse in Colos­sians 3:17, What­so­ev­er you do, whether in word or deed, do it in the name of …” What does that mean, do it in the name of” — say the name as I do it? No. It means that I do it in behalf of him. I do it in place of him. So when I walk into a room to give a lec­ture, I say to myself, How would Jesus do this?” And I do it on his behalf.

Dis­ci­ple­ship means learn­ing to acknowl­edge God in all we do — and it takes a lot of learn­ing. You actu­al­ly nev­er get done learn­ing because you are always learn­ing, and increas­ing­ly you are able to acknowl­edge him in all of your ways. You are able to do every­thing you do in word or deed on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As you do that, among oth­er things, your fear and anx­i­ety dis­ap­pear because you aren’t out there on the limb by your­self. You are actu­al­ly watch­ing God in action in your life. You stop sec­ond guess­ing your­self and lam­bast­ing your­self because you did­n’t do it right.

You have now heard the gospel that you are accept­ed by God where you are, that he put you there. You’re in your world to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth — and it is God who makes that pos­si­ble. You accept the fact that you are finite, that you make mis­takes, that you’re not per­fect. And in so doing you get on with the work that God has appoint­ed to flow through your life as you become the per­son he intend­ed you to be.

You see, God has very high aims for you and me. His aim is that each one of us becomes the kind of per­son he can empow­er to do what we want. I am going to say that again. You and I are being trained and cul­ti­vat­ed and grown to the point where God can empow­er us to do what we want. Now you rec­og­nize that a lot of work has to be done on our wan­ter” before that can hap­pen. But that is what life is about. And that’s what we are learn­ing to do as dis­ci­ples of Jesus Christ.

Excerpts from a chapel talk, pub­lished in The West­mont Col­lege Mag­a­zine, Sum­mer, 1998, via dwillard​.com and used with their permission.

Text First Published July 1998

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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