One of the concepts that my friend and mentor Mike Wells talked about a lot was recognition versus creation. When we are a branch on the Vine, we don’t create fruit—it is a natural outcome of the Life of Vine flowing through us. We don’t have to generate something and figure it out and make it happen.
This is the opposite of what our culture tells us as we are taught to be independent, create our own American dream and be self-sufficient. I’m not knocking hard work here at all, but I am realizing that when I wait to recognize Christ’s work instead of trying to create my own, I understand more fully what it is to be dependent on Him.
With this ministry, for example, I sometimes get stuck in the trap of marketing plans, social media strategies and manipulation sales schemes to try to make it work. It’s easy to get lost in that maze sometimes with all the voices talking loudly about it around us. But if God doesn’t build the house, I’m laboring in vain (Ps 127:1). If God doesn’t build the ministry, it’s pointless and just a show of what I think I can do rather than an outpouring of Jesus’ love to others.
I recently read The Hiding Place again. It’s the story of Corrie ten Boom’s life during World War II and her concentration camp experience. She and her sister and father were leaders of the underground in Nazi-occupied Holland, working to get Jews out of the country so they wouldn’t be slaughtered. She was a very unlikely candidate for this work—an 60-year-old spinster and a self-proclaimed terrible spy. She was actually teased quite frequently for how bad she was at being secretive. But God equipped her and others with her for something she knew she couldn’t do on her own. She had to listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading constantly as she questioned which people she could trust, how to get the rations and other supplies she needed for these hundreds of Jews, and how to answer the people who tried to catch her in the secret endeavor. And eventually, she needed God’s love for her jailers and her fellow prisoners who were not always pleasant ladies.
The Bible is full of stories of people who were not brilliant, wise, good or kind people. Instead, they were broken people who realized they needed a big God. They could recognize God’s power and might in what He did through them and around them. This recognition versus creation allows rest.
Creation is God’s job, not mine. When I am trying to create for Him, I am playing God and I’m so overwhelmed because that’s not my responsibility! Let God be God and do the creating. You get to watch Him go, and enjoy the work He does. Your job is to keep your eyes open for what He is doing, following Him into things as He makes the way ahead.
What are you trying to manufacture in your life? Is it a job, a relationship, a fulfillment, a child’s future? Can you take your hands off the creation and recognize that it’s not your job to create? If you will, I believe you will experience a rest in your soul you didn’t realize could be there when you had to try to be in control. Move into that recognition and watch His amazing power and love at work.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5