Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ The Full Story on Full Surrender

          This morning in church, I interrupted our series on the book of Revelation to do some teaching on “surrender”. It just happened to be where God had most of my attention at the end of the week, so it seemed to be good to share. The discussion that took place afterwards showed that it was very encouraging for all of us.

          Sometimes we think we couldn’t possibly yield to God because it feels like there are too many things we still struggle with. However, what if we are like someone who has fully surrendered to the care of a doctor, but is still full of sickness? Being sick does not nullify our surrender to the doctor’s care.

          What is becoming clear to me is that many people have a view of surrender to God that is really law-based rather than gospel-based. Complete surrender under the law has to focus on finding the ability to do everything right. Complete surrender under grace is turning to Jesus for help with everything we are doing wrong.

          Here’s an illustration that helps me appreciate the difference between law-based surrender and grace-based surrender. One person has a totally messed-up estate and hears that the King is coming, so he works wildly to get his yard and house cleaned up so that it is all fit for the King. He does not want to be ashamed to invite the King to a full tour of all his land, and every room in his house. Neither does he want to dishonor the King with an unkempt property. He wants to surrender everything that is his to the King so he can be happy with it all.

          Another person also has a totally messed-up estate and hears that the King is coming. However, he knows it is hopeless to think that he could possibly clean everything up in order to make it suitable for royalty. He has heard of the King’s love, his grace and mercy, and his power to clean up estates, so he opens the gate and asks the King to come into the mess, the squalor, the darkness, the filth, and take it over. He tells the King that he can have it all, and that he is quite willing to surrender to whatever the King wants to do to clean it up.

          Much of my life I have struggled to believe that I am still not “totally surrendered” to God because I keep finding things that are not yet transformed into Jesus’ likeness. That is completely law-based. God is not calling me to “do” for him, but to “receive” from him. Surrender is not reaching a level of self-denial where we are finally able to do all the good things God wants us to do. Surrender is letting God touch everything in our lives with his healing and cleansing power.

          One church conflict I have seen many times has been between those who want a church where they can show what good Christians they are, and those who want a church where messed-up Christians can get all the help they need to grow up into the goodness of Christ. In such conflict, the good people are in bondage to their notion of presenting their good behavior to God as a pleasing sacrifice. The not-so-good people are bound to a hunger and thirst for God to do righteous things in their lives because of faith, not of works, to the glory of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

          I once had a pastor introduce himself to me as a recovering-Pharisee. I could relate to that. As one who has been a “good boy” my whole life, it was easy to fall into the trap of using good behavior as a means of feeling good about myself. God graciously blew that all out of the water so that the mirage of my goodness could be met by the reality of his goodness.

          I can relate to the good-Christians who think they need to try hiding the parts of themselves that are beyond their ability to fix because they can’t appear good enough to please God. They cannot live with what would happen to them if they knew that he saw that mess, if they admitted that mess, and if they brought that mess out into the open so the church could help them. They have no comprehension of the grace of God that comes into messes and cleans them up. They only know that they have to be good in order to be accepted, and so they will be the best good they can be, and fake it in everything else.

           The desire to be totally surrendered to Jesus Christ is not fulfilled by cleaning up our lives so we can offer Jesus access to every room of our fixed-up hearts. It is fulfilled by opening up our whole messed-up, dirty, filthy, scary, dark, wounded, broken, sinful, worried, doubting, prideful, lives to the powerful cleansing work of the blood of Jesus Christ and letting Jesus come in to our whole being and do all the cleaning up he wants to do, in every way he wants to do it, for however long he chooses to take to clean up any particular thing within us. Surrender is not surrendering to do all the good things God wants his children to do. It is surrendering our real state-of-being to Jesus so he can carry on to completion all the good things that he has come into our lives to do.

          And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.(Philippians 1:6)

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


Friday, February 22, 2013

On the Education of an Old Fart

          I am a strong believer that God will take his children through unique events and experiences in order to give us a testimony designed to encourage others. Sometimes these experiences are failures, like when Joshua believed the Gibeonites story without consulting the Lord, and so had to protect this enemy instead of conquering them.[1] Sometimes these experiences are sins, like the things we learn from David’s sin with Bathsheba, and the grace and mercy of God that held on to him as a man after God’s own heart.[2] Other times they are simply embarrassing things, like Peter boldly declaring that he would protect Jesus from going to Jerusalem and being crucified, only to hear Jesus say, “Get behind me Satan!”.[3]

          I trust that is a long enough segue to introduce the subject of farting, and the lessons I have learned. I do not mean the lessons I’ve learned about farting (that would be flat-out ridiculous), but the lessons I’ve learned because of farting.

          It all goes back to a small group camping trip outside of Tofino, British Columbia. There were eleven of us ranging in age from preschool through to retirement. The weather that week was primarily of the foggy-overcast seaside variety, which meant spending a fair bit of time huddled around a little propane-campfire in a shelter the locals ended up naming “Tarp City”.

          Our proximity to one another confronted us with the inevitable: someone farted. Suddenly a whole network of coping mechanisms kicked in. Some tried to ignore what they heard, while others giggled in spite of attempts to the contrary. None of us realized what lessons we were about to learn, but, since we had a hearty menu of camp cuisine lined up for the week, lessons were sure to follow!

          Of course, I do not have a detailed recollection of how things went from there, but it came down to this: we realized that we all felt that there was some level of shame associated with our experience with farting. None of us knew how much of this was because we were good religious people who believed such things were simply improper (Jesus didn’t fart, did he?), how much was associated with our polite Canadian culture, and how much was an expression of an inner fear-based shame mindset that came from who knows where. However, we all agreed that farting, responses to farting, and discussions about farting, were permeated with some kind of feelings of embarrassment wafting out of some kind of mindset of shame.

          Over the course of the week of camping, we discovered that we were able to talk about things to do with shame, guilt and fear (the three things that followed sin into the Garden of Eden). At the same time, we were able to consider how God was working to set us free from this crippling triad, as well as building the loving, humble, compassionate relationships that would withstand such things.

          In a sense, farting was a test. There were far more shameful things inside us than farts. If we saw that someone’s indiscreet fart received outright disapproval, open ridicule, or even embarrassed silence, how would we trust each other to share our soul-farts, so to speak?

          What we found was that, honesty about a basic bodily function that everyone does,[4] prepared the way for us to be honest about other things as well. We never did focus on something that still may never be our favorite thing to talk about, but on what it felt like for people to know something of what we are like and still accept us.

          Some years before this camping trip, my wife and I attended a Pastors and Wives Retreat where one of the pastors had tried to break the ice by asking people how their families dealt with farting as they were growing up. When I first heard him announce this, I felt a sense of encouragement that such a group of people would lead the way in showing it was okay to talk about something like this. The next night I was hugely disappointed to hear the same pastor apologizing for offending some of our peers who thought it was inappropriate to talk publicly about such embarrassing things.

          The message to me was that, even among the couples who were leading dozens of churches around our province, it was not safe to fart. It was not safe to talk about farting. It was not safe to be known as one who farted. It was not safe, period.

          Seeing the freedom that came during our camping trip some years later affirmed the negative and the positive of the lesson. When people see normal issues of life treated as shameful, they will also hide the things that are even more shameful than that. When people see that the normal issues of life are treated as normal, without suppressing or exaggerating them out of their place, they start to feel safe that the “abnormal” issues of their hearts may be just as well received.

          I do not think there is any way to set a policy on how much or little churches should talk about things like burps and farts. After almost a decade of working with children, I can see how they need to be taught both good manners, and that there is nothing shameful about how their bodies work. After years of working with adults in the area of long-standing childhood wounds, I am certain that most adults I have met have not been given good mentoring in a God-honoring worldview of how our body, soul and spirit work together, and how Jesus heals his family of the soul-wounds that have been with us for a long time.

          As our bodies were clearly designed to express our souls into the material realm, we can also learn from our bodies that such natural things as farting invite our souls to express our heartaches to one another in soul-to-soul relationships.

          At least, in my personal experience, the people who have learned to trust each other to be safe with their farts are the ones who are learning to trust each other with their hearts. A gathering of such people may sometimes get smelly, but the growing love relationships make it worth the discomfort as we enjoy the feeling of being with a spiritual family that accepts us and loves us along every level of our growing up to maturity in Christ.

          Now, in case someone would like to see if the Bible encourages us to think along these lines, here is what the apostle Paul wrote: Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.[5] I know that Christ has welcomed me, burps, farts, and all, so we must do the same with one another. The more we talk about it, the easier it gets.

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Joshua 9
[2] II Samuel 11; Acts 13:22
[3] Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33
[4] Yes, even Jesus farted. He created the human body. Every human body functions the same way. He came in a human body in every way as ourselves. Every body creates the gas that escapes as farts, or flatulence. Even after death, the human body is known to release a last expulsion of internal gasses. There is nothing shameful about any of this.
[5] Roman 15:7

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings ~ The Living Activity of God’s Word

          The Bible stands out as the only book in the world that can make the claim to be the “living and active” word of God. In God’s own breathed-out words,[1] this is what we know: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.[2]

          In the letters to the seven churches,[3] the way Jesus introduces himself to each church is of huge significance. This week it is Jesus’ announcement to the Pergamum church that calls us to consider how we need to know, “The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.”[4]Jesus chose this as his focus out of the description of him in Revelation 1. There we are told that, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword...”[5]

          What’s the point? That Jesus speaks the word of God, and the word of God slices through everything in both conviction to repentance, and conviction to judgment. In other words, his words cut both ways, to save those who repent and trust in his words, and to judge those who stand in pride against his words.

          Combining these revelations of the word of God coming out of the mouth of the Word of God, here are some deeper thoughts on Hebrews 4:12.

          …the word of God”: this is what we are dealing with. We cannot find a better word, or a higher word. Contradictory words, and competing words, are powerless to withstand the word of God. Every word of man is like the squeaking of a baby’s toy. The words of God are powerful beyond imagining because they are the words of God.

          …is living”: we must not think of the Scriptures as nothing more than words made of ink printed on paper. They are that, but they are not only that. The Scriptures give us the words in print-form, but that is not all they are. We speak them to one another. We hear them in our inner beings. We read them one day and they work the life of God into our hearts in one way. On another day, we read the same Scriptures as before and their living reality speaks something different into our souls. They are living, and must be treated as living. As Jesus breathed his life into dust and created a living being, so he breathes out living words that remain alive even though captured on paper.

          …and active”: The words of God are actively doing things. This is what God declared some twenty-seven centuries ago:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.[6]

          God’s word goes out from God’s mouth and “accomplishes” whatever God purposed for it to do. This is why the book of Revelation is so important to us. It tells us what God has purposed to do. We are NOT to put our faith in how well we have interpreted these words. Instead, we put our faith in this: that what God has written will accomplish exactly what God purposed for it to do, and this word will succeed in each and every thing God sent it out to do.

          …sharper than any two-edged sword”:          In any way we can imagine the sharpness of a two-edged sword honed to its finest edge, the word of God is sharper than that. No two-edged sword of man is living in itself, or active in itself. Every manmade sword is dead, is lifeless, is powerless. The two-edged swords of man are nothing unless a man lifts them up and uses them.

          However, the word of God is living and active in itself, and it is sharper than anything we could imagine of a manmade two-edged sword. In every way we can think of a two-edged sword giving an adequate defense to a Roman soldier, the word of God is alive and active to give a more-than-adequate defense to the children of God. In every way we can imagine the Roman soldiers using their two-edged swords to put their enemies to death, so we must see that the word of God is alive and active in confronting the nations. The word of God cannot be resisted, but will go out and accomplish exactly what God intends for it to do, and so we must welcome whatever God has intended to do with us through his word.

          …piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”: Why are we surprised when God’s word pierces us? It is living and active. No surgeon’s hand is required. God’s word pierces us. It cuts through pretense. It seeks to pierce us through with the living truth that gives life, and to free us from the cancer of sin, and error, and death. It comes actively, working to accomplish God-sized things in our hearts.

          After we are given this pointed description of God’s word that comes from Jesus’ mouth, we are given this clarification: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”[7] The vision of Jesus in Revelation 1 tells us that, “His eyes were like a flame of fire,”[8] and then that, “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.”[9] The writer to the Hebrews combined these same thoughts by telling us that the word of God is the living and active two-edged sword, and that this sword comes from the one who sees everything.

          Nothing is hidden from Jesus, and no one can hide from his word. Although he graciously holds off his words of condemnation until the judgment, his apparent silence is not approval of the sins of man. He sees what every person is doing, and he has already spoken living words that will actively bring about either our deliverance or our condemnation.

          In this there is both comfort and conviction. The comfort is that it doesn’t matter what words people speak against us if the Lord our God has spoken words of peace and grace and goodness to us. Many will give their opinion of the church and our ministries. Jesus was called a blasphemer[10], a demonized man[11], a glutton and a drunkard.[12] Paul was accused of things he knew he was not doing[13]. The words of man have no hold on us if the words of Jesus Christ have already pierced our hearts with life. At the same time, if the words of man have wounded us, it is the words of Jesus Christ that are the healing ointment to those wounds.

          The conviction is that it doesn’t matter what we, or anyone else thinks of ourselves, or our works; it is only what Jesus himself says about them that matters. It doesn’t matter what is in season in the world, what they like to hear from the church, or how they like to have their ears tickled with the fine words of man. It only matters what the Lord Jesus Christ says with the word of his mouth. The world around us could approve of every one of our sins, but the double-edged sword of the word of God will treat our sins exactly as God has spoken. When Jesus told five of the seven churches “I have this against you…” it did not matter who approved of those things.

          As I age, it becomes more apparent that I must take diet and exercise far more seriously in order to maintain good health until the end of my days. Since the word of God is living and active, we must feed on the life of this word, and exercise in the activity of this word. As Jesus himself spoke from the double-edged sword that comes from his mouth: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”[14]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] II Timothy 3:16-17
[2] Hebrews 4:12
[3] Revelation 2-3
[4] Revelation 2:12
[5] Revelation 1:16
[6] Isaiah 55:10-11
[7] Hebrews 4:13
[8] Revelation 1:14
[9] Revelation 1:16
[10] Matthew 26:65
[11] Matthew 9:34
[12] Luke 7:34
[13] Acts 26, much of II Corinthians is Paul’s defense against false accusations
[14] Matthew 4:4

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Revelation Video - The Fearless, Faithful, Suffering Church

In this video we look at a church that was already suffering with an attack of slander, and needed encouragement to be faithful in more suffering that was on its way.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In this video our home church begins looking at the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3. This first letter, to the Ephesians, confronts us with the danger of losing our lampstand. It is serious enough to give our prayerful consideration.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Considerations: God Returns His Children To Joy

For a while I have been learning how the main aim of caring for children is to return them to joy. We change them, feed them, clean them up, put them to bed, care for them, and even discipline them, because we want them to have as much real joy in their lives as is possible.

This morning this all clicked for me in the way that God is constantly working to return us to joy. The grand work of redemption is to lift us out of the joyless lives that are ours because of sin, and back into the “fullness of joy” that is in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11). As Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11).

It simply encouraged my heart to think of how important it is to my heavenly Father to return me to joy. He will put me through the furnace of affliction for a season, not to keep me from joy, but to purify my heart so that my joy-capacity becomes more like him.

I give thanks to Jesus Christ that he wants me to have his joy in me, and my joy to be full.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ For the Love of an Inner Child

          If people feel like there is an inner child deep inside them who has carried the pain of whatever trauma and abuse they experienced in their early years, the church must meet them there with a Savior who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.[1] It does not matter if we have never heard of such a thing. What matters is that Jesus hears these people cry to him in their unexplainable sorrows, and must move his church to welcome them into his arms.

          It is Satan who wants the church to deny what people are going through, because then the church will not listen to Jesus and learn from him how to minister to them. When the church makes it unsafe for people to bring their inner pain to Jesus, especially when it feels strangely like bringing a weeping child to him for comfort, these people never experience healing from Jesus, and Jesus never receives the glory of the healing he would joyfully, gently and most certainly give.

          When we accept that the people whose childhood trauma caused something to happen inside them that feels like a little child that has never grown up beyond the pain that was experienced, we can keep asking Jesus what he wants to do about it. We can then follow him in ministry that may make us the target of scribes and Pharisees, and yet the friend of brokenhearted sinners looking for a Savior.

          I do not need a biblical justification for something I can see. As the fossil-record shows me all kinds of animals God created that weren’t specifically mentioned in Scripture, so people’s stories show us all kinds of heartaches and wounds that are not specifically described in God’s word. If someone tells me that it feels like there is this little child inside them that cannot stop crying because of something bad that happened to it, I do not need to find a corresponding experience of this in the Bible before I help the person. What I do need to find in the Bible is the ample description of ministry to the wounded no matter how contemporary life would describe those wounds.

          A couple of decades ago God gripped my heart with this Scripture as his declaration of how he would respond to anyone who came to him no matter what happened to be wrong with them:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”[2]

          This Scripture tells me that I need to learn the way that Jesus releases the oppressed, even when the oppressed feel like it is some inner child that carries the oppression in a way that is distinct from the outer person who appears to have grown up. I need to learn how Jesus speaks good news to the poor in spirit, even when the poverty the poor in spirit feels is like an orphaned little child deep within the hidden places of their inner being. I need to learn how Jesus gives sight to the blind, even when the blind feel like a little child who cannot see Jesus for the darkness that they have hidden them in deep within themselves. I need to learn how Jesus would speak release to the captives, even when the captive who needs to hear such words of release feels far too much like a little one that has never known life outside the bars of its childhood trauma.

          The church cannot tell someone: “You cannot possibly be oppressed in the way you describe because the Bible doesn’t describe that kind of oppression.” Rather, we tell people, “If that is the way that you would describe the oppression you live under, let’s bring it to Jesus who promises to “to set at liberty those who are oppressed”.

          If you have been so protected by the grace of God that you have never experienced anything like what I am talking about, please open your heart to the fact that every church is within arm’s reach of people who need such help from Jesus. Since Jesus does his work through his body, simply ask Jesus how you and your church can be his arms to those who carry such things in their hearts.

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Psalm 147:3
[2] Luke 4:18-19 (Isaiah 61)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ When Discernment is Deadly

One of Satan’s “schemes” against the church[1] is to let people become dependent on so-called “discernment ministries” for their beliefs about which ministries are good and which are bad, and then subtly introduce deceptively deadly reasoning that causes ungodly divisions. Here is one example:

Premise one: there is such a thing as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Premise two: a wolf in sheep’s clothing will look like a sheep.
Observation: this man looks like a sheep.
Conclusion: He must be a wolf!

There are some ministries out there that are bad, and we do not need an independent “discernment ministry” to reveal this since the plumb-line of Scripture already shows that they have failed the test. I am all for obeying all the commands about having nothing to do with such people and ministries.[2]

However, there are also some ministries out there that are good, but people are rejecting them simply because some discernment ministry told them to. Poisoned teaching cannot be cleansed out of the Church by poisoned discernment.

It is not actually that difficult to know whether we are dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a sheep with a bad reputation (kind of like Paul). Give the person a good hard poke. Wolves and sheep sound quite different from each other when you test them.

Let me put it another way: there are ways of testing people and ministries that are so woven through with truth in love[3], spirit and truth[4], humility and gentleness[5], obedience and faith[6], restoration and gentleness[7],that misunderstandings are treated as misunderstandings (rather than sarky perceptions of wrong-doing), cultural differences are treated as cultural differences (rather than sin), and variations in spiritual gifts are treated as variations in spiritual gifts (rather than objective, concrete, verifiable, deliberate, unrepentant breaking of the commands of God).

There are ways of testing people by the comprehensive gifts and ministries of the church (rather than the narrow, exclusive, judgments of professional nay-sayers), so that every possible means are taken of clarifying what people mean, of understanding what they are really about, of purifying hearts from tradition, culture, prejudice, immaturity and ignorance, so that every opportunity to win each other over has been exercised before slanderous reports are spread[8].

If anyone needs encouragement on the necessity of double-checking facts, read through II Corinthians and list all the things that people were saying about Paul just because some “super apostles” were declaring Paul to be one of those bad-guys we all want to stay away from.

I have seen more conflicts cleared up by people listening to each other and discovering they misunderstood something, than people actually having done the great and terrible wrong someone thought they did. We must be careful to not allow a valid concern to watch out for false teachers[9] turn into a devil-helping deadly discernment that divides disciples. The “whole counsel of God” gives a better way.

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Ephesians 4:14; 6:11; II Corinthians 2:11
[2] I Corinthians 5:11; II Thessalonians 3:14; I Timothy 4:7; II Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:10
[3] Ephesians 4:15
[4] John 4:23-24
[5] Ephesians 4:2
[6] Romans 1:5
[7] Galatians 6:1
[8] Romans 3:8
[9] Acts 20:29-30

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ The Three W’s of a Child’s Heart

          The five W-questions we use to describe an event are, who, what, when, where, and why. There is another set of W-questions that relate to the relationship between God and his children. They are, what is God’s WILL, what is God’s WORD, and what is God’s WORK.

          The starting place for everything is that our heavenly Father has a will. He has thoughts, plans, strategies, and purposes that reside in him. His word says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”[1] This tells us that God has thoughts, and ways of doing things, that are much higher than the thoughts and ways of man, and so his children must seek him to know his will.

          If God has a will that is contained within thoughts and ways that even his children cannot rise up to find, there must be a way for God to let his children know what he has in mind. This is where it is necessary for him to give us his word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.[2] God has breathed out his word so that we can know his will. His word will do everything we need to grow up in the righteousness that is by faith.[3]

          Now that God has communicated his will through his word, we must consider the necessity of knowing how this is expressed in his work. God does not speak out his will like an army commander telling us to get out there and fight. He speaks his will like a shepherd calling us to walk beside him and do whatever he is doing.

          Jesus made this very clear in his earthly life when he said: My Father is working until now, and I am working.”[4] He then explained further, “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.”[5] Jesus showed that God’s work was done together. Jesus did nothing on his own, but only the things he saw the Father doing. This is our example.

          Paul applied this to believers like this: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.[6] We are to see the church as the place where God “works” in us. His work is to get the church to both “will” the things God is willing, and to “work” the things God is working. We respond to this by “working” out our own salvation with “fear and trembling”, because it is such a serious thing to know that God has a will, he is speaking through his word, and he is working to bring us into his work.

          Here is a Scripture that brings together the three W-questions in one sentence: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”[7] God’s “own will” determined what he would do; it was his “word of truth” that “brought us forth”, or brought us to life in his Son; and it is his work that we live as “a kind of firstfruits of his creatures”.

          When Jesus taught the church to pray, “Our Father in heaven… your will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven,”[8] he was teaching us to seek the will of God above our own, and to pray for that divine, heavenly will to be so clear to us through the word of God that we could fully join God in whatever work he was doing at any time he was doing it.

          I have no intention to over-simplify God’s word to the point that it is nothing more than watered-down words. However, there are times when remembering things in simple ways helps us to keep them in mind for handling complex life-situations. The three W-questions will help us do this. God has a WILL, he makes it known through his WORD, and we work it out in the WORK he is doing. If we set out to know his will, his word, and his work in everything, he will lead us in step with the Holy Spirit all the days of our lives.

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Isaiah 55:9
[2] II Timothy 3:16-17
[3] Romans 4:22
[4] John 5:17
[5] John 5:19
[6] Philippians 2:12-13
[7] James 1:18
[8] Matthew 6:9-10