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

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