Knowing what God and only God can do, and what is clearly our responsibility should be intuitively obvious, but for many it is very confusing. Some will pray, asking God to do for them what He has told them to do, and they are disappointed when He doesn’t answer their prayer. This is especially evident when it comes to spiritual conflicts, because the Church has so poorly prepared our people for such attacks.
Suppose teenagers experience some demonic manifestation in their room at night (our research revealed that over 50% have had such an experience). They cry out to God: “Lord, do something,” and pull the covers over their heads. Nothing happens! So they wonder; Why not God? Why won’t you help me? Well, maybe I’m not a Christian and that is why he won’t help me. That is the mental and emotional state of nearly every person I have been asked to help. They are questioning God’s presence, questioning God’s love for them, and questioning their salvation.
But why didn’t God do something? He did! “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him” (Col. 2:15). He forgave our sins, made us new creations in Christ, made us joint heirs with Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the Father, He has seated us with Christ in the heavenlies (the spiritual realm), and conferred onto us the authority and power to do His will. But whose responsibility is it to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7)? Whose responsibility is it to put on the armor of God? To take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? To crucify the flesh? To stand firm and resist? And what if we don’t?
God has to stay true to His word, and will not change who He is, or His ways to accommodate us. He would no longer be God if He did. His changeless character and ways are what give us stability in life. We can always count on God being present and being faithful to His word. For instance, it is not our role to convict anyone for their sin. That is God’s role. “He will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn. 16:8). Knowing who is responsible for what is a core principle behind Discipleship Counseling.
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