Partnership with God?
Can we really partner with God? And can than partnership be even more effective? Let me start with an illustration.
It took Wayne and I both to get all the bulging bags into the car. I couldn’t wait until I got home to open the treasures so I pulled one bag close enough to the center console so I could get a sneak peak without exploding the contents into the front seat.
It was a goldmine!
An absolute gold mine! Beautiful sweaters, with lots of bling, slacks and tops. Finally, we made it home. It was the longest drive ever. It felt like I was anticipating Christmas morning.
Wayne helped me grab the bags, I hurried ahead of him still anxious to open my treasure chest aka paper bags.
One by one, I took each garment out of the bag. Vibrant colors. Just the right size except for a few items. Name brands beyond my budget. Beautiful. Did I say beautiful…such a pitiful word to describe the treasures I was unfolding. Some gently worn and others still sporting the tags that announced it had never been worn.
I ran my hand over the fabric. I smiled at the bling and the sparkle that fit my taste perfectly!
I had to try them on and Wayne was a doll baby and let me model them for him. Half the fun is sharing the joy with someone else…right?!!
And the treasures that don’t fit right now, will have to wait until I can lose some weight. Believe me, they’re nice enough to lose some weight to wear!
I’ve had that same feeling all week.
It’s a verse on my prayer list that I pray regularly, but this week it’s been one of those verses that has come alive to me…revelation…is probably the correct term…but it’s been so intimate that revelation doesn’t really describe what I feel when I look at this verse.
I’m going to try to share it with you, but I’ve got a feeling this is one of those things that you just have to taste it for yourself before you know how good it is.
I want to share the last part of the verse first, sorta like a kid that eats the dessert first, because this verse is so familiar you might just miss the desert. Here goes…” every good thing that is ours in Christ.”
It’s like Holy Spirit has been whispering I want you to know, really grasp and understand the things that belong to you, the things that are found in Christ.
Ephesians 3:8 NLT "Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ."
Endless treasures! Wow.
The reality is if we don’t know what we have, then we will not access it.
So what is “in Christ” that is available to me (you too)?
Healing. Peace. Joy, the new wine variety that only comes from Precious Holy Spirit. Productivity. (That’s a long story. Maybe I’ll share it soon.)
I believe that part of really knowing what is ours in Christ revelation is an ongoing relationship with God. It is knowing Him better and seeing His characteristics or nature behind what He does.
I believe God is drawing us to Himself for us to see who He is more clearly.
Like the Prego commercial of 1984 where the Italian pop knew all the wonderful, fresh ingredients that were essential to make a great pasta sauce. He listed them one by one, convinced that they could only be found in the kitchen of someone willing to spend hours chopping and cooking. The grandson tried to convince him that they were in the sauce. He didn’t believe until he tasted the sauce himself.
Oh, I want to remind you God is so good! So wonderful!
It’s so important that as children of God we understand that everything we need for life and godliness is found in Jesus…EVERYTHING!
1 Corinthians 2:12 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
But if we aren’t careful, we can lose sight of just how wonderful He is.
I can unpack this list of treasures found in Christ like I did the clothes in those bulging bags or dutifully and thoughtlessly like I put away groceries on a busy day.
But when we begin to really see through the lens of Scripture the benefits that come from walking with Him, it’s even more exciting than bags of new clothes. I am convinced that God wants you (me too) to access His very nature.
I’ve been taking those treasure out and looking in the mirror of faith to get a glimpse of how they’re gonna look on me when I begin to wear them. Some of them are like the smaller sizes in the bags my dear friend gave me; I don’t give them away because I can’t wear them right now. No, I wait for the manifestation of what I see now by faith.
And that’s why this verse is so powerful…this dynamite nugget is hidden in the introduction to Paul’s letter to Philemon. He says
“I pray that your partnership in the faith may become effective as you fully acknowledge every good thing that is ours in Christ.” Philemon 1:6 BSB
Paul says “I pray that your partnership in the faith will be effective, energized, powerful…”
Does that sound awesome to you? I want that! I want that!
The word that is translated here is koinonia. It is used 19 times. The exact match is only used 9 times. It is frequently translated fellowship, but also communication, participation, partnership and giving is also used. If we limit koinonia to laughing and talking with friends over dinner we miss the power of this word.
When we broaden the scope of koinonia to include mutual partnering, loving, communicating and sharing what we have and who we are (that’s important) with someone; then we begin to understand what this word means. It’s not about having coffee everyone in a while for a pretentious chat. It’s experiencing life with someone…in this verse Paul is talking about your partnership with God.
Partnering with God???
Yes. We can partner with God.
God planned it that way. I’m not sure why, but again and again, I see God partnering with people, flowing through people to accomplish His divine plan in the Earth.
Paul said, Do you want your partnership in the faith to become effective? I want to be one of those people. I mean we are if we’ve be born into God’s family, but I’ve been challenged to access more of His Divine nature so my life can bring glory to His name.
Is God stirring your heart?
Do you want your partnership in the faith to become effective?
He tucked the key in his letter
…”as you fully acknowledge every good thing that is ours in Christ.”
Acknowledge means you admit, recognize, own or confess something as truth, but it also means “show” that you know something.
Paul says “fully acknowledge.”
It’s not enough to just know or have knowledge that there are benefits that belong to us. We need to acknowledge them; we have a role to play in the accessing them.
James 2:26 NIV “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
How do we fully acknowledge?
Begin to believe that you have access to all that is ours in Christ.
If it belongs to you, then shouldn’t you have it? Then receive it by faith.
2 Corinthians 4:13 NIV “It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,”
God literally SPOKE the world into existence.
Isaiah 55:11 NIV "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
I don’t totally understand why when I turn the faucet water flows into my sink, but it does so I turn on my faucet when I want water. The same way, I don’t understand why God spoke things into existence, but He did or why 2 Cor 4:13 “we also believe and therefore we speak”; yet the reality it is it works, so I do it.
Declaring God’s Word doesn’t put me into a group of extremist; that’s just normal for a believer.
Romans 4:17b ESV says that God “calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
2 Cor 3:2 NLT "Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold."
We need to speak God’s Word over our situation. We need to set our heart in agreement with God’s promises and boldly declare what we believe until we receive.
I want to give you some homework.
WHAT DO YOU SEE IN CHRIST THAT IS YOURS?
Write it down. Yes, I’m serious. Write it down.
What do you need to access from that list right now?
Find a verse that supports that reality.
Begin to declare that verse.
Will you pray with me?
Father, I pray that my dear friend’s partnership in the faith may become effective as you fully acknowledge every good thing that is theirs in Christ. I pray that they will have eyes to see what is rightfully theirs. Help them to see what you purchased for them. Help them to believe and receive by faith. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.