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Struggling With All Energy. When you successfully struggle through a problem to safe ground, who gets the credit: you, God, or both?

For Discussion:

  1. In assessing the role of the human and role of the divine in our various human tasks, is it possible to know what credit should be given to each? At least four significant biblical passages suggest that the God gets the credit even when humans pour out all their energies in order to accomplish a particular goal. Or, with equally sincerity, one could say that humans pour out all their energies even when God is credited for the work being done.
    1. Colossians 1:28-29: “I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.” Who does the work? Paul. By what means? The energy inspired within him by God.
    2. Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Who actually builds the house? Humans, of course. Yet it is also the Lord who builds it.
    3. Philippians 2:12-13: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Even with reference to salvation, human energy is required; yet that human energy is described as something provided by God working within us.
    4. 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag?” (CEV) Everything we have and do comes to us as pure gift.
  2. John 16:5-15: Responding to truth. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. What is the role of the human in responding to the truth?
  3. 1 Peter 1:13-16: Gird up the loins of your mind. Can we shed any light on how God helps us discipline the mind? Or is it just hard work?
  4. Matthew 5:19-30: Cut out your eye. The context of this dramatic statement involves sexual thoughts. In seeking to maintain purity of thought, is it possible to adopt the passive role of “letting go and letting God”? What is the proper role for human planning and acting when it comes to protecting ourselves from temptation?
  5. Genesis 32:22-32: Jacob wrestles with God. Several questions are worth pursuing in connection with this famous divine-human encounter: What was the source of Jacob’s power and tenacity? What was God’s purpose in initiating this conflict?

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