“How much of it is God and how much of it is you?”

I get asked this question from time to time when I’m coaching people in communicating the truths of God’s Word.  When teaching, my personality is clearly present and yet I do not hide the fact that the message must be moved by the Holy Spirit or it is lifeless.

It doesn’t take much for that question to “zoom out” and become a conversation about our spiritual growth in Christ.  How much of our pursuit of holiness rests on us and how much rests on God?

Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels

Before you answer, let’s settle ourselves back into 1 Timothy.  The Apostle Paul has been giving final instructions to young Timothy to set him on the right path as a pastor.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul adds weight to his command to his mentee, Timothy, by writing in 1 Timothy 6:13-16:

13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:13-16
New International Version

What exactly was Paul encouraging Timothy to do?  Most likely, it’s to persevere in his own faith and ministry.  This seems to match the timbre of this section of 1 Timothy.  He even ties it to the Second Coming of Christ!

The aging Apostle even tells Timothy to what degree he is to keep this command: “without spot or blame” (verse 14a).  Make no mistake, Paul wanted Timothy to “keep his nose clean” and produce abundant amounts of fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Looking at the details of Paul’s descriptions of God are a primer of praise for a Christian.

  • “God…gives life to everything” – the one who made humanity living souls.
  •  “Christ Jesus” – the Son of God and Savior of the World.
  • “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” – the Sovereign, all-powerful, magnificent Sovereign of the Universe.
  • “God…who alone is immortal” – Our God is the everlasting One who exists from eternity to eternity.
  • “God…who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see” – Referring to the flawless, searing, fiery holiness of God. 
We can join the Apostle in declaring to our God: “to you be honor and might forever.  Amen” (verse 16, my variation).

It is this Lord whose Name we bear as His ambassadors.  Whether we are Timothy reading this for the first time or a long-time Christian reading this for the 1,000th time, we need to remember Who He is. 

And yet, for all of this glory, magnificence, power, holiness, perfection, beauty, worth, self-sustaining ability, He invites us to stand strong in our faith and bear witness to Him.

What an honor: the King of kings and Lord or lords loves us enough to make a place at His table and send us out in the power of THAT Name.

And in case you’re wondering what my answer to the opening question is…I typically answer “yes”.  🙂