Keys to the Kingdom by Carolyn Tucker
When my Dad brought “me and Mom” home from that California hospital in February 1958, my parents understood that I was a newborn baby and couldn’t do anything for myself. They didn’t have grandiose expectations that I could keep my room clean, set the table, or read a book. They were just happy they had a baby to love and nurture. At the appropriate time, I eventually developed the ability to do what was expected.
You and Jesus have a lot of work to do together. You should be thankful you don’t have to “white-knuckle” it by yourself to get through everyday life. The work I’m referring to is “working out your own salvation.“ Only God has the unique blueprint for your life, so be careful if some well-meaning Christian comes to you with their instructions as to what you should do and how you should act.
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 NKJV). In order to mature in our Christian walk, we must renew our hearts and minds in the Word of God and come into His presence with an attitude of reverence. This scripture is not indicating that you can gain salvation through works (doing good deeds). It means once you become a believer in Christ Jesus, you don’t just sit on a stump while waiting to die and go to heaven. If you want to grow up spiritually, you’ll have to listen and obey God‘s voice.
In 1972, there was a popular song written and recorded by Tom T. Hall. I haven’t heard it for many years, but it impressed me in my high school days. “Me and Jesus” hit the country charts with a tremendous gospel message. Some of the lyrics are: “Me and Jesus got our own thing goin’…Me and Jesus got it all worked out.” The pastor, bishop, or priest can’t make you holy or get you to heaven. It all boils down to the fact that accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is when you really begin to live a life of purpose. His love for you will gently and precisely guide you in all your ways (see Proverbs 3:5,6).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). God is love, and love is what makes the changes in your new life in Christ. God loves you, and you love God and you want to please him in every area. Here’s the first verse to Mr. Hall’s song: “I know a man who once was a sinner. I know a man who once was a drunk. I know a man who once was a loser; He went out one day and made an altar out of a stump.”
When God fills you with His love and His Spirit, you begin walking together to become holy. I once heard someone say that no one is holy but God. That sounds nice, but it’s not true. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ’Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15,16 NKJV). God never tells you to do something you can’t do. By trusting Jesus as your helper, becoming holy is part of your spiritual maturity. Christians should know and believe that with Jesus all things are possible.
In John 15:5 NLT, Jesus says: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.“ I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a do-nothing. I’m going to stick to the Vine and allow God’s love to make the needed changes in my life.
The Key: Work (cooperate) with Jesus so you’ll mature and become what you ought to be.