God created everything in the universe and then placed man as a custodian and manager of all that, thus establishing a relationship of partnership. Such a relationship then grows where both parties continue to take steps to manage and expand the existing resources. On His part God visited Adam and Eve in the Garden in the ‘cool of the day’ to guide, encourage and empower them in exercising proper control and to prepare them to face the onslaught of forces of darkness. This partnership was badly stressed to the point of separation when one party hid themselves from the other after breaking the covenant. The Messiah Lord died for us to lead us back into that same covenanted relationship and then blessed us with His continuous presence with us in the Holy Spirit to help us grow.
Rules of life from God – God created everything from nothing and a check was carried out at the end of each day about the finished work and after the final check on the seventh day, God declared everything as “very good”. The best from God was ready to be handed over to mankind and then God established the rules of management of His assets. Man was told to ‘be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth’ by starting a family, a man woman relationship in compliance with God’s command to then fill the earth with their offspring. With this expanded area of operation, man was commanded to ‘subdue and dominate the earth’, implying a physical and spiritual domination with use of force, where necessary (Genesis 1:28-31).
Who or what needed domination – The first step in creation process was the revelation of God’s glory in His Son to make the earth capable of partnering with God in creation. Darkness that was already present was separated from the light and only light was declared as ‘good’ (Genesis 1:3-4). God revealed the cause of the darkness on the earth as Lucifer who was ‘in Eden the Garden of God’ (Ezekiel 28:13). Mankind, though made a little lower than the angels, was thus tasked to dominate the fallen angels and not let them take control of the created things.
First partnership created – After declaring everything to be up to His entire satisfaction ‘God rested’ from His work. This rest was not due to fatigue of any kind but another command to mankind, I have done all this for you, now you take over and manage all this. The Creator remains the owner of all of His creation and we are His managers and custodians for all that is here is for this place only and cannot be taken into any other realm. To help mankind in their role, “God visited them during cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). In this partnership God established certain priorities for mankind – first and foremost, meet with God everyday to give report, share future plans for the next day and beyond, seek approval and guidance and authority for execution. The second one is for the family for the task to multiply is placed above occupation and domination which cannot be carried out without increase in numbers. The third priority for man is about his work and responsibility in compliance with God’s will for each individual. There cannot be any deviation in the listing of priorities for life for a man for that would lead to sin and dissatisfaction.
God’s presence and empowerment – The daily meetings with God are necessary to ensure accountability and to receive the necessary resources for the next day. It is then that God becomes ‘my strength, my shield and my glory’ (Psalm 3:3-4), the strength needed for the task, protection from the forces of darkness and my glory or my uniqueness in God. God as a partner empowers and protects me to permit the flow of His glory into me to impact the earth through me. Jacob was promised by God ‘I will be with you wherever you go and I will bring you back’ and under God’s Divine hand Jacob prospered (Genesis 28:22). For this only Moses prayed to God, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here’ to move into the Promised Land (Exodus 33:15). Both parties to the partnership have their roles well defined, though God has never defaulted nor will default in His responsibility. It was due to our sin that the control over what was given to us got transferred to the devil and his forces.
Restoration of relationship – God’s Son came to the earth from heaven with the sole purpose of taking back all authority from Satan and hand it over back to mankind. On the cross, making full payment for the lost rights, when Lord Jesus that all things were now accomplished, He cried out, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:28-30). This declaration was in the same manner that He had made on completion of the work of creation. God saw that the completed work was very good and the Son ascended into heaven in all authority and power to be seated at the right hand of the Father. To help us understand the use of His power seventy disciples were sent out and they returned rejoicing that “Lord, in Your name even the demons are subject to us” (Luke 10:17). The same task was again given in the ‘Great Commission’ to go and dominate the earth and subdue it’ by making disciples and winning over the lost back to God’s Kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20).
Changes in the new partnership – God visited mankind everyday to guide them and now the change is that God in His Spirit is with and within us every moment of our lives to ‘teach us everything’ while we still operate in His authority. To help us overcome our fears this indwelling Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of fear, but of power, love and self control (2 Timothy 1:7). Due to His continuous presence with us there are reduced mistakes in His authority, no fear and we are empowered to defeat the enemy and also forgive others in love. Task also remains the same that is to dominate the evil forces and Lord Jesus in letters to the seven churches, promised special rewards to those who resist and overcome the forces of darkness (Revelation 2 -3). Lord Jesus, through the parable of the rich man and his three servants who were given talents of gold, has taught that those who multiplied the gifts were rewarded with more responsibility and a blessing to ‘enter into the joy of your lord’ (Matthew 25:14-30). Everyone who enters this partnership with God through faith in the Son is assured of a place in heaven but entry into the Lord’s joy is for hard working servants (John 14:2-3).
God’s additional contribution to the partnership – Lord Jesus has promised that ‘whatever you ask in My name that I will do so that the Father is glorified in the Son’ (John 14:13). On earth Lord Jesus partnered with the Father to bring Him glory declaring that the ‘Father who dwells in Me does the works’ (John 14:10). He obeyed God the Father in everything that ‘not My will but your will be done’ in everything and that is what we are expected to do. Those who surrender to Him and believe in Him are then empowered to do “the works that I do he will do also and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12). After finishing His work, “He was received up to heaven and sat on the right hand of God and they (the disciples) went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:19-20).
What does God do for success of the relationship? – First, He pays our debts – The all knowing God permitted us, the managers of His estate, to run it into the ground because of our reckless living. The option then would be to either shut down or create everything anew and God chose the second option. He took over all our liabilities, erased all records of our crimes and then opened an unending line of grace and mercy for us. His only Son joined the partnership, paid all the penalties and then made us joint heirs with Him in all heavenly riches.
Second, He supplies all the needed resources – He declares, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is mane perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). And then He showed us the way to multiply our resources in Him for He fed 5,000 men (families) to their fill with 12 baskets full of leftovers with only 5 loaves of bread and two fish. He looked unto heaven and now He is seated on His throne with all authority and power to meet all our genuine needs for He has chosen us and become our Shepherd to clear all our wants. When He sends us for His work, His command is ‘Do not take anything for the journey except a staff’ (Mark 6:8) for He supplies all our needs.
Third, He entrusts to us the chief work not unimportant things – He planted the Garden and gave us custody and once again, the difficult work was done by Him on the cross with rights restored for us to reap. He treats us not as servants but as friends for a friend knows the plans and thus reestablished a close relationship of trust (John 15:15). The assurance of doing greater works than Him though we are made lower than the angels is promise of His love for us and it is in this blessing that the first sermon of Apostle Peter saved 3,000 souls (Acts 2:41).
Four, He trains and prepares the workers– ‘We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works’ (Ephesians 2:10). The indwelling Spirit of ‘power, love and a sound mind’ is to teach us everything and to train and empower us to do great works (2 Timothy 1:7). For this task the weapons given by Him are ‘mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds’ of the evil forces to help us overcome (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Five, He not only prepares the instruments but He also prepares the works – He has chosen us and we are ‘created in Christ Jesus unto good works; which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10). All of our works are prepared for us and we have to receive them and rejoice for success is assured in following Him. The gifts of the Holy Spirit help us to understand a grieving heart, warn a hardened heart, and lead all to the Savior Lord (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). The fruits of the Spirit are evident in our works then and though we fumble and fall but He lifts us up (Galatians 5:22). In his strength, under His guiding hand then, I labor striving according to His working which works in me (Colossians 1:29).
Six, He rewards abundantly – In addition to various other things Lord Jesus has promised that “he that overcomes shall sit with Me on My throne” (Revelation 3:20). The servants who had doubled the investment were told by the master, well done, take greater authority and ‘enter into the joy of your Master’ (Matthew 25:23). Ultimately all workers of God ‘shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’ (Revelation 20:6).
What is expected from us? – We must understand that God does not need us but He desires our partnership. He permits us to do something to bless us and to give us a sense of achievement and joy in that. Each person is gifted differently to make each one of us unique in a special way and ‘Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us; let us use them’ (Romans 12:6). Wherever your individual gift is being expressed as an extension of the joy of the Creator; you are in Christ, redeeming the world, delighting the Father and blessing others. Our role in God’s work is to attempt great things by giving our best and that is we are to love the LORD your God with all, not half or less or more, your heart, soul and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). All that I have from Him I must use for His work. How do we do this?
First, to recognize and surrender to His Sovereignty – He is God and we do His work and in this it is not what I can or am doing for the Lord but what is the Lord doing through me? If I find some gifts from Him, unused in me then I ask Him for Jabez did and God gave him what he had asked (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Second, recognize the necessity and our obligation to work for and with God –Lord Jesus was and is fearful of this that the ‘harvest is plenty but laborers are few (Luke 10:2). We are a channel of His grace, His ambassadors and His abundant supply of grace may be unused due to our failure while we have everything from Him.
Third, to follow His plan as per His ways –God commanded Moses, ‘Be sure that you make all according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain’ (Exodus 25:40). God provides detailed plans for His work and we must follow that exactly without any deviation. And then He provides us the resources, ‘I have called by name Bezalel – and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship’ (Exodus 31:2-3). He also provides the necessary craftsmen to follow His plan. It was God’s plan that Philip was moved from successful work in Samaria to the desert so that the Gospel could reach the African nations (Acts 8:26). In like manner, Apostle Paul was stopped by the Holy Spirit to go to Asia and sent instead to Europe first. It is His work, His guidance, His power and His support for us to produce the best results.
Fourth, to work in His strength – His power flows into this partnership for clearing all obstructions for we fight a spiritual battle and an invisible enemy is to be tackled by us through God’s omnipotence and presence. He assures us of this that ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses to the end of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).
When Lord Jesus left to be seated at the right hand of the Father, he left His Church to do His work so that when the sick, the suffering or the lonely ask ‘Where is God, we should be there as His partners representing Him. Real partnership on our part is that ‘Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him’ (Colossians 3:17). In this our success is measured in doing our best even when not seen by anyone else. But we should never forget that He always watches and we are answerable to Him alone.
God made us in His image and likeness that we occupy His creation and subdue it in His name and authority. We are to walk in His plan, His strength and under His hand of guidance for in this partnership He is the higher and exalted partner. By avoiding doing His will and attempting to follow our own paths we violate the tenets of this wonderful relationship and stand in opposition to Him. Gideon partnered with God and defeated a mighty army with only 300 men for God was with him and only He gives success (Judges 7: 21). But am I ready for this blessed relationship?