I have observed for more than four decades, now, that good God fearing Christians, of which there are no better people on God’s green earth, have a tendency to take credit for the things that are not our doing.
God removed any permission we give ourselves to take credit for the good that God does when He said, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36), and “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)
Taking credit for the good that God does has always been the inclination of sinful men. From Adam to men of today, in Israel, and in the Church we all want to think that the good that we do originates with us. For this reason God warned Israel in the law,
“Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you.”
When a church seems blessed by converts, numerical growth, even spiritual maturity and obedience to God, who gets the credit? Not who should get the credit but who gets the credit? Who gets the credit in your own mind? Do you think about the fact that God is sovereign over His universe including the fact that He imparts gifts of faith, good motives, resolve, and even the discipline necessary to carry out desired goals?
Nothing that I am writing about is semantics, there is, however, a way of looking at life that gives God the glory due to Him or twists our perspective and we wrongfully give ourselves that glory. God repeated Himself in Deuteronomy in the very next verse,
“It is not for your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 9:5
It is God’s divine sovereignty in grace that brought the children of Israel into the land of their salvation and so it is for all of us that receive eternal life.
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
Yes, we are to work out our salvation but it is GOD that works within us to work and to will.
“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31