Lately, I’ve been noticing a clear pattern in Scripture: God is always partnering with people to accomplish His will. While in some instances God specifically directs a person’s course of action, many times a believer’s own ideas and initiative actually spark a move of God. Consider these two stories:
Jonathan and his armor-bearer in 1 Samuel 14 – “Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few’” (verse 6). Jonathan said, “It may be that the Lord will work for us.” He had no direct word from God at the beginning, but his actions led to a powerful conquest.
The four lepers in 2 Kings 7 – “Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, ‘Why are we sitting here until we die?’” (verse 3). This conversation led to their plan to visit the Syrian camp which catalyzed a massive victory for God’s people.
Stories like these demonstrate the power of hope—an overall optimistic attitude for the future based on the goodness and promises of God. People of hope give God a LOT to work with because they believe the future will be better than the present and they have the power to help make it so. This “power to help” mentality enables us to join with God and take risks to try new things. People who do not have hope will tend toward passivity and fatalism, believing they are victims of God’s inactivity.
God partners with what we give Him to work with through things like:
Our prayers – “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:3)
Our declarations– “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” *Matthew 8:8)
Our skills – “(David’s) sling was in his hand” (1 Samuel 17:4)
Our encouragement – “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear!” (Isaiah 35:4)
Our faith – “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’” (Mark 2:5)
Our love – “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Our prophetic acts – “Then (Elisha) said, ‘Take the arrows’; so (the king) took them And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground’” (2 Kings 13:18)
Our mind renewal –”Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)
Our worship and praise – “(Jehoshaphat) appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 20:21)
There are many other ways we can give God something to work with, and these biblical examples illustrate a few:
A boy’s lunch fed 5,000 (Matthew 14)
David’s slingshot skill defeated a giant and saved a nation (1 Samuel 17)
Water put in six pots created wine at a wedding (John 2)
A jar of oil multiplied to pay off debt and create abundance (2 Kings 4)
Four men brought a paralytic to Jesus, and he was healed and forgiven (Mark 2)
Seven days of circling a city, then a shout, caused a fortressed wall to crumble (Joshua 6)
A tree thrown into bitter water made it sweet (Exodus 15)
We not only need faith in God but also in what He has given us. When we activate our faith by taking steps into the unknown, we keep our angels busy with kingdom-advancing work..
People whose hope is being ignited believe: there is always a solution (1 Corinthians 10:13), they will thrive no matter what happens (Philippians 4:11-13), they will see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13), and even the little things they do make a huge difference (Zechariah 4:10). These beliefs will dramatically increase the likelihood of giving God great things to work with.
What can you do to give God more to work with? Here are some ideas which will help keep your angels and the Holy Spirit busy and which will cause many good things to happen:
Become very skilled in at least one area of life
Be willing to do illogical things which do not make sense to the natural mind
Become the biggest encourager you know
Know that if something happens in the natural realm, something first has to be deposited in the spiritual realm
Develop the habit of speaking prophetic declarations
Develop your creativity and childlike wonder
God’s faithfulness will be powerfully displayed in our lives. As He partners with our faith-filled steps forward, we will see breakthrough, salvation, provision, healing, and victory for many as the fruit of our efforts. We can and will make a difference!
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.