The Christian’s Identity: God’s Lowly Farmhand
God gives you a role in His work of growing disciples. But do you know your identity in the spiritual harvest? Are you taking yourself too seriously?
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.. Psalm 119:35-37
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:7–9
All progress in our personal lives and our ministry to others depends on God. He commands us to be diligent in our use of the means of grace and in our proclaiming the gospel to the world, but He is the One who ultimately changes hearts and brings about growth.
The Psalmist proclaims his delight in God’s law, but, at the same time, prays to God for help in following that law. As committed as he is to God’s word, his pleas to the Lord reveal an awareness of his dependence on God. Of course, delight in God’s law is a good, admirable trait. It is just not constant enough to be a reliable basis for one’s spiritual life. God will have to work because there are innumerable other distractions, like selfish gain and worthless things.
The writer of the longest chapter in the Bible knew his own heart. There were good moments when he could focus on the Lord and His Word with great exuberance. He is not being deceptive when he professes to love the law, but he also knows the weaknesses of his flesh. He can be drawn away by money and entertainment. Jesus warned His disciples against these sorts of things in His parable about the sower. He told them the good seed of the Word can be “choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” (Luke 8:14)
Paul, too, understands his dependence on God for fruitful ministry. The Corinthians needed to learn that they are indebted to God for their responsiveness to the gospel, not to Paul or Apollos. Their divisiveness was partly a result of their misplaced adulation of their mentors.
Think about it
Give all praise to God, if you are walking in His ways, maturing as a disciple and bearing fruit. He alone causes the growth. At most, our identity is that of unprofitable servants and God’s lowly farmhands.