We discuss faith and human effort based on Christ interactions with his disciples during two storms on Sea of Galilee. In the first event, the disciples panicked in the storm and shifted focus from work to pray for miracle. He released a miracle to end their ordeal and scolded them for lack of faith. In the second event, the disciples focused on work but got distracted by the glory of his presence. He encouraged them to keep working and released a miracle to end their ordeal. The interactions convey a message that God sees and encourages human effort of those that work on his task. If your task is motivated by seeking to fulfill God’s purpose and your methods and approach are consistent with Living in the Image of God: then, your task belongs to God. Focus on doing what you can humanly do. He sees your struggles and difficulties and will guide you to victory when and how he chooses. He has never lost a battle and will not ever lose one, including yours.
In this bible study, we discuss human relationship with God regarding faith, prayer, and human effort; based on Christ interactions with his disciples during two storms on the Sea of Galilee. In each event, Jesus sent the disciples to sail to a destination on the other side of the lake from their location: “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side’” [Mark 4:35]. Similarly, in the second event: “Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd” [Mark 6:45]. Therefore, the account of each event begins by establishing clearly that the task of sailing to the other side of the lake was assigned by God to the disciples. He was with them physically during the first storm. In contrast, during the second storm, he was not with them physically at the beginning but joined them later.
Christ interactions with the disciples during the storms reveal God’s view of human behavior during a hardship associated with seeking to fulfill his purpose. The study enables an understanding of how faith, prayer, and human effort work together to help a person navigate through difficulties when working on a task of God. Both storms ended with a miracle. However, in the first storm, the disciples had panicked and shifted focus from work to pray for miracle. Jesus released a miracle to end their ordeal but scolded them for lack of faith. In the second storm, in contrast, the disciples focused on work but got distracted by the glory of his presence. He encouraged them to keep working and released a miracle to end their ordeal.
The interactions convey a message that God sees and encourages human effort in his tasks and will guide you to victory. He sees your struggles and difficulties and will intervene with miracle as he chooses. Therefore, if your battle belongs to God, focus on doing what you can humanly do. He will guide you to victory in his way and at his time.
We discuss Christ interactions with the disciples during the two storms to understand God’s promise for those that encounter difficulties while seeking to fulfill his purpose. Further, we discuss criteria for evaluating your task and any associated battles to determine if they belong to God.
If you recognize a need, care about the needy, and commit to doing what you can to alleviate the need; then you have received a task of God. He will guide you and would perform a miracle as necessary to complete the task. We discuss two examples: one regarding the compassion and faith of a Centurion that invited Jesus on behalf of his servant; and another regarding Jesus’ compassion for a bereaved widow. The events show that God could intervene with miracle to complete human responsibility in a call to compassion.
We discuss two examples from Christ ministry to understand a relationship between compassion and faith. Compassion means a person recognizes the need of another and provides goods or service to alleviate the need. Faith in compassion means a person recognizes that a call to compassion is a task of God and that God will guide him or her to accomplish the objective. He will guide your human effort through and beyond your human capabilities.
In the first example, a Centurion had pity on his servant that was sick and recognized that Christ could heal his servant. He had compassion for his servant and faith that Christ will heal his servant. He invited Christ on behalf of his servant [Matthew 8:8]: “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Christ healed the servant in response [Matthew 8:13]: “Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.” The Centurion’s compassion and faith led to his intercession and resulted in healing for his servant.
In the second example, Jesus encountered the funeral procession for the only son of a widow. He had compassion on the widow, stopped the funeral procession, and restored the dead son back to life. As human, he had compassion for the bereaved widow: “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry’” [Luke 7:13]. As God, he performed a miracle to restore her dead son [Luke 7:14–15]: “…He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
The examples illustrate that God can perform a miracle to complete human responsibility in a call to compassion. Therefore, in responding to a call to compassion, focus on your human effort while having faith of God guiding you through and beyond the limits of your human capabilities.
Christ delivered the message of faith, human work, and miracles through his disciples on two occasions. You are committed to God’s purpose and motivated to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals; in humility through compassion, peace, and righteousness. Therefore, every battle you face belongs to God. Focus on your human work. He knows your difficulties, sees and encourages your effort, and will intervene to guide you to victory when and how he chooses.
God creates every person to represent him in interactions with others: to be for others what he would be for them if he lived with us in human form. He provides resources to empower every person to perform the responsibilities and blesses those that do. If your motivation is to perform the responsibilities and to follow methods and procedures consistent with Living in the Image of God, then every battle you face is his battle and he will guide you to victory.
Therefore, we can state the basis for our faith as follows. Seek to fulfill God’s purpose always. In humility, to be his representative among people that he places in your network: to be a channel for his presence among them and his human interactions with them; and a conveyor of his image and impact among them. Then every task and every battle belong to him. He will lead you to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals, when and how he chooses.
Thus, faith drives human effort. Your motivation is to perform your individual responsibilities toward fulfilling God’s purpose. In humility toward God and toward other people, you are committed to compassion, peace, and righteousness; and you focus on doing what you can humanly do. God sees your effort and wants you to succeed. Your battle is his battle and he will lead you to victory. He will determine if a miracle is needed and intervene when and how he chooses.
Jesus delivered this message—the message of faith, human work, and miracles—through his disciples on two occasions, in interactions with them during two storms on the Sea of Galilee. We discuss the interactions to understand our faith as the driver for our human effort.
God sees and encourages human work and will intervene with a miracle as he considers necessary. If your motivation and methods and approach are consistent with Living in the Image of God; then focus on doing what you can humanly do, because your battle belongs to God and he will guide you to victory. We discuss these principles based on Christ interactions with the disciples in their encounter with two storms. Both ended in miracles. However, he scolded the disciples in one and encouraged them in the other. Differences between the two help us understand human relationship with God regarding faith, human work, and miracles. Also, we examine David’s motivation and faith in his victory over Goliath. He focused on doing what he humanly could and received a miracle to end the battle.
We conclude our study series on Following God’s Schedule with a discussion of human relationship with God regarding faith, human work, and miracles. We begin with a discussion of Christ interactions with the disciples in their encounter with two storms on the sea of Galilee. Both storms ended with a miracle. However, Jesus scolded the disciples regarding their behavior in the first storm but encouraged them in the second storm. We examine the different interactions in relation to the behavior of the disciples during the storms to understand that God encourages human work that is consistent with his purpose; is aware of the human effort; and will provide a miracle as needed based on his consideration.
The study leads to an understanding of the basis for faith as a driver for human effort. If the motivation for your effort is consistent with God’s purpose and you are committed to methods and approach consistent with the principles of Living in the Image of God, then the battle belongs to God (see Following God Schedule by Living in His Image). Therefore, he sees your effort and wants you to succeed. He will determine if you need a miracle and what, when, and how. Therefore, focus on doing what you can humanly do—with faith of God intervening as necessary according to his schedule.
We use this understanding of basis for faith to examine David’s famous victory over Goliath. He was motivated to fight Goliath to remove a “disgrace to Israel” due to Goliath’s defiance and confirm that Israel’s army was the “army of the living God.” He expected victory because the battle belongs to God, focused on fighting as he humanly could, and won victory by a miracle that manifested through his human effort. God sees your effort in human work, wants you to succeed, and will intervene with a miracle as he considers necessary.
God’s schedule often consists of a sequence of tasks, revealed incrementally but not in advance. Completion of a task opens opportunities and conditions for the next task, irrespective of perceived success or failure. God provides input to accomplish a task but expects human effort to combine with his input. We discuss Christ teaching in interactions with a man born blind to understand Following God’s Schedule by working with him incrementally. Also, we discuss Peter’s escape from Herod to illustrate working diligently toward receiving and utilizing God’s intervention.
In continuing with our study series on Following God’s Schedule, we note that God often will provide his schedule as a sequence of tasks, revealed in increments but not in advance. As we discuss in a previous study under Human Relationship with God Regarding Work, completion of a task opens opportunities and conditions for the next task. Irrespective of perceived success or failure, the outcome of a task always leads to opportunities for a new task. Recognize and commit to the new task to advance in following God’s schedule. We discuss Christ teaching in interactions with a man born blind to illustrate God’s schedule revealed in sequential task increments.
Furthermore, each task includes a direct contribution from God and a contribution to be accomplished by human effort. God’s contribution could be closely tied with, and at times indistinguishable from, human effort and could occur before, during, or after the human contribution. We discuss Peter’s escape from Herod to illustrate God combining divine contributions with human effort to accomplish a goal.
Also, the end of a task at times indicates several options for a new task. Some of the options represent an attempt by the enemy to divert a person from following God’s schedule, whereas the other options provide opportunities to continue on God’s path. David faced a similar situation following his departure from Saul. He needed to protect himself from Saul but at the same time continue to build his reputation as a potential future leader of Israel. He identified his immediate and long-term needs and made choices based on satisfying the needs. We discuss events following David’s departure from Saul to understand his choices and staying on God’s schedule toward becoming king of Israel.
David’s choices during the period illustrate Searching for Next Step in Following God’s Schedule. The current study focuses on Christ teaching through interactions with a man born blind and the example based on Peter’s escape from Herod, to understand God’s schedule as a sequence of tasks to be accomplished incrementally through combined divine intervention and human effort. The next study will focus on understanding David’s choices following his departure from Saul, which illustrate Searching for Next Step to remain on the sequence of tasks representing God’s path or schedule to fulfillment of his promise.
Would you end 2018 understanding that God defines work for every person, divides the work into task increments, initiates each task, and provides the person guidance to proceed and complete the task on time? Christ explains and illustrates this relationship through interactions with a man born blind. Each task, if completed, leads to a miracle and ushers in the next task. To receive and complete your tasks, you need to stay connected to God: by praying continually, interacting with other believers in fellowship, and living in the image of God. You will receive his guidance, follow with faith, and complete each task on time to receive your miracle and guidance for the next task.
We invite you to end 2018 learning from Christ’s teaching on human relationship with God regarding work, through interactions with a man born blind. Christ uses the interactions to lead us step by step through an illustration of the relationship. Apostle John provides an account of the teaching and illustration in the first 39 verses of chapter 9 [John 9:1–39]. In the teaching, Christ explains that God defines a work mission for every person, divides the work into task increments with a performance time for each, initiates each task, and provides guidance for the person to continue and complete the task on time. Each task completed on time results in a miracle and ushers the person onto the next task.
The mission for the man born blind appears to be to start proclaiming the gospel message to all, using his life experience as physical evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and to illustrate the work aspects of human relationship with God. He performed the mission in task increments as God guided him. The biblical account describes the first three tasks and the beginning of the fourth. We describe the three tasks using a sketch format to emphasize the relationship they illustrate.
Each task description identifies an objective, initiation, instruction, outcome, and miracle.
Task Objective represents the purpose to be accomplished through the task. The objective of a task could be identified at the end of the task but is usually not obvious at the beginning. For example, when Christ told the blind man to “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” [John 9:7], he did not tell the man the objective was to gain sight.
Task Initiation represents something that God does to get the task started. For example, Christ anointed the man’s eyes with moist clay before giving him the instruction to go and wash in the pool: “He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay” [John 9:6]. We encountered an example in a previous bible study under Peter Escapes from Herod’s Prison, when an angel released Peter from prison and left him outside the prison gates to complete his escape from King Herod. God’s initiation of a task is at times contained in the miracle of a previous task. Anointing the man’s eyes with moist clay appears symbolic to illustrate task initiation by God. If all he wanted was to heal the man, he could have accomplished that just by touching him and pronouncing the healing.
Task Instruction represents a specific command to do something. God gives the recipient an instruction to do something: either a clear and direct instruction as in Task 1 or an instruction that becomes evident with the unfolding events as in Tasks 2 and 3.
Task Outcome describes the result of a task and includes a miracle.
Task Miracle Every task includes a miracle with the outcome. The miracle is an aspect of the task outcome that could not have happened through human effort alone.