Things Only God Can Do
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another
Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth.
Years ago, I took a class called Experiencing God. In fact, I took the course three times. Each time I got more out of it. One of the things that stuck with me is things that only God can do. If you are going to join God in His work, you need to know where He is working. You have to be able to recognize His activity. Then when something around you happens that only God can do, you will know it's God at work. Even you being able to recognize it's God working is because God is doing what only He can do--in you! So when you see God doing any of the following, you can choose to join Him.
ONLY GOD CAN DRAW PEOPLE TO HIMSELF
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him...
No one will seek God or pursue spiritual things unless God is at work in their life. When you see a neighbor or co-worker asking about spiritual matters, you can know God is behind it. He is working. When a friend asks you to pray for them, you can know God is drawing them to Himself, putting it in their heart to ask for prayer. God draws us to Himself by causing us to be interested in the things He is interested in.
ONLY GOD CAN CAUSE PEOPLE TO SEEK AFTER HIM
There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
Only God can cause an unbeliever to seek after Him. Zacchaeus is an excellent example of a man who was seeking. When he heard Jesus was coming, he climbed a tree so he would be able to see when Jesus passed by. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree, He knew the Father was working, causing this man to seek after God. Jesus might have thought something like, "No one would make that kind of effort to see Me unless God was working in their heart. And we know the outcome. Zacchaeus and his family were saved. We are told to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33), and when we do, we can know it's because God is causing us to go after Him through the work of the Holy Spirit.
ONLY GOD CAN REVEAL SPIRITUAL TRUTH
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
When you got saved, you entered into a love relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit came to live inside you. He is there every moment of every day. He teaches you and reminds you of what you've previously learned from Him. When a verse comes to your mind when you are praying or thinking about an issue that you don't know what to do about, that's the Holy Spirit revealing truth to you through that Bible verse. At that moment, God's Word is living and active and relevant to your life. When you are looking for and asking God to show you where He is working around you, the Holy Spirit will alert you to God's activity in hopes you will partner with the Father.
ONLY GOD CAN CONVICT THE WORLD OF GUILT REGARDING SIN, OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND OF JUDGMENT
When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.
Any time you see someone being convicted of their sin, or being convinced of God's righteousness, you will know God is at work. When a person's eyes are opened to the judgment of God, it's because the Father through the Holy Spirit made it happen. These three convictions can happen to you, another person, or a group of people.
JOINING GOD IN HIS WORK
Keep in mind God is working everywhere--at your job, in your school, at church, in the grocery store, on the playground, at a sporting event, in your home, etc. Do you know who the Christians are at your job or in your school? Do you ever think about why God has placed you or other Christians in the place you are? Is it possible God's plan includes you? How will you know? These are all good questions. Before we go any further, let me tell you that you will need to have some probing questions ready to ask people when you cross paths with them. Here are some examples of questions to ask taken from the Experiencing God book:
How can I pray for you?
What can I pray for you?
Do you want to talk?
What do you see as the greatest challenge in your life?
What is the most significant thing happening in your life right now?
Would you tell me what God is doing in your life?
What is God bringing to the surface in your life?
What particular burden has God given you?
Begin by praying. Then pay attention to what happens next. If you miss the connection between what you prayed and what happens next, you may lose the opportunity to join God in His work. You might not recognize what God is doing around you. You will listen to their story and respond in an encouraging way, but you will not find out where they are spiritually. For example, suppose you are at work, and a co-worker is telling you about some struggle they are having with their child, or perhaps they are just having a bad day. You are remembering you asked God to show you where He was working and you are making the connection between that prayer and what your co-worker just told you. You recognize this as a chance to ask a probing question: "How can I pray for you?" Or "What do you think God is saying to you through this struggle?" If they look at you funny and tell you they haven't really thought about what God is saying, but that maybe they should, you can know God is at work. You can ask another probing question. If they proceed to tell you what to pray for, you can know you just joined God in what He is doing. And you have identified a person who is being drawn to God, is seeking God, is having spiritual truth revealed to them, or being convicted of sin, righteousness, or judgment.
If you are like me, you will have a hard time asking that first probing question. Try to keep in mind what your goal is. I have learned over the years that people aren't generally offended by your asking them a question. More often than not, the person will see you as caring and concerned especially if God is drawing that person to Himself or causing them to seek after Him. You are only getting involved with what God is doing; He is the One doing the work. Other advice I have heard is "get in and get out." Don't belabor the point. You don't have to see that person get saved right then or there. You are simply joining God in what He is doing. You may be giving them their first introduction to God. If you stay too long, trying to convince them of more truth than they are ready to hear, you run the risk of moving ahead of God. You will know by how they respond. On the other hand, if they keep talking or begin asking you spiritual questions, by all means, stick with it. If you are on the clock at work, you will probably need to schedule a time to talk further, perhaps as soon as you get off work.
The keys to remember when joining God in His work is:
Pray and ask God to show you where He is working
Watch to see what happens next
Make the connection and ask probing questions; listen
Remember why you are doing this
Know that what God begins, He will complete
And there you have it. These are some things only God can do, and He wants you to recognize these things when they are happening so that you will join Him in what He is doing whether He is working in your life, your unsaved neighbor's life or in a group you belong to at church. God is always working!
Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King: Experiencing God, 67-71