UCOG Blog Logo
News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 16, 2018

Well begun

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

"Where there's a will, there's a way" was the proverb that was the subject of last week's "Thoughts for the Sabbath". In this "Thoughts for the Sabbath" we consider another saying that is related to the last one: "Well begun is half done."

When Jesus asked the man who had been lame for 38 years if he wanted to be healed, the lame man's answer did reflect his futile attempt to "begin well": "While I am coming, another steps down before me" (John 5:7). He did exert effort – the effort he was capable of in his condition – but he wasn't fast enough. He lacked the strength to be the first one to reach the pool once the water had been moved.

God wants us to overcome sin. He can provide us the will and the power to do so: "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). But God can only do that if it is also our will to do so.

But if our will just stays our will, then there won't be any way that ensues.

The dictionary defines "overcome", among other things, as: "to get the better of, to surmount, to overwhelm, to gain the superiority, to win" (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary).

Some people think that being a Christian means that you just relax and let Jesus do everything for you once you have accepted Him as your Savior. That concept contradicts the scriptures, as seen by what Paul wrote to the Philippians: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

If we want to work out our own salvation on our own, without additional help, we will be like the lame man, who tried to "begin well" but never made it to the water on time. That's why Paul tells us in the next verse that God is able to provide to will and to do God's pleasure. But His gift of empowering us to will and to do won't help us if we aren't willing to work ourselves and achieve with His help what we would otherwise be unable to do.

To summarize: To will will never lead to a way unless one "begins well" by exerting effort.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


internal links:


search blog: