Turning Leaves Over

This past Sunday, the dear brother who was preaching God’s message to us read the following text from the holy scriptures:

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:  and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. — Psalms 70:4

Do we say continually, “Let God be magnified”?  Do we do it hourly?  Even daily?  Do we do it with both our words and deeds?

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy… — Psalms 107:2

Brothers and sisters, without our God we would be lost (both eternally and here in this life).  He has redeemed us, saved us, called us with a holy calling, and seen us through every day of our lives.  Do we give Him the glory that is due?

I once tried to speak from the pulpit on this topic, and I related a thought I had concerning the saying, “He turned over a new leaf.”  You have perhaps heard someone use this phrase during your life, but to whom does this saying give the glory?  Would saying something like, “God turned his leaf over,” be more suitable?

Some may be thinking, “Does it really matter?”  After all, that’s just something people say, right?  What difference does it make?

God’s word definitely makes it clear that we are to give God the glory.  We looked at two portions of scripture above which are clear on this point, and there are countless others.  We could also ask Herod, were he around, to tell his side of the story from the end of Acts, Chapter 12.  I wonder what he’d say…

So…does man turn over a new leaf or does God turn his leaf over?  I submit to you that no matter which is the case, God deserves the glory for both.  Let’s continue looking at this subject.

First, does man decide of his own will that he wants to be a better person, or does it take a divine act from God Almighty?  Consider the condition we were in without God:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. — Ephesians 2:1-9

In my last post I quoted a passage of scripture which tells us that love is of God and God is love.  We also looked at a scripture which states how He has changed our hearts.  His word teaches us that all good things come from Him.  Let there be no doubt, if we have any goodness in us it had to come from God.

Once we have been born of God (quickened by the sovereign act of God), the Holy Spirit dwells within us.  Christ Himself is within us!

…Christ in you, the hope of glory…

We now have the ability to see spiritual things, understand spiritual things, and seek after spiritual things. We now have the ability to repent, worship, and please God—an ability we did not have in our dead, natural state before He granted us spiritual life.  (See I Corinthians 2:14.)  At that point, our leaf has been turned over in a sense, just as Saul of Tarsus and countless others.

Is there anything for us to do at that point, or are we helpless puppets with God pulling the strings in the Earth Puppet Show?  I believe we do have responsibilities.  God did give man a free will to choose what he does as he lives his life here on earth.  Otherwise, why would He call on us to be obedient, to repent, and to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17)?

We certainly have a duty to obey God during our lives.  After all, “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6).  However, as we can see from the following scriptures, we do need God’s help:

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself:  it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. — Jeremiah 10:23-24

All our help and strength comes from God!  Let us always keep that in memory!

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. — Philippians 4:13

How can we do all things?  Through Christ!  Through Christ, how?  Because He strengthens us!

Therefore, though we may be tempted to say, “I turned over a new leaf,” let us remember who gave us the ability to repent, who gave us the ability to speak, who gave us the ability to breathe, and who upholds “all things by the word of his power”!

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
— Philippians 2:13

May we be diligent and pay special attention to give glory where glory is due!

…to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen. — Revelation 1:6

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