Lay aside the old self . . . and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
–Ephesians 4:22, 24
If you are a parent, you have probably been through this before: Your child is having difficulty with a homework assignment and says, “Can you help me?” You agree to help, but pretty soon you find yourself doing the homework assignment while your child is off playing a video game. Or maybe you have found yourself in this situation: You are a supervisor at work, and you give one of your employees a task to complete. Two days later, the employee says, “I am not sure how to do this. Can you help me out?” And you end up doing the task yourself.
If you have ever had an experience like that, you are a victim of what managers call “upward delegation.” Upward delegation occurs when a subordinate gives back to a superior an assignment the superior had given to the subordinate. Many times you and I are not just victims of upward delegation; we actually practice upward delegation, especially in our relationship with God. We try to give back to God responsibilities that He has given to us.
For example, let’s say there is a single mom in your Sunday school class or small group. She shares, “The transmission in my car has gone out, and it is going to cost $600 to repair. Would you pray that God will send the money?” So you pray, “Lord, we have a dear sister in need. Please send her the $600 she needs.” Now, everybody in the group could have coughed up fifty dollars and paid for the woman’s transmission. In fact, James 2:15-16 says if we see a fellow Christian in need, we are to be the ones to help. We do not give that responsibility to God; He has given it to us.
Or maybe you have a relative who is not a Christian, so you pray, “Oh, Lord, please send the gospel to them somehow. One night when they are watching television, please miraculously change the station to Pathway to Victory so they can hear the gospel and be saved.” That is upward delegation–in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commissioned you and me to share the gospel.
Or maybe you are tired of a mediocre Christian existence, tired of being addicted to sin, so you pray, “Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I can experience the new life You have for me.” As wonderful as that prayer sounds, it is upward delegation. Being filled with the Spirit is not God’s responsibility; it is our responsibility. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” It is a command: you, be controlled by the Spirit of God. There is a lot of confusion among Christians about what things are God’s responsibility and what things are our responsibility. So this week, we are going to look at three works of God and who is responsible for each.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “If It’s Going To Be, Is It Up To Me?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.