We must commit our works to God by yielding our lives in His service. It doesn’t mean committing what we think or plan to do and expecting Him to bless it. The commitment must come first and must be to do only what He ordains for our lives.
Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)
I often come across an erroneous teaching to the effect that if we commit everything we do to God, He will make it successful. In principle, this is absolutely true, but it can be misapplied. The reason for this is that we have the order all wrong. Incorrect teaching implies that we can decide our own course of action and then commit it to God. The error comes in through the misunderstanding of the correct spiritual roles and interaction between thoughts and works. This effectively cuts God out of the critical part of the process – determining the works. He is relegated to the role of simply having to bless our choices and decisions simply because we then commit our works to Him. This isn’t working for God. It’s working for self and expecting God release His favour and power into something manmade and self-willed.
The dynamic of works and thoughts.
There are two ways that works and thoughts can operate – our way and God’s way. With our way, our thoughts drive the process. We think, plan, and dream and put together our preferences to determine the works we want to do. The works are the outcome of our thoughts. What this means is that they are actually the outcome of our will. Once we’ve planned it all out and made our decision, we then commit our works to God and expect Him to respond with favour. The problem, here, is that God will never share His glory. He won’t bless something that is of self and excludes Him from the crucial decisions. The danger inherent in this approach is that we effectively expect God to work for us rather than us working for Him. In simple terms, this is rebellion, whatever our original motive.
In God’s way, the works are His. They are determined by His will and purpose. Are thoughts are captive to the obedience of the mind of Christ. What this means is that we seek to obey God in all things. In this approach, we commit our works to Him even before we know what they are. We don’t go to God with a project proposal, looking for Him to rubber-stamp it. Instead, we go asking what His will and purposes are. We listen first with the spirit, then allow His Spirit to direct our thoughts. We’re still involved in the process, but it’s in surrender to the leading and direction of God. His works are released to us by His commands, which we then obey through our thoughts which then enable the works. God is totally and completely in control of the entire process from start to finish.
Commit our works means only the works of God.
There is also a big difference between our self-works and our works for God. We make a lot of plans and pursue any number of works that have nothing to do with the kingdom at all. The truth is that all of us are under construction and it takes a lifetime to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him. It’s a common human failing that we compartmentalise our lives. Some, we yield happily and willingly. Others, we hold onto and retain control over through our free will. But human nature is such that we expect God to bless both equally. Of course, by His sovereign grace, He may bless what we do. If He does, though, it’s for His purposes, not our benefit. He decides when and how to grant favour. He can and will use all our works if it suits Him to do so.
The truth this reveals is that only the works of God have relevance. If our works are self-gratifying – whether they are for Him or for ourselves – He won’t bless them. Works that emerge out of self thoughts will not automatically guarantee His approval simply because we’re born again. It has absolutely nothing to do with us and everything to do with His sovereign purposes. We must never imagine that simply because we commit our works to Him, He is obliged to bless them. God looks at the heart. He looks at the motive behind the commitment and the desire that drives it. If we go about our works the self way, our desire is not for the purposes of God. Instead of surrender, we desire that He bless our purposes and yield to our will. We want our will to determine the work of the kingdom, which is entirely backward.
We must desire to commit our works to God.
It’s important that we realise the importance of right desire. All committed believers have a desire to serve God. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t bother to commit our works. We all want to feel useful and productive in the kingdom. Today’s verse provides us with a very clear process. First, we must commit our works. This includes anything and everything. What this means is that we must desire to do only what God desires. We yield self will to His will. This means choosing God’s purposes over our own. It’s also something we do upfront. In essence, it’s rejecting any works that are not kingdom works and which we have not been directly instructed by God to do. To commit our works means committing ourselves to only do what He wills and desires. Only when we do this at the beginning will everything else follow His divine order.
Desire includes our thoughts. Once we commit our works to Him, we find that our thoughts assume the same desire. Instead of venturing off into self territory, they concern themselves with the works God desires. This, in simple terms, is obedience and is the outworking of our desire to commit our works. Instead of the mind driving the process, it becomes what God intended – a tool to implement His will through our lives. Our thoughts begin to desire what our spirit desires, which is to serve God acceptably. This is especially important when we remember that we were created with a particular purpose. Also, God has already created good works for us to walk in. This is what it means to establish our thoughts. First, we commit, then our thoughts are established in His purposes. Finally, what we think under the Spirit’s guidance becomes established as the actual works.
Commit our works and establish our thoughts.
The logical and common interpretation is that if we commit our works, our thoughts – what we planned – will be established or be successful. This is the worldly approach and completely contrary to what God expects from us. To serve God is set aside self and all our own plans, dreams, goals and desires. It’s to choose to do what He wants before we do anything. We must first surrender to a life of service to His will. The works are merely the outworking of a yielded life. Once we choose and commit our works, He gives us the right thoughts and establishes them according to His purposes. The wonderful truth is that, when we follow the process He has put in place, all we do will be blessed. Every work will reveal His power and glory and we have the great blessing of being always in His will.
Forgive us, sovereign Lord, if we have misunderstood or misused Your word to justify our own agendas. Help us to yield all from this point on. Stir up in us a desire to do only Your works, and establish our thoughts according to Your purposes. May Your will alone be done in and through our lives.