Without God nothing, with God everything
Growing up in Liverpool, football was the religion followed by most. I was told the stories of the great Liverpool teams of the 1970’s and 1980’s who had conquered all before them. King Kenny, Kevin Keegan, Rush, Toshack, Thompson, St John and many others were part of the Liverpool FC tradition that was handed down. One of the lesser-known players was David Fairclough. Known as SuperSub, he developed a reputation as someone whose introduction into a game as a substitute would change the (its) course of the game. Perhaps, his most famous moment was coming on against St Etienne with 20 minutes to go and scoring the winning goal with six minutes left. His impact on the match turned the tide, and the course of the competition, as Liverpool went on to win in the final. Without him, Liverpool were going out. With him, they went on to win.
This week, we are going to look at the radical difference that having God as a central aspect of our lives makes. Whatever position you find yourself in today, whether that be at home, in work, with friends, in education, on holiday, the awesome blessing that enters our lives when we have God right in the middle is so powerful that it can cause us to wonder how we managed without Him.
The phrase “Without God nothing, with God everything” is the story of the Bible. If the Bible were ever to be given a subtitle on its opening page, it may well be “The Bible – People’s experience of being with and without God”. Time and again we see the huge difference that God has in the lives of not only those directly affected, but those surrounding the situation and onwards, from that moment throughout history.
In Genesis, we read about the creation of the known universe and all that is within it. Without God, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. With God, the heavens and earth came forth, the light was separated from the darkness, stars flung into space, a world teeming with life and vegetation and creatures and all living things, overflowing with creativity and energy burst into existence. With God, everything.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” Col 1.16
For Adam and Eve, they experienced first-hand the differing circumstances that come from having a relationship with God. With God they had everything, all they could imagine to provide for their daily needs and wants. They walked in the cool of the garden with God. However, as soon as they turned away from Him, they were left with nothing. They were forced to flee from perfection and suffer the consequences of their actions. Without God nothing, with God everything.
Paul, apart from getting a new name with God, is a wonderful example of someone’s life being wholly transformed by meeting the risen Jesus. Without God, Saul spoke “murderous threats” (Acts 9:1) and made evil plans against the Lord’s disciples. He persecuted and caused great harm to the early church. However, Jesus changed Saul’s plans and chose him to become one of his greatest missionaries. With his name changed to Paul, he preached across the Roman Empire, over 10,000 miles, and even appeared before Caesar. Without God nothing, with God everything.
Over and over again, the Bible tells us the stories of those whose lives were changed and impacted by the presence of God. Moses whose life was turned round when he encountered God in the burning bush, David when facing Goliath, Jonah, Zaccheus, Peter and the thief on the cross, to name but a few. These are not merely fables or traditional tales to be told, handed down from one generation to the next, but they are living stories that inspire and speak to us of the amazing, life-changing impact that knowing God can have in our lives.
Jesus said, in John 15:4-5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
We, as Christians, are called into a daily life of walking with God, of having His presence with us daily. Of being able to talk to Him, to read his Word for our lives and to know that He faces each day with us. In Jesus, the victory over death has been won. We stand in His presence, by His grace, in His power. Our lives have been redeemed by his death and resurrection. We know the change that comes from accepting Jesus as our Redeemer. God calls us to walk each day with Him, so that our lives can be impacted and changed by his love.
John 10:10: I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
- What impact has God had in my life?
- Do I know the difference between living with God and without God?
- Will I allow God to speak to me and to make a difference in my life today?
A song related to this theme:
Today, I want to stand in the promise of the Bible, that when I turn to you, you will answer.
I want to be a person who stands firm and trusts You wholeheartedly.
I want to be unshakable and resilient in trusting you.
Develop that deeper trust in me.
Impact my life. Show your love through my actions.
Written by Rhys Williams