The God Operating System is what we desperately need to replace our own defective one. And I do mean replace, not over-install!
In struggling to convey the vital and basic truth that WE CANNOT but GOD WILL, I came up with this parable that I hope is simple enough to grasp.
You see, whatever your or my understanding of the scriptures and the gospel, it really only boils down to one fundamental fact: mankind is incapable of pleasing God, and Jesus died to provide IN HIMSELF the rescue package needed. See that? IN HIM! Not YOU. Entirely completely God, with nothing of YOU but your willingness.
Didn’t Jesus tell us that “No one is good except God alone“? Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19
Trust in self – who, ME?
We hide away the simple truth with all kind of human theories and beliefs. We kid ourselves because this truth is unpalatable to our souls.
Yet, trust in SELF is everywhere! There’s a fear of letting go of our own understanding and ability. There’s a self-dependency that pretends to be holy. There’s an arrogant trust in our own mental and physical talents! We seem to think that God will be impressed if we do something good or right; we won’t let ourselves see the true depravity of our situation, and how incapable we are of doing anything “for God.”
Trying to obey, striving to be good, working for him, offering up our talents to his service – none of this is truly biblical Christianity.
Aren’t you talking about non-Christians?
Here, I am talking to Christians, not unbelievers. We tend to think it’s others who depend on self. Yet how many Christians really grasp the fundamental and basic gospel truth?
How many are out there “trying their best”, following systems, struggling with sin and failure, lamenting their weakness, feeling like they are failing God most of the time (or even, conversely, making a stupendous success of some kind of ministry but by their own efforts)?
How many are worn out with trying and failing? How many despair of ever finding the secret to an abundant, victorious, triumphant Christian life?
Romans 8:7-8 “Those who are in the flesh CANNOT please God”.
How many accept the text of the bible about this, but have no understanding of the experience of it? I don’t care how many years it’s been since you became a Christian, you can still be “in the flesh” and not know how to live without it, yet trying to please God in the flesh is like trying to run Android apps on an Apple Mac.
How many repeat the words about being born again, about our death in Jesus on the Cross, about dying to self, about walking in Him, without a daily experience of those things? Without even an understanding of them?
God’s Unique System
So here as promised is a parable to try to illustrate this truth.
Most of us are familiar with computers, and operating systems. For the sake of this illustration it doesn’t matter which computer or OS, but the one you normally run. Let’s call that your normal life, yourself. The things you think, plan, do; the way you behave – your lifestyle.
This lifestyle is no doubt a Christian one if you are saved, and you have downloaded and installed a lot of Christian Apps to add to your OS.
Now perhaps you believe that’s all there is. People often do.
Now they have Christian ways and beliefs running on their computer, and becoming a major part of it, they are all set. All well and good – yet in the background are the same routines running, and the same habits prevailing, and the same inherent weaknesses that always cause your computer to “crash”.
The foundation of your Operating System is still the same old code you had before. Okay, you added the God Apps, but God never asked us to add the Christian app to OUR systems. In most ways those apps are incompatible anyway. They never work correctly or fully. They are designed for ANOTHER OS.
God has pronounced the entire Operating System of Man defunct, incapable, unstable, incapable (whatever word you care to apply, and in the case of Microsoft Windows you are already getting the point :)) No matter how you tweak it or dress it up, YOU are incompatible with GOD.
But you notice that I didn’t suggest you destroy the hardware, the computer! God didn’t write off the hardware, just what’s running on it.
This might come as a shock, if everything you do depends on that old OS. All your work, all your carefully honed programs, all your data – everything is there. Why would God ask you to delete all that. Surely he wouldn’t? What a WASTE!
Ay, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare wrote. It’s so hard to let go of the self-delusion that we are so important to God that He can’t do without us. It cuts into our human pride and self-esteem to think of ourselves as completely worthless, fit only for death!
Yet that’s exactly what God said.
The heart of man is irredeemably wicked [Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…“], and “no good thing” resides in his flesh. [For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Rom 7:18-19]
God doesn’t want to improve you, he wants to KILL YOU OFF. Isn’t that what we learned from the Son of God? Jesus did not start a massive improvement plan on earth, in fact he went out of his way to avoid it. Jesus didn’t come with a rulebook or a system to restore righteousness on earth. What he did was come to present himself as a sacrifice, to take the OLD to the grave, and leave it there.
Furthermore, Jesus did not remain in the grave. The essential truth is that, in rising from death, he provided IN HIMSELF, all that is needed for victorious human living on the far side of the Cross. He offers to take you to death with him, and raise you again with him. ALL that is necessary for life and godliness has been provided in Jesus (by means of the Holy Spirit of God) to resurrect your worthlessness and fill it with godly life.
Colossians 2:13 – “And you, who were DEAD in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made ALIVE together with HIM [and in Him], having forgiven us all our trespasses…”
- is your old life given over to God, and laid in the grave with Jesus?
- is your body, soul and spirit now filled to the full with the new life of Jesus?
- did you leave your self life in the grave?
- did you receive the new life of God?
To put this in terms of the computer analogy, what needs to be done is a complete reformat and clean installation of the GOD Operating System.
Oh no, not a clean install!
Now, speaking as one who has been forced to do this on a real computer, I know there is the scary moment when you have uninstalled/formatted your drives and now all you have is a black screen with a couple of lines of white text. At that point, between the old OS and the new, you feel like you are bereft of everything. There is always the fear: will this work? Will something go wrong and I’ll never get my computer back?
However, if you have faith, and you do it properly, within the day you will be up and running better than ever, with a fast clean install. You’ll need to get used to a new way of working, but in time everything becomes like second nature, and you can get along with the new system.
Fresh, New, Clean
This is similar to the process of surrendering yourself to God. Some who are “christians” in fact have NEVER done this, and need to (in effect) start from scratch. Others need a reinstall to reboot into a clean system after being contaminated with a virus, or so much bad software that nothing works.
But at some stage we ALL (yes, every one of us) need to lay down (uninstall, reformat) the OLD nature that has been in charge, and with that scary black screen in front of our tear-stained eyes, allow the Lord to install HIS “operating system” instead.
That’s “allow” because we cannot do it for ourselves. It is given from God. The nature of God is a free gift for which we humbly ask, having fully repented of all our old self-willed ways. It definitely is not a good deed that we try to do for ourselves.
Afterwards, not only will everything run properly, but it runs without our interference. Yes, you have no “administrator rights”! Are you comfortable with that? Do you trust God that much? Can you keep “hands off” and just let God run things? If not, it’s time for a complete reappraisal of how much you love and need God in your life.
- Where is victory? In HIM
- Where is understanding and wisdom? In HIM
- Where is righteousness? In HIM
- Where is love of others? In HIM
- Where is power and ability? In HIM
“no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Cor 1:29-31)
Christ Our Righteousness
God is called “The LORD Our Righteousness” (Jer. 33:16) and “Jesus Christ IS our righteousness” (1Corinthians 1:30).
The bible doesn’t say that becoming a Christian – as if it’s something clever that we did – makes us righteous; but we become the “righteousness of God” only by allowing Jesus the Lord to live in, and act in and through us.
We rest in HIM. We abide in HIM. That is the only biblical route.