Who Can Do Everything They Ought To Do?
Edward Everette Hale wrote a story, ‘Ten Times One is Ten.’ In the story, he wrote, “I’m only one, But I am one. I can’t do everything, But I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
God’s word can be very clear about what we ought to do. Moses made it clear to the Israelites that they needed to choose to follow God and find life and good. If they turned away from pursuing their God, they would find death and evil, be cursed, and perish. (Deuteronomy 30:18,19)
It seems obvious one ought to choose life rather than death. Yet, what we ought to do, and what we do may not be equal. As Edward Hale said, we only do what we ought to do by the will of God. We always need the blessing of God’s grace and power beyond our own good intentions. Everything depends on God.
Our yield of goodness can be limited. Paul helped people become believers in Christ at Corinth. They began to live in the forgiveness and new life of Jesus Christ. Paul was followed by Apollos at Corinth, who also taught about Jesus and baptized some in the name of Jesus. Instead of focusing on Jesus and His grace and power, the people become divided into two factions quarreling as the followers of Paul or Apollos. They acted like humans, naturally becoming jealous and ready to fight over their misguided concerns. The Corinthians were focused on Apollos and Paul, not Jesus Christ, as if being a follower of either man was better than being a follower of the other.
Believing in Jesus needs to grow and produce a harvest in us where He is more important than anyone else, including ourselves. In speaking to the Corinthians, Paul made it clear that it was neither the one who plants nor the one who waters, but only God who gives the growth. We are God’s field. How we grow and what we produce in our lives depends on God. (1 Corinthians 3:7-9)
One is advised to remember Jesus came to earth to help God’s field of humans. We are human, or flesh, and what we ought to do gets limited in our lives. Only Jesus was able to do everything that needed to be done before God the Father. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way we can satisfy what God needs to be done by us.
Jesus clarifies that we are very selective about what we ought to do. It is easy to say the commandment that we ought not to murder. Usually, only a small number of people murder, but just as damaging as murder is anger at others. Insulting another is serious and calling another a fool makes one liable for hell. (Matthew 5:22)
Jesus clarifies that it isn’t enough to affirm we ought not to commit adultery. Looking with lust is committing adultery with another in our hearts. Thankfully, Jesus did all that needed to be done for us before God. Therefore, we try to do as we ought before God in love and honor to Him.