“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)
How often we need to deny the impetus to act or speak without the permission of our God. Many a “good” idea should be shelved. God spoke through Isaiah to a religious people: “I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.” (Isaiah 57:12) Jesus said: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
The subtle error of the religious man is to mistake the momentary heat of his own spirit with the sure leading of God’s Spirit. There is a time to question even our strong desires to do what seems right. “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” (Matt. 14:28) Looking back, Paul realized he had moved in a zeal that was not good. “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” (Acts 26:9)
Zeal is good, but it so often needs tempering. God must teach us to “go softly” before Him. (Isa. 38:15) He made the ambitious and headstrong Jacob to limp. (Gen. 32:31) Jesus is the paragon of perfect worship. He walked as we should walk. He did nothing of Himself. Let us follow Him, even if that means slowing down.