Monday, October 5, 2015

Invited into a Sovereign Plan

    I had the pleasure of being able to sit under the teaching this past Sunday of an African brother I met in Malawi. He made several good points, but one particular one stuck out to me: the idea of the sovereignty of God.

    Frequently, I find myself thinking a false idea, usually one I know is false but is so engrained in my mind that it has become my default system of thought. This is one of them. I know it's false, I knew it was false, but it has somehow become my default view of God. I have found one of the best ways of deprogramming my thinking is to publicly speak out against it and clarify what I believe to be true. That is a large part of the reason for this post.

     The false idea I frequently get in my mind goes something like this: God has a worldwide agenda He wants accomplished, the glorification of His name throughout the nations, or, as Dr. John Gillepse put it (and it will be forever stuck in my memory this way), to "make Jesus Christ famous in the earth." We exist to make Jesus' name and glory ring through the world. And up to this point, it's all true.

     But then my false thinking comes into the picture. Based on what I said above, my next thought is usually that somehow, I am doing God a great favor by involving myself in His scheme. Though I would never have admitted it in these words, I am too often left with the feeling that I am so how blessing God with my following and any sacrifice I endure in His name leaves Him that much more in my debt.

     Honestly, I think that's our default feeling. In an age (like every other) where entitlement is such a dangerous enemy, we feel we deserve the normal and comfortable life, and thus, anything beyond that in the service of Christ is radical Christianity, deserving of some kind of award or special favor from the most High.

    How far off that is from the truth! In Matt. 28, we see Jesus give the command that ultimately sums up the world-wide mission of the church. But there's a subtle attitude change with the way many of us see those words that needs to change in order to fully grasp what is happening. Too often, we come to this command with the notion that I am doing God a favor by joining up and helping Him out with His plan, as if it needed human help in order to succeed.

    However, that is simply not Biblical. In Lk. 19:40, the disciples of Christ usher Him down from the Mt. of Olives with cries and praises. When the Pharisees reprimand Jesus for His follower's actions and tell Him to command them to be silent, His response is that if these, His human followers, ceased to praise Him, then even the rocks would cry out in His praise. Similarly, in Eph. 2:10, Paul proclaims that every knee shall one day bow before God, and Rom. 14:11 says that every tongue shall cry His praises.

    None of these statements have any regard to human help or will. Rather, even the unbelieving world will one day bow the knee and cry out praise before God. So, what is the logical conclusion from these verses that shatters a deathblow to our comfortable view of our aiding God?

    Simply this. He doesn't need us. There, I said it. God has no need of human help in accomplishing His purposes. He said it himself in Lk. 19. If all mankind feel silent in their praise for God, then nature itself would cry out. And like it or not, every last one of us will bow down and glorify God. He will be glorified throughout the earth, both now by His elect and in the future by everyone.

    That's a concept that should change how we view our service to God. He doesn't need our help. Even if every man on earth gave all the strength he or she had in thwarting God's intended plan, it would change nothing. God's will prevails, every time. God has no need for human aid.

    So then, what is the purpose of our serving God if He has no need for our help? Very simply for two reasons. 1.) He is further glorified through the obedience of His servants, and 2.) We find pleasure and fulfillment in being obedient to Him.

    There you have it. We don't serve God because He needs our help; rather, we have been invited into His sovereign plan that will succeed with or without yours or my help. The reason we have been invited is not because of our spectacular gifts or earth-moving talents. We are invited into the sovereign plan of God for our benefit.

    Think about that! It's for our benefit! God doesn't need our help. He could just as easily attain the salvation of His elect by sovereignly revealing Himself to them in European cities and South American jungles as He could by sending human helpers in the form of evangelists and missionaries. In fact, it would be much simpler if He handled it all on His own.

    But He doesn't. Instead, He invites mankind to join Him, to find fulfillment in making Him known. Our greatest efforts or our most intense opposition don't change God's plans in the slightest. But He invites us into a sovereign mission to make His glory known throughout the earth, for our benefit, not His.

    Does that not give you a greater glimpse into the majesty and sovereignty of our God? He invites weak, fallible men to embark on a mission greater than they, then promises strength and grace for them in the midst of it. And as we, weak men that we are, find ourselves weak and in need of Him, He Himself is glorified in our weakness.

    We serve a God who will be glorified, with or without us. But He chooses to glorify Himself through our weakness and allow us to find our peace and fulfillment in Him along the way. What a glorious God!


  1. So true. Got doesn't need us, but he wants us anyway! :) I think a lot of us need to get that "God owes us. God needs us!" view out of our heads! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Woops! Meant to say *God* instead of got! :p probably means I need to go to bed!!! Haha :p

    2. It's okay to sound German if you want to. :)

    3. Haha! Ok! I do have a bit of German in me anyway :p