Sunday, March 25, 2012

How can I have God's perspective of living in a dying world?

Why do bad things happen? What kind of loving God......? Questions which cycle through with each generation. What is God's purpose? What is on His mind? How can I know it? Having the mind of Christ, and understanding God's overarching will and purpose "is" an attainable truth! His truth is not hidden from us, though some work is certainly intended for our disclosure of it. So, how do we have this mind? How do we know His general and specific will? How can I have God's perspective of living, while in this present world? This question assumes what I hope is already obvious. We will not be in the presently provided vehicle (our human body) forever! Whether a predetermined, or yet determined, number of years ....our time on Earth is, as Scripture states it, but a vapor. With that understanding in mind, it would only behoove you and I to share The Creator's perspective while we are here; His perspective on "things", on our "health", our "outlook" on living. His word has plenty to say on this subject.

"Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish." (Psalm 146:3, 4 ESV)

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)

God's word, and His direction for living, are not vague, inconclusive, or uncertain at all. What "is" uncertain is our own willingness to observe and obey what He "has" instructed.

Let's begin this discussion with some self-disclosure, a statement of truth, an agreement between us... if you will. Truth is.... we only want to know God's will in two ways most of the time.....
1. We want to know His will when we feel hurt, abandoned, confused, or uncertain.
2. We want to know His will in how it can benefit us.
What is equally true is that we want a hands-off God when things are going well, or when things are going our way.

It would do us good to understand that He is either Lord "of" all, or He is not Lord "at" all. As elementary as it sounds.... this is the real root of the problem. It proves that selfishness and sinfulness are nearly synonomous words.

So, if we don't really think that we need God (at least actively speaking) when life is "ok", what does He have to do to have a complete relationship with us, to demonsrtate His Lordship to us, to get our attention for what is further beyond our understanding than the tips of our noses? To save us from ourselves? Most often, the answer is "friction", to put it in a pleasant term. Trial, testing, or difficulty ...are more expressive terms. We want a God who saves us when we are drowning, and who leaves us to our own decisions otherwise. This may be the very God we get.

"The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven't yet come to the end of themselves. We're still trying to give orders, and interfering with God's work within us.― A.W. Tozer

"It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply." ― A.W. Tozer

Let's observe, from His word, a statement about these very realities.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)

Q: What are "blessings"? 
They are gifts from God, and what God makes, or provides, is good (vv. 16-17). "Blessed" is the man; not necessarily successful on his own, but for God's purpose and Christ' cause. Would you consider God's servant, Job, to have been blessed? We all know the story; how God allowed his family, his wealth, even his health to be taken away. Does this conclude that Job was never "blessed"? Job's health, wealth and his family were all God's provision to begin with, His to take away if He wanted. Let's be perfectly clear. I do not observe that it was God's desire to rob Job of these provisions. Instead, it was God's goal to draw Job even closer to Himself, for Job's "eternal" good, and God's glory. We put too much stock in stuff; the provisions, even the blessings, we aquire in this world. This dependence clouds our view of God's "true" goodness, His eternal goodness.

Q: What is "the test"?
"Trials" are allowed for our growth in the Lord, and dependence upon Him.
"A crown of life" is promised. Christ' own crown was painful and meant to mock and humiliate Him! Will your crown be one of your own glory?? Or will any achievment you experience be for His glory, and redirected to him?

"Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.(James 1:13)

"If we are free to praise God, then we must be free to curse God. The very nature of our divinely given freedom makes evil possible." -Norman L. Geisler | If God, Why Evil

Liar, leunatic, or Lord?? Each must decide, and God's gracious allowance of free will allows you and I to choose, this day and each, whom we will serve. A flawless, sinless, perfect Lord cannot be tempted by evil. He is not the instigator of evil, yet He allows you and I to choose His goodness or our own decided evils. His interest is righteousness; that none of His created should perish, but have everlassting life in presence with Him.

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.(James 1:14)
It is our free will to choose what we desire. No excuses of God pushing evil on us. No doubt, bad things happen to good people. We're all in this game of life together, and none of us is an island unto him/herself. Effects are rippled, good and bad, to others. When this happens we can grow or drown in our own sorrow. The choice is still ours ....separate and apart from our circumstances. This is a difficult statement to be sure. Yet when we stumble, or evevn fail, we have an opportunity made available to "depend" on Him.

"Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.(James 1:15)
Put simply... we have been warned of the results of selfish, God-less, desire and it's outcome. We are, here, without excuse.

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.(James 1:16-17)

If God created it, it is "good"! If He allows it, it is ultimately good for us.

"Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."  (James 1:18)

We did not, and do not, choose Him. We choose ourselves, and our own needs. Yet, through Christ ....God chooses us.

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8 ESV)