Most Christians I know are living with a regular sense that, although they are saved, there is a large gap between what they believe about God and what they are actually experiencing with Him. How can we remedy this struggle in the Western Church? By helping one another grow in our ability to discern the answers to the three questions:
- What is God doing?
- What is God saying?
- How does God desire me to respond to what He is saying and doing?
My focus today is on the issue of what God is doing in this present season. If I were to ask you over lunch today, “What is God doing in the world?” how would you answer me? My guess is that most would have to pause for a moment. The moment would stretch out a little awkwardly. I would eat a few bites of my salmon and asparagus, take a swig of my tea and then smile at you, eventually letting you off the hook because most of us have not given thought to the question of what God is actually doing in the world today. He is God. He is a living being. He has an intellect. He has emotion. He operates according to His own divine will. Because of this, He has to be doing something, right? God is not a casual observer. In fact, God is running the entire order of His creation. Sometimes, I believe we have this hazy notion of God being up there & out there, waiting for something happen somewhere. If we are not careful, we can live with the sense of God as being the One who stands stoically behind a plate-glass window, watching all of us live out our years in the human zoo that He built for us. He can potentially become, in our thinking, the God who is aware but not necessarily active.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
God is still, to this very minute, facilitating His plan to create for Himself an eternal family. That is as big of the picture as can be expressed concerning what God is doing in our generation. He is bringing sons and daughters to Himself. Because God is gloriously good, the greatest thing He can do for us is to share Himself. When He created Adam and Eve, His intention was to begin a family in His own image. He already had an entire order of angels whom He had made, but angels are not created in the image of God. He created humanity so that we might experience the astounding joy and immeasurable beauty of who God truly is. It is solid theology to simply say that God is so good that He could not keep Himself to Himself.
Because He operates continually in a divine nature of unbroken, perfect love, God has established His purpose to create a family whom He loves, who will love Him in return, and who will love one another with the same love with which they are loved by God. This is the overarching activity of God. Everything He does in His interaction with humanity falls under the umbrella of this design of God for the ages. God the Father is creating a family with whom He will spend and enjoy all of eternity.
Now, the question arises, “If this is what God is doing in my generation, then how is my own life responding to and aligning with this purpose of His?”
Allow me to leave a couple of considerations to this question before I more fully unpack it in the next post. Most of us want to know the practicalities of what God is doing in the world today. If He is creating for Himself an eternal family, then how do I get my own hands involved in that activity? How do I cooperate with God Almighty in an endeavor as grand as creating a forever-family?
I am going to suggest it begins with our consideration of the following items.
- Am I personally in God’s family? How can I know for sure? Are all human beings rightly related to God simply because we have been physically born? We need to know for certain that we have been brought into the family of God. This is not about religion. This is about understanding the difference between a physical birth and a spiritual birth. Jesus teaches that there must be a second-birth, a spiritual rebirth, for a person to enter into relationship with God. I am not going to explain the dynamics of spiritual rebirth right here and now, but I am going to ask you to ponder if you are personally certain that you have been spiritually reborn. There are answers for those who are unsure.
- If I am certain that I am in the family of God by virtue of a spiritual rebirth, then what is my place in this family? God, as Father, has made me a part of His family. Because of this, I now have assigned identity and purpose in Him. I am in this eternal family of God for a reason. My life is not insignificant. There is a reason for me. God knows who I am and has something for me. He desires to accomplish something in me, with me and through What my life is all about is to remain attached to what God is doing. How then is what I am doing with my life being aligned with what God is doing in the world today?
- If, as I consider what I am doing with my life, I discover that I cannot clearly see how it connects with God’s purpose of creating a family for Himself, am I living outside of His purposes for me? How can my teeny-weeny life merge with God’s unfathomable, immeasurable activity? Who makes this happen – me or Him? What do I need to do to become engaged in what God is engaged? I want my life to connect with my Father’s plan, right? I do not wish to waste my life living independently from what God is doing in the world today, right?
- Finally, am I courageous enough to consider that the spiritual disconnect I have felt is related to the possibility that my life is being lived out in ways that have little to do with what God is doing in the world today? As all humans desire peace, purpose and meaning in life, could it be that experiencing these things in full is still wholly available to me? Is it possible that, if I could learn how to merge what I am doing with my life and connect it to what God is doing on the earth, that inward sense of missing components or my incomplete understanding of why I am here might be remedied? Can I truly find meaning to my life and my purpose for being here at such a level that my life becomes something completely different than what it has been up to this point?
The answer is Yes. When, as human beings, we enter the family of the Divine Being, we then qualify to participate in what He is actually doing. Identity is rooted in who we are. Purpose is discovered in living out who we are. God has both identity and purpose – these two realities in Him never operate independently from one another.
He offers both of these to every one of us in His family. God wants us to first become confident in our identity. Then He can release us into our purpose. Most people reverse these two things. They commit to a stream of activity and assume it will lead them into their identity. It does not succeed that way. God calls us to family first, then He releases us into mission and purpose.
Later this week, look for another post to resume this train of thought. Keep pressing in with me into these three questions.