What Does God Really Know about the Things Others Don’t See?


My ShameIf God knows all about himself, creation, and all of history; then, how much does he know about the personal and often times hidden details of our lives? In Psalm 139, a description is recorded of what God knows about who we really are. The psalmist says that He is intimately acquainted with every detail of our lives. Many people will profess that they believe that God knows everything. However, when attitudes, behaviors, and motives are examined under the scrutiny of how God views the reality of our lives, it might be concluded that we really do not believe or maybe we really do not care what God thinks about what is happening today in our lives. Therefore, do we really believe that God has infinite knowledge and if we do what does he know about us?

He knows all our failures and yet still loves us. In Psalm 69:5 it says, “My sins, O God, are not hidden from you; you know how foolish I have been.” How embarrassing it is that God knows everything about us. The fact is, sometimes we want to forget the omniscience of God because it’s a little uncomfortable. It is painful for me to realize I don’t have any secrets from God. There are some things I’d rather God not know about me. But I don’t have any secrets and neither do you. God knows everything.

When we do something wrong, we try to hide our sins, sneak them past God, put them in the closet and lock the door but God knows what’s behind that locked door. Remember Adam, who when he sinned, ran away and hid– as if you can hide from God. When God came down walking through the Garden and asked, “Adam, where are you?” Was it that he did not know the answer already? No, but rather when God asks a question we must understand that it is never for information, never for His benefit. God knew exactly where Adam was. Adam needed to know where he was. Remember what God asked Cain, “Where’s your brother Abel?” Abel had been killed and He wanted Cain to admit it.

In Proverbs 5:21, it is recorded that “a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths.” We always have an audience. Nothing can ever be said that is “off the record.” God is always watching, we are always on stage, there is no secret closet. Everything that is thought, everything seen, everything felt — God sees it all. He knows all about it.

That means this week when you were on your diet and you got up for one of those midnight refrigerator raids and you open the refrigerator or freezer and think, “Just one bite…” The devil has a line for us then. He says, “No one will ever know.” So we go ahead and do it and then, afterward he hits us with another question, “What if they find out?” “What if my parents find out about what I’ve been doing– My wife/husband—boss– IRS?” And worry sets in like a nagging case of indigestion. Unfortunately, we have already been found out. God knows and He’s the one who counts. Yes, he knows all of our faults and failures.

The truth is that God is not shocked by my sin. He’s already seen it. He saw it coming. When we confess to Him the things we’ve done wrong, He’s not shocked. He saw it coming: “I know, I understand. I know why it happened. I know why you ended up in that situation.” He understands our faults and our failures.

What should we do at this point? Just be honest with God. Just admit it. The Bible says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Just admit that we are not fooling anybody. “You’re right God. I was wrong.” God knows everything about me. He already knows all I’ve done wrong and He still loves me. When I admit it to Him, it never changes the way He feels about me, because He already knows. He loves me and He loves me unconditionally. That means I don’t have to fake it, I don’t have to pretend.

Proverbs 28:13 tells us that, “Cover ups never work.” especially toward those who it counts most and that’s the Lord. God knows all my faults and failures.

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Being Who God Created You to Be: Life on Earth Is a Temporary Assignment


life-is-temporaryIt is an interesting to watch how people in the 21st century occupy life with so much activity focused upon self-absorbed experiences that adds little lasting value to any future life.  Many people pursue a life without any defined existence coupled with a belief that life will go on forever as it is today.  In the culture of the church, this is most evident in the dramatic shift to blending contemporary idealism, music, and teaching.  At the same time, a predominant perspective emphasizes the importance of life in the present more so than past generations.  Some of the themes that characterized recent past generations are expressed in the songs people sang about heaven, eternal life, and overcoming trials in the present.  The obvious theme expressed resonates that that the experience and decisions made in daily life occurrences have a real connection to eternity.  The paradigm shift has resulted in a secularization of popular ideals moving life focus away from an eternal perspective to a collaboration of ideals about current existence. While the content of life today is important, there is the danger that God has been exiled to the corner of private religion and is not a consideration in the real nuts and bolts of everyday life or public dialogue.  In fact, there has been a fundamental shift in the emphasis away from thinking of life in eternal terms to a life of what matters now to the experience of me in the 21st century. As a result, this radical shift in attitude demonstrates a critical change in how personal meaning relates to daily life experience.

Furthermore, there is a deeply engrained preoccupation with significance built upon the immediate value of experience to self, instant gratification, and what personal benefit is gained. The system of this world-view is focused upon a temporal advantage to the immediate, rather than the long term benefit of future value. The result demonstrates a defective understanding of life obsessed with the present coupled to feelings of entitlement. The outcome that must be coped with is emptiness and an experience of building an occurrence of life filled with circular efforts to fill the void left by abdicating a life built upon eternal values. An important point of reference is the present day high focus upon pluralism in spiritual ideals and how values are re-spun from collaboration into a collective thought that express generic view of spirituality.  An example of pluralism in today’s culture can be seen through a view of life that is very much influenced by eastern philosophy. The predominant preponderance of ideas about life today has moved away from “sweet by and by” idealism to an emphasis upon the here and now.  The idea seems to support the notion of being effective with as little difficulty as possible. However, in the present atmosphere the importance of the cumulative experiences of life in being who God created you to be loses its meaning and purpose when life is reduced to the present momentary conditions of existence.

Consider the impact of valuing the present without consideration of the past and future.  The value that it expresses is that the measuring stick of life is the value of a present tense experience.  Unfortunately, an attitude about life that is disconnected from the past and detached from the future translates into a life that measures meaning through life in the moment.  Unfortunately, this particular view of life has transient, as well as, ever changing values, worth, and meaning that are never constant.  For instance, a factor in this way of thinking that may not be clearly understood limits every present moment to the temporary and in a moment be the past; then in another moment is the future.  Therefore, life only connected to the moment can only be measured by the value or wisdom the moment brings.  It is because life in the moment has no influence from the past and the present has no concern toward the future.  An example of a similar attitude is reflected upon in the writings of Buddhism, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly” (Buddha).  Other common expressions expressing similar ideas like, “Live, Love, and Laugh”.  The thought of this motto expresses a concern for the greatest good in present pursuit as a utopian maxim of the pleasure principle with no connection to the past with an absence of thought about an obtainable future.  It is just to relax in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest as if tomorrow has no significance.  The goal expressed is to produce the most pleasant existence that has vacated thoughts about the past complexities of life, what they mean in today’s experience, or what influence our life map has upon life in the future.  An application of this perspective summed up in a general way deposits a belief that purports life-philosophy, which states that a healthy balance in life is achieved by measuring existence in accordance with peace/harmony in the present moment. It is through a wise and sincere way of living that is disconnected with concerns about the past, as well as, an absence of worry about the future that makes life harmonious and peaceful.  However, the idea presented leaves a fundamental question about whom, how, or what determines what is wise without inclusion of a reflective process about life as a whole. The whole of life includes developmental experiences from the past and life experience today as a precursor to how life will be experienced in the future.

Considering the reality that every moment of life is a temporary assignment and life experiences are only here for a moment, it seems there is something larger that needs consideration.  For instance, examining life from a Christian point of view contextualizes life events in the terminology and perspective of a God.  The language and semantics of Christianity describes God as eternal, immutable, and not a momentary spiritual flash on the radar screen of time.  Consequently, when Jesus spoke of life that is potentially possible, He depicted life with words like eternal to describe life.

Listen to he words that Jesus spoke to those who listen to his message and believe in God.

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.  They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life”. (John 5:24, New Living Translation)

Without a doubt, Jesus spoke of life as eternal, not just a momentary experience, or a fleeting existence.  One of the questions contained in the thoughts of Jesus about life relates to who is shaping your view of existence.  Therefore, the question that is important to understanding why people live in the moment instead of with an eternal perspective is: who or what will determine our view of the human experience?  When we break the question down into a personal challenge, it is important to know whether we are measuring life in the moment, the experience, or the pleasure or pain of life experience.  On the other hand, we need to determine if we really understand the temporal nature of life and how everything in the present will, one day be, immersed into everlasting life prepared before the foundation of the earth.  It is a progression of life provided for in Christ’s redemption provided on the Cross, realized through spiritual transformation, and actualized in a life of faith through practical sanctification.  The importance of the question is that it reveals a deeper issue of concern for Christians.  The concern is directed toward the content of a Christian world-view and the message about the transient nature of the past, present and future life in the grander scheme of God who created us to live through eternity.

Your identity is settled in eternity, and your homeland is heaven.

The answer to who God created us to be does not lay within the temporary assignment of this life, but in the eternal purpose of God. The life that God gives in the creative act of spiritual transformation is an abundant life.  Transformation through Christ provides the opportunity for a life of quality, but also, a life quantified by the eternity that God has designed.  Spiritual life is a sovereign work of grace that provides the pathway to life everlasting in a relationship forged by the spiritual birth.  Because life is a temporary assignment, it is difficult to find a lasting attachment or permanent identity in what is fading away every day.  When we come to the place of transformation and realize that who we are is not defined by an earthly tabernacle, but that the earthly tabernacle is the dress rehearsal for an eternity that is settled by the mediation of God to prepare us for eternity.

Earthly existence is compared to a tent that will one day be folded up and put away.

“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our ‘tents again” (2 Corinthians 5:1, The Message).

The temporary will be replaced with the eternal and the permanent.  In the words of Paul, there is coming a day when the identity that has been formed in a fleshly existence will evaporate in the presence of what is eternal and reveals the true identity.  A new existence that will not be described by the temporary, but expressed in a descript identity revealing the person that God has uniquely prepared in a post human replacement of what we now see.  What we see now is temporary and what we will realize in translation is eternal and imperishable.  The point that is well taken is that our understanding of who God created us to be will be realized as we step into the existence that we earnestly groan for in our desire to be changed as we submit ourselves to the process of surrender to the true self.  What we realize in the present is that all of this that we struggle with is temporary and one day it will fold up and be put away for something far better and a life that is everlasting.

Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

“But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Much of life is consumed with the efforts to make a better life in the present, but as Paul writes,”there’s far more to life for us”.  Something that is important to remember in all of the important things that we spend our time on is that this is not all there is and something far better is available.  It is available to provide hope in the present and expectation for a future beyond anything we can imagine.  Earthly life is only a temporary assignment and our real homeland is in the eternal purpose of God because our citizenship is in Heaven. An affirmation comes by “Realizing that life on earth is just a temporary assignment should radically alter your values [:] Eternal values, not temporal ones, should become the deciding factors for your decisions” (Warren 2002, p 50). Summing up the experience of our lives compared with earlier centuries, life has never been easier than it is today for most of the people in Western Civilization.  Life is filled with constant entertainment, amusement, and activity that accommodate an immediate and felt need for gratifying pleasure.  Considering all of the captivating attractions, attention-grabbing media entertainment, and pleasurable experiences available today, it is easy to forget that the pursuit of happiness is not the primary purpose for existence.

 What is the primary purpose for man in existence?

A reminder from the Baptist Catechism explains man’s primary purpose in an end state for existence, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” A question that arises from man’s chief end is what does it mean to glorify God?  The term, “Glorify” does not mean make glorious because God is already glorious. Rather, it means to reflect or display as glorious. Other words you could use for “end” are “goal” or “purpose”. Therefore the “end or purpose” is to live in such a way that displays God’s purpose of grace in how we express who He has created us to become.

Glorifying God also implies using the resources, which grace has dispensed into our temporary assignment in this life.  In reference to this stewardship of glory and purpose, Paul gives the example of the end state of behaviors in life that is enabled by an attitude that is directed through purposeful living.  He says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The point of reference is that in whatever we do, it should reflect an end, goal, or purpose reflecting an outcome elevating His purpose in how He has created us individually.

The end state gives testimony to the sovereign plan of God to reveal Himself through our purposeful existence reflecting a life of worship and reverence.  Therefore, in a life of glorifying God there is satisfying pleasure of following the direction that enhances life’s purpose bringing spiritual satisfaction.  The object is to enjoy God and bring pleasure through knowing that life is aligned with the purpose of God for creation, which brings harmony to existence.

Listen to the Psalmist’s words,  “You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”Psalm 16:11). The object is to understand that we are God’s people and the sheep of his pasture that are created by Him.  Even as Isaiah wrote, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah43:7) reminds the reader of the sovereign God who actively created and called His sheep unto Him to live beyond the temporary assignment of today in a life of glorifying and enjoying the creator in a life of worship and reverence.

The pursuit of happiness in God is the purpose for which God made us and is what life is about. The man who pursues his happiness in God will find the attractions, media, and experiences of this life clanging bangles and contemptible bobbles whose attraction grows pale in comparison to the pleasure God offers to those who seek Him.

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Being Who God Created You to Be –The Reason for Existence (Part A)


Existence LightMany theories suggest a rationale for the existence of human life that offers explanations about the origins of life.  Accordingly, Christian apologists and theologians argue that the origin of life was through special creation.  In other words, God created life from the ex-nihilo with the dust of the earth. In the same creative act the life created was material and spiritual; therefore, creation was with purpose, design, and intentional.  However, while many Christians accept the fact of creation, there are variant ways that the post-creation experience of existence explained to support views of life development.  As a result, an important point to consider about creation is if God created human beings, then a logical assumption follows that God had a reason in existence and goals to be accomplished in His acts.

Some things to consider about existence:

For those who believe that the biblical story of creation is factual, it is important to recognize that God, not only created life, but He also sustains life.  Therefore, God has diagramed a divine purpose into human existence.  Unquestionably, purposeful creation reinforces a view of life that emphasizes the confidence that God is the central equation of existence.  In fact, purposeful creation provides a clear reason for existence and instills a logical equilibrium for life reflecting reasonable belief in God as creator, sustainer, and source of human life.  Consequently, God’s intention is at the center of the initial act of creating life and is the active force before and after everything occurring in life.

An important model from a Christian world-view providing definition to this proposition is intelligent design, which “is a theory that rejects the theory of natural selection, arguing that the complexities of the universe and of all life suggest an intelligent cause in the form of a supreme creator.  It’s all for him” (intelligent design) .  Making application of belief in intelligent design in creation presupposes that God existed before creation and is the designer, as well as, catalyst for design and creation of the world where humans exist.  As a result, the basic assumption in the argument for a supreme creator suggests reason for creation lay within the creator of humans and not with the creation.  Therefore, intelligent design implicates a watershed principle that God is the imperative reason for existence of all living creatures and inanimate matter.  Consequently, among those who believe in creation, recognizing God at the center of all creation moderates a rationale for life on based purpose –design not on random chance, which sustains belief in purposeful existence and an objective through existence.

Making sense of the rationale for existence:

On the other hand, if you are the person who believes natural selection governs existence or the result of biological migration from one life form to the next, here is something to consider.  It will be hard to envision any reason for existence other than the biological, physical, and random events in present experience of life contained within the choices and goals we set for accomplishment.  Within this point of view, a central theme is that humanity is at the center of existence.  Therefore, life purpose finds expression through the power of the will, beliefs, and choices exercised to create purposeful or meaningful existence.  Indeed, it is a view of life, which puts forward an opinion that the substance of life is like a game of biological and humanistic chance.  A belief in humanistic philosophy (4.Humanism) holds a very limited hope for effective outcome without the good fortune from choices.  As a result, life experience is lessens in scope to random choice predicted by biology, individual choices, and timing of events.  The outcome is a life with a sort of a fatalistic outlook where human ingenuity, genetic structure, and random events forecast an inevitable life within certain circumstances.  Undoubtedly then, existence functions in a manner that is limited to a subset of systems on different levels at work in human existence.  Therefore, existence, by this definition, is an existence within a given culture, time, and environment that is limited to humanity apart from intelligent design.  Unquestionably, the rationale for existence is reduced to a quantifiable product of random events intersecting with biological human experience in a set of unknowable variables in life.

In contrast to humanism, the content of conservative Christian Theology advocates for meaning and purpose intricately related to God’s intention within His Divine reason for human existence.  The contrast to natural selection is the point of view within Christian Theology This point of view states unequivocally that life is a unique creation of God with divinely inspired reason as a basis for existence.  To be sure, at a very basic level, the elementary reasoning communicates that there is an intended purposeful relationship.  It is an intended –purposeful relationship revealed through the redemptive power of a relationship to God in Jesus Christ resulting in a transformational life that is both spiritual and eternal.  Consequently, the work of God performed in Christ to achieve a purpose that biological function cannot achieve for man at his highest level of functioning, chances, or choices.

Consider what John, the Apostle said about God’s reasoning in existence:

In contrast to a secular world-view, there is a well-reasoned rationale within the Christian world-view for believing that life and existence are not an accident of biology, but rather a product of reasoning originating with God.  In support of this perspective, John 1:1 refers to the Logos of God, which delineates, “a word, being the expression of a thought …a broad term meaning, ‘reasoning expressed by words”.  Furthermore, John 1:1, ff. says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  An essential conclusion in the record of John is that the reasoning of God is the rationale beneath “making” all things. Therefore, in John’s record, the preceding idea that predates creation is the Logos (reasoning) of God.

Accordingly, it is reasoning expressed in the choice of words selected to portray God’s concept that describe purpose and design in creation.  For this reason, the selection of words and arrangement of concept through language uses a picture portrayed that describes Christ, as the reason that stands above.  Furthermore, Christ’s description is with language indicating His preexistence before and beyond time as the very substance of creation, as well as, creation that initiated the concept of existential time.  Indeed, the suggestion is that reasoning by words command the interpretation that delineate that the Logos of God predated time, creation, the earth, and existence of humanity.  Without a doubt, by words and concept His reasoning express a purpose –design by God presented through creation and revealed in the disclosure of Christ.  In support of this, John asserts several important factors about God’s reasoning.

First, a fundamental reason declared by John is that the purpose for creation correlates to God’s purpose in Christ in a cohesive concept and executed plan.  The concept and plan reveal redemption as objective truth, which preexisted time and human creation as an essential reason within the plan of God for creation.  Therefore, the logical rationale introduced by John is that the activity in creation is as central to God’s purpose in creation, as redemption is to God’s purpose in Christ.  Therefore, John concludes that creation is not a random accident of molecular mutation, but a purposeful expression of the creator revealing His purpose in the creation demonstrating a rationale for revealing God’s purpose in redemption.

Obviously, the point made is that His Spirit intimately connects God’s general purpose in human creation to God’s specific purpose in drawing people into a relationship with a sovereign and eternal God that brings glory to Him.  When John speaks of Christ, He speaks of Him as the light of men, as well as, the light of the world.  In consideration of the light that is spoken of, a “light, a source of light, radiance” that brings spiritual illumination to existence in an understanding of God’s glorious purpose for the believer.  Therefore, the life that God purposes through Christ is a life motivated by a spiritual life that a believer grows into through the process of discipleship and personal development.  Accordingly, the object of God’s design is switching from a life lived for self interest to a life that is lived by God’s design being revealed through a life of surrender, sacrifice, and service.

Living For God’s Glory Is The Greatest Achievement We Can Accomplish With Our Lives.

In like manner, the position that a person must take in life leads to the place where the light comes on and revelation enables spiritual awakening to come.  It is in that moment that believers come alive spiritually because there is a realization that life is not about following some biological urge or environment conditioning to achieve some temporal goal.  On the other hand, the awareness comes that the central reason for existence suddenly focuses upon God and His plan.  From that moment on, everything that happens in our existence is because of Him, by Him, and through Him, and for His glory.  As a result, life importance and events translate into one simple statement, “That it is all about Him”.  For this reason, Theologians label this a theocentric view of existence, which situates God at the center of everything in our world.  What is evident is the only sound reason for existence and the only meaningful way to organize life into a purposeful existence centers in a relationship with God.  Consequently, in this moment that connects unique creation and the ultimate goal of life leads back to the principle that is man’s chief aim, “To bring glory to God and enjoy him forever” (Baptist Catechism).  Consequently, the rationale of God centered faith and trust infuses life with intentionality to fulfill the purpose of creation.

References

intelligent design. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved February 08, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intelligent design

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Being Who God Created You to Be –The Reason for Existence (Part B)


Look up to GodWhen anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God

“He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? But to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8KJV).

 Clear thinking about spiritual living and fruitful existence

 One of the great challenges for many Christians is to get their head out of the box of performance-based spirituality.  For instance, religious legalism results in people trying to bring glory to God by doing religious things.  As a result, doing religious things produces religious conformity motivated by expectations focused upon performance, outcome, and conformity, rather than spiritual transformation through grace.  Unfortunately, while rigid conformity to what is required may produce results, the results may not be a genuine expression of attitudes born out of spiritual conversion.  To be precise, spiritual transformation results in the most effective natural spiritual expression of purpose.  Further, when the character of God infuses the heart of the believer with life from the vine, the believer produces lasting fruit (John 15:16).  Indeed, when people attempt to be something that they are not, the impression may make an impact, but unfortunately, it will not last long.

For this cause, understanding “what is good” is not the process of developing controlled behavior.  Rather, understanding “what is good” is the natural fruit of a character that is holy.  When God’s character fills the heart, the evidence will show a changed motivation for acting justly, loving, and with humility.  Without a doubt, it is a life experience that is consistent with whom God created believers to be in Him.  Think about the characteristics Micah identifies and where the source of “what is good” originates from to produce natural behavior.  The truth is that following specific requirements, as a legal stipulation, brings glory to the person.  However, when life is lived with a heart tuned to the desires of God; then a believer can be who God created them to be in a spiritual existence bringing glory to God –being the natural, transparent reflection of God’s purpose in the work of grace.

For this reason, the greatest testimony to the rationale of God in creation is when creation surrenders to the unique purpose placed within the distinctive creative design for life.  In fact, once surrender occurs, creation is in the best possible position to align with a natural and spontaneous ability to fulfill the greatest level of effectiveness in the activities of creation in a manner that brings glory to God.

 Consider the words of the psalmist about the purpose of creation

 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm 19:1)

 Worshiping and enjoying God through being whom God created

The words of the psalmist emphatically state that the heavens bring glory to God by fulfilling the natural purpose for the heavens.  Further, the psalmist states that the physical presence of the clouds in the sky performing the natural function of clouds are a testimony that brings reverence and worship to the wonder of a creator. The creator, with a rationale and intelligent design called the heavens into existence with purpose and reason.  Therefore, worshiping Him is the objective reason inherent within a life of purposeful existence.  As a result, when life is a natural demonstration of reflecting His glory through being God’s creation, there is celebration of the reason for existence.  When we can settle into a life focused on the person God created and engages life through our unique gifts, the “state of being” turns from earthly, fleshly pursuits to a life of worship that brings glory to Him.  C.S. Lewis stated it this way, “In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him” (Lewis).  In effect, worship is more than just praising, singing, and feeling, “Worship is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving him, and giving ourselves to be used for his purposes” (Warren, 2002 p.56).  Loving God and enjoying him results in a second step in purposeful existence, loving others, as a natural function of purposeful spiritual existence.

Consider how John describes love as a natural manifestation of a relationship with God

 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7, NIV).

John expresses a central attribute of God’s preference and character by using, “agápē – properly, love which centers in moral preference(agape, Strong’s 26).  Just as the sky was created to provide an atmosphere that humans live and thrive in, love as a moral preference –choice, between believers enables an environment that spiritual life thrives within.  Spiritual prosperity is natural because love is an innate characteristic of God revealed through spiritual purpose in transformational change.  Transformation is a spiritual work of God who opens a darkened mind with a novel idea that values the freedom to choose the high road in relationships with others.

Think about this for a moment, “When you learn to appreciate everything around you that is when you have found the true meaning of life.  But when you have learned to love another with all your heart, that is when you have finally understood and start to actually fulfill the purpose of your existence” (Testy McTesterson).  On the contrary, Christians who choose to live in unloving ways demonstrate the antithesis of God’s moral preference in a way that elevates depravity, which in turn elevates an immoral preference.  In effect, living in conflict with the true self in a life of expressing love magnifies the age-old conflict with the natural order of creation that God designed to be released. Consequently, the result of disconnect from the love of God disables man’s greatest potential for existence. Therefore, the great goal of existence in loving and enjoying God is enhanced when believers are so affected by His love that love becomes an outer expression of our innermost relationship to God compelling a life of service.

 Becoming like Christ may mean something different than we imagined

 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29, KJV).  When the mind imagines what it really means to be a Christian, conformity is a word that expresses how some people attempt to legislate artificial fruit.  The process produces the external religious substitute for an internal life of transparency and surrender to God.  Think about this for a moment, “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life” (Robert Louis Stevenson).  Undoubtedly, if a person believes that God created humans through intelligent design; then there is an inherent capability in our makeup that gives physical and human potential. In addition, design implies that there is a spiritual potential that Paul expresses as “conformity to the image of His Son”. The very idea suggests that it is not a materialistic human accomplishment to be conformed to in a set of procedures, but rather an internal process of surrender to a life of servanthood that utilizes development of the gifts that God has given us in Christ.  

The affirmation of purposeful existence through surrender to servanthood

When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God

 When a believer comes to grips with the idea that God has created each person with the ultimate goal of being like him, the affirmation resounds a message that says to become, as Christ is to take on the mantle of a servant.  Therefore, the object of God’s love characterizes a life of ministry motivated by love for God that brings enjoyment and fulfillment.  It is a life-demonstrating ministry loving and serving others with the gift that God has bestowed within a life of surrender.  In fact, when the creation surrenders, then a spiritual manifestation of the glory of God causes life to align with the greatest potential for meaningful service.  Unquestionably, service is executed in a life of serving performed out of love for God, fellow man, and through selfless service. Without a doubt, the acts of surrendered existence form a doxology of existential activity giving a voice of praise to the works of God through creation.

Consider the words of the Apostle Paul about the rationale of God in His wisdom

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?  Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36, NIV).

There is no doubt that, Paul is describing the revelation of God challenging believers to worship God by ascribing a doxology of praise to God the wise creator. In support of Paul’s words, C. S. Lewis says, “In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him” (C. S. Lewis 1998, pp. 94-95). Therefore, Lewis’s observation fits marvelously with the first commandment of God.  Obviously, both make the point that to love God is to delight in Him and to enjoy relationship with Him.  A point well taken affirms that when you love God, you worship Him, for as Lewis observes, “all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.  …  We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation” (Lewis).

To be sure, when we “believe in Jesus”, we do not just believe facts about His deity or even His resurrection.  On the other hand, we believe that He is the only way to God, that His sacrifice is the only atonement God will accept, and that He is the only solution to our desperate need for salvation from the wrath of God we justly deserve.  Consequently, real existence –a life of purpose, begins when a commitment to Jesus Christ completely.  The Bible promises, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God(John 1:12, NIV).  The personal application is possible to those who believe and are able to receive the intelligent design created by God for a holy life made possible through spiritual transformation.

References

C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms [New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958], 94-95.

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Being Who God Created You to Be: Seeing Life from God’s Perspective


Perspective: The Human Conundrum that Results in a Belief that  You are Right Perceptionabout What You Believe and Rationalizes an Outcome to Match the Belief.

Perspective is the way that you look at the world around you and the belief that you have formed about things outside of yourself, that results in behavior that are consistent to your beliefs.  It really doesn’t serve a good purpose to get lost in trying to explain right and wrong beliefs at this point.  On the other hand, it is important to think about whether intuition and sensor impressions are a sound or fair representation in comparison to God’s perspective about life events or what they   mean.  Quite often, our immediate response to what is happening  to you is a focus upon the experience, felt responses, and an interpretation of meaning from a finite, limited perspective.  Consequently, what happens is you form a point of view that is very personal and involves humanistic processes that are unique to your personality, mood, disposition, emotional state, health, age, and factors related to your experience of life?  The impact of belief formulation, as well as, the effect upon the storyline of life forms a perception deeply connected to you as an individual person.  As a result, behaviors surface in ways that coincide with perception formed into beliefs.  Therefore, a self-fulfilling prophecy develops along with a sincere belief that behaviors resulting from beliefs are consistent with a certainty that you are correct, even when reason suggests otherwise.

It is entirely possible to create an outcome in life by the perceptions believed to be true by acting on them.  This is possible because when we believe, value, and act in accordance with beliefs; we organize life in such a way to support the beliefs held.  This activity makes perfect sense to you and results in living that is consistent with a sincerely held belief.  Did you know that even born again Christians suffer from distorted perceptions about life, others behavior, or events because they believe they are right?  People who live in a social system or work within a organizational culture are impacted by their native environment, which enables a cultural perception that produces behaviors that conform to beliefs within a culture .  In many cases, a person can sincerely be wrong, conform, and behave in ways that support a life of beliefs built upon the misinformation effect of distorted cultural norms, group-think etc.  In the spiritual life this happens because the perceiver has not experienced a life changing spiritual transformation through the Spirit of God illuminating the mind, perceptions, and beliefs that separates them from erroneous that characterize the human existence .  Consequently, whether right or wrong, behaviors turn into a belief rationalized as correct, even though they may be irrational or bring the desired outcome.

At this place of belief, what seems right, looks right, or feels right may not be right because the belief is validated by human limitations, sociological rationale, or life experience that does not consider a larger perspective.  As a result, this pattern usually goes on until a life-altering experience turns life upside down.  Then, perceptions become convoluted confusion that takes perception through a sifting process of pain that unravels faulty beliefs and expectations.  The result is that in the process, we will get bitter or better.  Scott Peck, who wrote Further Along the Road Less Traveled (1993) said, that there are two kinds of suffering in life, neurotic, which leads to mental health issues or therapeutic (Scott Peck).  The first causes mental health issues,  physical problems and an inability to cope with life with unresolved beliefs. The later causes a person to look at life from a new perspective and define suffering in terms of healing rather than pathology to create a pathway to life in the future.

The Way You See Your Life Shapes Your Life into What You Really Believe is True.

Unfortunately, many Christians are carbon copies of the culture and people around them.  Life is the by-product is misled perceptions about life with a focus upon of conformity to a fixed set of norms, rules, or expectations, instead of a life of unique significance.  In our spiritual walk, God leads believers to a life of reflection, awareness, and development through His sufficient and efficient grace.  His goal is to empower the life of becoming His unique creation.  The challenge comes when human beings try to live with insurmountable odds each day without a clear understanding of God’s perspective about the purpose of life.  The tendency is to surrender to the programming that faulty beliefs are creating.  An outcome from this thinking sets in motion the effort to control things or events to bring an expected outcome.  As a result, you cannot fit life experiences into the beliefs held, which results in frustration.  Therefore, confusion sets in and you do not understand how to make sense of experiences that violate core beliefs.  Because we have a need to feel like there is an answer for everything, a solution for everything that happens, or a magical spiritual escape for everything; we jump through spiritual hoops to create an outcome.  The efforts are to construct a picture of experience that matches the cognitive map in your mind.  When the discovery comes that belief spun into reality, you come face to face with a conundrum.  Therefore, you adjust behavior to align with beliefs that shape existence to conform with an invalid belief, which leads to failure and further disappointment.  Because, it is what we believe should be true; then circumstances, others, and events are supposed to align with a mind map built out of the personal beliefs embedded in thought patterns.  The problem comes when life shaped by faulty beliefs meets resistance, uncontrollable circumstances, and reality spins out of control.  Then, you are faced with the question about what happens next and how can you make sense out of life?

A major disconnect with the outcome is whether a person trusts in a sovereign God or a sovereign belief, sovereign expectation, or sovereignoutcome.  When you listen to what people say in a crisis there will be a constant reference to I, me, or an expectation that personal beliefs held equals absolute truth, reality, and control over circumstances.  Therefore, a good question you can ask is how to put in perspective that holds a high view of God?

 Beliefs Centered in Human Expectation Put into Perspective.

Think about this statement: Is God really in control of everything?

Character develops and is revealed by tests; therefore, all of life is a test.  We can only trust with confidence a Lord who controls everything.  If He is unable to use wickedness to further, His plan, then evil remains free from His rule, and we could never be sure of His final victory.  Some say God only foresees human decisions without ordaining them, but Scripture never teaches this.  Moreover, if the Lord only looks into a future in which He has not ordained all things, then there are “chance” events to come that He will have had no control over.  How then is He God in any meaningful way?  How, then, can He prevent those events He finds undesirable?

If the Lord is sovereign over all things, then every wicked event is in His plan, not because He loves evil, but because He wants to work through and against the sin to achieve a worthy end.  Knowing that God does this enables us to fight the good fight of faith and stand against the forces of darkness.  Nothing they do to us is outside of the Lord’s will, and so they can never derail His good plan for us.  (R.C. Sproul http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/why-sovereignty-matters/ )

Something that needs consideration is that faulty beliefs will lead to an unmet expectation, a faulty outcome, and a disillusioned person.  Unfortunately, many of the beliefs often held and espoused by Christians are myths that support an  inadequate view of God, as well as, a deficient understanding of what God is doing in the midst of evil, disappointment, and unmet expectation.  The result leads to rationalizations, efforts to explain, because the core beliefs in the mind are spun into a reality to create a mythology that is really believed.  The real question is not about a God who is out of control or the will of a man that is in control.  However, the greater question is how belief has shaped a reality so readily embraced because it matches a feeling or belief of entitlement centered in your life expectation.  Consequently, a focus upon I, along with humanly shaped expectations, results in the way life works that is detached from a mind transformed by the Spirit of God.

Listen to the Apostle Paul about How Beliefs are Transformed:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 New Living Translation)

No matter what you may believe, God is always at work and challenges you to realize that He is in always in control.  Indeed, it is most difficult, when you look into the casket of your child, a loved one, or a wife.  It is difficult to understand that God is in control because every belief, feeling, and emotion within feels like control is lost.  In that moment, belief is shattered on the ground like mirror that once reflected what life looked like. Like a cloud in the wind, perception that has shaped our expectations and beliefs about how life looks through our eyes is suddenly gone.  It is not until we shift our view to God’s perspective of life that beliefs that are shaped by the human eye are redefined with a trust that no matter what happens or how deep the hurt, that a sovereign God of love is still in control and we can trust Him infinitely with every detail of life.

Seeing Things from God’s Perspective Means Shifting Trust from What we See and Experience to Confidence in the Lord.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” ( Psalms 20:7, NIV).

An important power that operates in a shift away from  trust in what we see, perceive, and  feel to Trust in the name of the Lord our God  is the work of the Spirit of God, which causes a transformation that moves you from simply believing to knowing.  Transformation changes beliefs from our perspective to God’s point of view.  Spiritual transformation is a long and sometimes hard process, which strips away faulty beliefs and  recognizes a life spiritually formed through the purpose of God in our existence.  A spiritual trust is formed when you begin to see life from His perspective, the more God gives, the more responsibility He expects in life experience.

An affirmation that you can walk away with is that all of life is both a test and a trust.  In fact, believers are always tested.  However, in the test, habituated obedience reduces the stress experienced in the test because obedience comes from a view of the test that has experience with how God has worked out of His character to transform an understanding of His nature and who He created us to be.

An application from a life of transformational beliefs brings to mind the way God transforms you into being the person He created you to be.  Count on the fact that you will be tested and God wants you to pass the test because of the great love He has for His children.  When we begin to view life from God’s perspective there is the reminder that God has entrusted us with something that He values and treasures enough to provide the sacrificial redemption of the Savior to create a life used, preserved, and invested in the way He designed us uniquely.  Therefore, an important reminder to remember is that life is not what we see or possess, it is about who possesses our lives and how we invest it in a stewardship of trust that will bring affirmation, promotion, and celebration.  (Rick Warren 2002).

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”  (Matthew 25:21).

Thinking and Writing About Things That Matter

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