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Friday, August 20, 2010

Understanding Sovereignty of God

Life is filled with ups and downs; backwards and forward movements; questions about what direction to head in; and a key question “Did I go in the right direction?”

The reality is that none of these things can be changed, mitigated, or even ignored. Every aspect of life, but the One, is a variable. While we can make a lot of “good” decisions, those decisions often don’t lead to the positive outcomes we envisioned. The decisions of too many other people affect the outcome of our decisions. We even get in the way of our own “right” decisions.

The decision to stay in one place, maintain the status quo, not “rocking the boat,” or not striving for changes in our lives, leads to the very thing we are trying to protect. Mainly, what we perceive as stability. We equate “stability” as the staying the same. We equate stability as what is “normal.” We even equate stability as a “blessing from God.” Yet, from a sociological perspective, or a psychological perspective, or a theological perspective, this pursuit of “staying the same” is useless. At its best, it is merely a wishful thought. At its worst, it is mental and spiritual frustration which leads to detrimental outcomes as we react negatively to our inability to control circumstances.

Change is the one constant in our daily lives that we can be assured of outside of the Sovereignty of God. In fact, a healthy informed understanding in the Sovereignty of God actually builds up our faith and strength to endure the fundamentally important issues of change.

ALL of God is everywhere, all the time, and knows every possible outcome to every decision that can possibly be made by His prized creation, the Human Race. He isn’t parted out in the world, He is always WHOLE at all times. He is present, in his entirety, in every situation, at every moment of every day. We can’t possibly understand this in our finite thinking. Yet, when a person looks back on their lives they realize there are unexplainable “coincidences,” encounters, and “chance” meetings that weren’t part of our thinking in moving toward a direction we hoped to go in. For those who want to believe in a Sovereign God, these are the clues toward this issue of ALL of God being everywhere, all the time. Others, seeking “spirituality,” chalk this up to “karma,” good luck/fortune, or even simply, chance. It is a shame to minimize the level of compassion and care God pours out to His fallen creation.

For the believer in the Sovereign God of Creation, it is His ability to deal with our Free Will, and bring about solutions that will lead others to Him and benefit His followers that should cause us to be in AWE of HIM. This applies to the “good” situations as well as the “bad” situations. A belief in a Sovereign God helps one understand that other people’s decisions can negatively (and positively) affect us. Yet, this Sovereign God is in control.

House fires might be a useful way of understanding this in our “humanistic” thinking (yes, this unfortunately is how too many Christians think).

House fires are almost always the result of a human error or lack of effort in some way, shape or form. Oil got too hot on the stove, kid played with matches, Christmas tree dried out, a person falls asleep smoking, arson, or a worker didn’t properly insulate the electrical issues of the home. The possible ways for a home fire to start are many, but are almost always the result of some type of human error. This is EXACTLY how human life is lived out. “House fires” can occur at any time.

A House fire is difficult to put out if not caught at the very beginning of the igniting. Once the initial outburst has expanded there will ALWAYS be some type of significant damage. If the fire department is notified quickly they will show up in a matter of minutes (Fireman are awesome in their response). They attack the fire with a three-fold, simultaneous counter-attack. They seek to preserve life (rescue), preserve as much of the home as they possibly can, AND insure that other homes do not get damaged by fire.

This is how the Sovereignty of God plays out when our free will is exercised in such a way as to cause a “house fire.” He seeks to rescue all who are in immediate danger to the decision that has been made.
At the very same time, He seeks to preserve as much of the person(s) life that can possible be preserved. This is the ultimate issue concerning the Person, Work, and Position at the Right Hand of God of Jesus Christ. He seeks, actively and aggressively, to preserve the lives of the people He Created. Finally, in the midst of the first two items, God seeks to preserve that which is around the life of the one who made a poor decision (whether it is from neglect, evil intent, or accident).

Interestingly enough, God responds to our poor decisions (no matter the reason the decision is rendered as poor) much like the Fire Department. Bottom line, people have to react as if they need help!

The Fire Department can’t respond if it doesn’t know there is a problem. They have a difficult time rescuing people if they don’t have good information (although they will risk their lives to insure people aren’t in danger). And they have a difficult time achieving their mission without the cooperation of the neighborhood.

This is not dissimilar from God Himself. While the Fire Department can’t do its job without notification, God “Waits” for our notification that something is wrong. This is called “confession.” It is not that God won’t intervene without our call (He certainly does many times), but His care and nurturing of our Free Will compels Him to wait.

Likewise, He will come to the “rescue” of the people calling out. Sometimes that comes too late (the people waited to call) for a total rescue, but He will literally reach into the fire to grab us. We just need to give him all the information (another part of the confession). He already knows (unlike the fire department) but it is our admittance of need that is important. The final issue of “rescue” is also important.

As God responds to “save” our lives (our call for help), as He risks His Own life to rescue us do to our plea for help (salvation through Christ), He is also seeking the rescue those around us. Fireman are often admired not because of what they saved, but by the people they helped to not suffer. This is the ultimate act and desire of God. He wants to keep people “well.” They didn’t necessarily “feel the need” for the fire department but are grateful they showed up on behalf of others and showed concern for them as well.

Life is filled with ups and downs; backwards and forward movements; questions about what direction to head in; and a key question “Did I go in the right direction?” (Yes, I copied and pasted from above!). Have you expressed thanks and appreciation that the “FIREMAN” has showed up in our life and done exactly what He has promised to do? Do you understand that He has done all the work necessary for you to be “rescued?” Have you seen people’s lives changed by God and how that has positively affected your life? Don’t think it was accident. Even if you have ignored God He is actively involved in your life.

Don’t ignore these issues. Proclaim, privately or publicly, gratefulness to the Sovereign God of All Creation. Your life is going to change whether you like it or not. It is time to embrace (receive) and trust (believe) in Jesus Christ as the means by which to have meaning and fullness in this life and guarantee a positive life which is eternal, after you cease to exist on this earth.
Get hold of me and I’ll help you meet the God who waited for me to finally call on His Name and changed my life. It is your choice.

CHOOSE WISELY!

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