Throughout all of Church history there has been a great debate as to what degree things automatically happen, with the tilt leaning both in society and in theology toward fatalism. It reminds me of the story of a classic theologian who believed that everything was preordained by God. He was coming down the stairs from his study one day when he tripped and tumbled all the way to the bottom. When he got up, he brushed himself off and said, “Well, I’m glad that’s over,” presuming there was no way he could have avoided falling because it must have been foreordained.
There’s no such thing revealed in the Scripture, but neither is there any such thing as the human capacity to make things happen by our own power. All you and I have is the power of choice, and even that does not provide the engine to bring about what is needed to make our lives work. I can push my car only a little bit and not very far. Certainly not up hill. But I can choose to turn on the engine.
The vanity of the flesh is the supposition that we can on our own achieve the best purposes for our lives. That’s not an invitation to passivity any more than faith in the providence of God is a call to fatalism. Fatalism and passivity can be opposites, or they can go together: “Well, I’m just along for the ride.” We’re on a journey with the Lord to a place only He can take us, but there are things we need to do, choices we need to make, while we are on board.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me. When as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)
When we look at the concept of preordained destiny, the Bible reveals that in the purposes of God, you and I were in His mind before all the worlds. That doesn’t mean we existed before conception. It means that we were part of His divine plan and purpose, and the day will come when we will stand inside the courts of heaven and discover that the Lord not only thought of us before all times, but also He planned for our salvation through the Blood of the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the world. These things defy human reason; we cannot compute them.
This life is the only one that you or I will ever live. There are not several go-arounds, so we can take comfort. No matter what you have done, you won’t be coming back as a cockroach in the next life. Now, we can chuckle over that, but the option, depending on who you make your partner, is radically worse than a cockroach. Loss of your eternal soul is the horror of forever being apart from the One who intended other for you than what you have chosen. And that horror is unimaginable, impossible to describe. It is a being that has no direction, no purpose, and no future, other than an endlessness of non-significance and an awareness of it all the time.
Salvation is a wonderful thing. God’s plans for us from the beginning are filled with intended blessing. They are not without trial because trials exercise, strengthen, stretch, and grow us, but we are never doomed in the face of them. And all those things play into the Bible’s revelation of what the Designer of your destiny intended for your life to be like: provided for, attended by blessing, and brought through unto victory, even in trial.
As the Lord invites us to partnership, and we make that choice, there comes an increasing sense of security that assures His sustaining grace. God has given every person remarkable gifts, and humility before Him calls us to accept responsibility for those gifts. He values each person and wants to see you doing what He has given you…and He will bless that. The introductory point is to ask Him about everything.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies… (Psalm 5:8)
That means in Your right ways, with Your insight, with Your foreknowledge, and with Your wisdom. Lord, I am going to keep my spirit sensitive to You. I’m not talking about driving around saying, “God, should I turn at this next corner? I just need a leading. Have somebody wave a flag.” I’m talking about the very practical sense of the Lord’s presence and His deliverance. Asking God is the starting place; it’s the recognition of my need, the place of acknowledged partnership.
This verse also cites as significant another reason besides my need for resources superior to our own. It cites “my enemies,” and it is not a matter of superstition to talk about the Adversary of our soul or the demonic hoards that are commissioned by him. It suggests their real and relentless efforts to intrude upon our lives. That puts us in a stance of constant dependency upon the Lord.
Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. (Psalm 16:1)
When we set out on a pathway of asking the Lord, we find so many things in which He has demonstrated His care, His provision, His protection, His supply, His deliverance-and the list goes on. As that takes place, it increasingly deepens that measure of trust. When we talk about trust, we’re talking about knowing and resting in the certainty of His faithfulness.
You, Lord, have ordained strength because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2)
This is talking about the Adversary who comes to steal, kill, destroy, and deceive. He ongoingly sets up patterns of pursuit to defile the beauty of God’s purpose in you. Once a human being gives place to self, and that becomes their point of reference or the grounds for their choices, the Adversary will reward their selfishness-temporarily. In time, however, that selfishness will boomerang back with destructive force because the Enemy of your soul is a vicious and hateful being. He delights to destroy individuals forever. Why? Because he hates God and everything God has created, and he hates everything God has designed for our lives.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.” (Psalm 91:14)
Knowing God’s name means embracing it, committing to it, and living with it because we are led by patterns of asking, “What do You think about this, Lord?” and because we have learned to listen for and to trust His answers. Loving God is something we choose to do, and as we grow, we discover unfathomable dimensions of His faithfulness, His goodness, and how rich and rewarding a walk with Him can be. Not because we become religious but because we tap into more of His nature every day.
Once we’ve accepted the invitation to partnership with the Designer of our destiny, growth involves walking a pathway of commitment. That means a life of asking, and asking means learning to rest in and trust the Lord. And finally, it means you and I will grow in love with Him. Believe me, dear one, it’s worth it.
Copyright © 2010 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries. All rights reserved.
Our gift of this article by Pastor Jack Hayford is made possible by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online or call toll-free 1-800-776-8180 to donate (within the U.S.).