Who’s in Charge Here, Anyway?
It is interesting to me how many Christians–and especially American believers–seem to seem to think that we get to tell God what to do. Perhaps more bizarre yet, they seem to think that we get to define who and what God is.
God is what He is, and most definitely is who He is, no matter what we think. Modern secular, humanist philosophers reject the idea of objective truth, but if you believe in God at all, then you’ve rejected modern philosophy, anyway.
What remains, then, is what kind of God you believe in. I think the prayer of every human ought to be for God to show Himself. If that prayer is honest, then I’m confident God will answer. For some, reading the Bible will provide answers. Even so, I have to leave it up to God as to how and when He speaks. Just don’t forget the prayer you prayed. I know multiple people who’ve cried out to God one day and ignored His clear intervention in their lives the next.
Once He speaks, and assuming you believe He is the God of the Bible, then we are faced with a grand choice of eternal significance: Are we willing to submit to His authority over our lives?
For some reason, we moderns have turned “belief” into the end-game. It most decidedly is not. Remember the caution of the apostle James, who wrote:
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”James 2:19, NIV
I suppose the squishy, “pick your favorite parts” kind of God we like in America is an outgrowth of liberal theology. Progressive, modern theologians like to say that the Bible contains God’s Word to man, but reject the idea that the Bible is God’s Word.
This may seem like a delicately fine distinction, but in truth, it is a chasm as wide as eternity itself. God is not looking to become our personal Santa Claus built from items in a catalog, but rather our personal Lord and Savior–the one who loves us and gave His Son for us as a ransom.
We Christians forget the two-sided coin that is the “sinner’s prayer”: We whip out “Lord and Savior” so fast that we don’t think about what it really means. But “lord” in any sense of the word means authority. When we get “saved”, it is means “accepting” Christ’s sacrifice and granting Him authority. That’s what saying He is our Lord means.
Modern man–and especially modern Americans–have inherited the ideas that “man is the measure of all things” and we are the “captains of our own ship”. The very concept of submitting to God everything we are–past, present and future–feels quite foreign.
But the foreign feel of submission should not be surprising at all. The combination of belief and submission is what truly comprises being born into and becoming citizens of a new kingdom–God’s kingdom. We truly become foreigners to this world, and the feel of it really is different. Submitting to the God and Creator of All Things is a restoration; it is the way things were before the fall of man. It is to become aligned with love, too, and I promise that it is not at all what we moderns fear (that’s an entire essay all by itself).
It is not a loss of self, but rather the discovery of your true self, the one God created you to be.
So how does this all relate to Work, Life, Balance and God? It doesn’t relate as a tangent or subtopic, but is instead the very foundation. It is the bedrock. If you are not submitted to God’s will in your life over and above your own, then I think your very salvation is at risk. You’d best do some serious self-examination and prayer; recall the two-sided coin of Lord and Savior.
I know I just made a very serious statement there, but it is a very serious subject. I’m most decidedly not making judgements about who is saved and who is not. Of course God only knows. I am hoping to cast a light onto the edge of darkness–even the Bible says many think themselves saved who are not. Following Christ–and our salvation–is far more than a creed or a mere belief system: It most definitely involves granting Him authority in our lives.
I also want to avoid planting doubt into those sensitive folk who might then be tempted to worry they are not “saved” when in fact, they are. Truly, if you are able to even want God to have authority in your life, then I suspect you have crossed the chasm and are in the family of God. We all live that out with varying degrees of success. It is a process–and I can tell you with total confidence and assurance that God loves that process because He loves you.
And of course I need to be the first to say that my ability to truly live in submission to God is quite imperfect.
All I am about here is trying to lift the very heavy weight of delusion from those carrying it. There is no question that admitting that God has authority in our lives is part and parcel with salvation itself. Thankfully, Yahweh has revealed himself to be refreshingly and wonderfully worthy of being our ultimate Authority.
But there are some, and perhaps many, who claim the name of Christ but have never taken a knee before the King of Kings. This is a dangerous and precarious situation–not because of Him, but because they themselves want the name but not the person. Yeshua himself is love incarnate, and in his own words,
“…my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:30 (NIV)
The reason Matthew 11:30 is true is not because the things He calls us to are easy. On the contrary, some Christ-followers are called to extraordinarily difficult tasks, up to and including sacrificing their lives. The reason His yoke is easy is that, like a pair of oxen, when you walk with Him you are yolked with Him and He is the strong one. He carries that load; our job is merely to walk alongside Him.
The bottom line is that we will never find peace and balance anywhere in our lives outside of the will of God. If I leave you asking, “But how do I find the will of God?”, then I am happy for you: You are in the right place if you truly desire to find it. I’m confident God will lead you to it.
If you can indulge me this much more: I highly recommend committing yourself to 15 to 30 minutes of reading and meditating on the Bible and praying every day. But please remember this is a “want to”, not a “have to”. You are not building up brownie points or earning anything. But I can assure you that, like working out at the gym or going for a run every day, there will be positive results over the long haul.
In imperfect (but hopefully improving) submission to Him…