The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

What Does God Get Out of Your Life?

Posted on: August 09, 2016

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GOD GETS THE SAME THING OUT OF YOUR LIFE THAT YOU DO

Dallas Willard was fond of saying, “The thing God gets out of your life is the person you become. And, the thing you get out of your life is the person you become.”

This seems right to me. Scriptures talks a great deal about “becoming”:

  • About becoming conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29)
  • About becoming controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18),
  • About becoming mature (Hebrews 5:13-14),
  • About becoming complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

If it it true, that the thing we get out of our life is the person we become, then the greatest pursuit in life is to become the most mature and complete person we can become in Christ before we die.

This is a very helpful perspective and gives us two benefits:

First, it frees us from the tyranny of trying to get happiness in life from people, possessions and circumstances, which makes us dependent on everything in life going the way we want it to. That may seem to work for some people. I once heard a person interviewed on a podcast say that life was going so well for him that if he died and went to heaven, he would want to come back once a month to visit.

I marveled.

However, many people would not say the same. A bout of cancer, a young husband and father killed in an accident without life insurance, a daughter lost in drug abuse, insufficient income to give a child needed medical attention, an academic career ruined by an unethical and ruthless department chair, a retirement destroyed because the company you worked for all your life went bankrupt and wiped out all your savings… these are the kinds of things that make many people long for the promise of heaven.

If our happiness in life depends on people, possessions and circumstances going well, there are many for whom happiness might never be a possibility.

But if we give ourselves over to a life of “becoming” all that God intends for us, then our affections and source of happiness can be transferred from that which can be taken away from us to that which cannot.

Second, it gives us the highly motivating perspective that if we give ourselves completely to God, He will make of us the greatest person we can become. We have greater potential as a committed Christian than as a non-Christian or uncommitted Christian.

We often don’t think of it in these terms, but becoming a committed Christian can dramatically increase:

  • Our emotional maturity. The fruit of the Spirit imparts to us love, joy, peace, patience, self-discipline and other marks of emotional maturity (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Our mental capacity. As we give ourselves fully to the Lord, the Lord will give us wisdom, knowledge, understanding (Proverbs 2:1-11). David said that the Word made him wiser than his enemies, gave him more insight than his teachers, and more understanding than the aged (Psalm 119:97-100).
  • Our skills. God gives us spiritual gifts, divinely ordained capacities that non-Christians do not have (1 Peter 4:10).
  • Our impact on the world. God planned, before the world began, good works that He wants to accomplish through us (Ephesians 2:10).

A world of possibilities is ours when we turn our lives over to God.

If we give ourselves over to a life of “becoming,” a life of trust and obedience to the Lord, so that He will make of us the most that can possibly come of our lives, then our happiness is in the Lord and in the marvelous work He will do conforming us into the character image of Christ. To be like God is the greatest experience of life. No earthly benefit can compare. That is what God will do with us if we not only let Him, but if we actively pursue the goal.

God often uses painful temporal circumstances to achieve His eternal goals. While we must always be good stewards of the responsibilities God gives us, if we give up depending on the things of the world for meaning, purpose, & happiness, and give ourselves over to the eternal work that God wants to do in our lives, then life cannot be thwarted. God will always accomplish His eternal goals in our lives, regardless of the success of our temporal desires.

Just as exercise and dieting are not quick fixes, so giving our lives over to the Lord is not a quick fix. Giving up on this world and committing ourselves to the next does not necessarily make life easy and immediately satisfying. But it does provide the context for God to do His long-term work in our lives, giving us such spiritual satisfaction that we would never trade it for an easier life. (Colossians 3:1-4)

So when the things we might normally live for… vocational success, financial success, health-related success, relational success… don’t happen, then if we are living for this world, we can feel like complete failures, as though God has forgotten us, or that we are not worth His time to use us.

But nothing could be further from the truth. God loves us. Psalm 103:13 says, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him…”   The compassion of a loving earthly father is a picture of the compassion God has for us. He would never forget us. He would never cast us aside and refuse to use us. Whatever is going on in our lives (or not going on), God will use it to make us like Christ if we let Him.

So, even when this life does not satisfy us, we can focus on becoming the greatest person we can become in God’s eyes. Nothing can keep us from that.

 


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