I’m sure some of you wouldn’t be too surprised upon hearing that I love to journal. Just about every day for the past four years, I’ve been writing down my thoughts, feelings, prayers, and accounts of my life in journals of all shapes and sizes. These are my sacred writings; I don’t dare show anyone what I dutifully write. But every now and then I find myself writing things that seem like they ought to be shared. Today is one of those days. I hope you are encouraged as I was just a moment ago when I found these words my hands and heart collectively turned into a declaration of hope.
May 6, 2014
“Therefore we do not lost heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
Lord, I want to live with faith in this verse. I want to believe that my momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory for me. It’s hard because I can’t see that glory in whole, but maybe I am being shown glimpses. Maybe part of the eternal glory is the tears and smiles of friendship bonded by wounds and struggles. Maybe it’s also found in the relief and rest that comes from being beautifully flawed and wonderfully accepted by another. Maybe that glory is also found in the cry of my heart to fix the pain of this world. Maybe it’s in the daily renewal of my heart and the way I’m still hungry for you each morning after all this time. The beautiful things of this world scream of you and of your grace. Would I have or appreciate any of these things without the momentary troubles or grievances?
And the best part is that these things don’t even come close to the true eternal glory only found in heaven. We’ve only just peeked at the surface of it all. If I can make it through today and the next day and then the day after that, then perhaps I really can make it to that eternal glory. Day by day you renew me and give me just the right ounce of strength to press on in this fight and messy life. I’m looking forward to the eternal glory, but the stuff that leads up to it is not a waste. There’s no need to lose heart when you’re gently leading me there. You are achieving that glory for me. You are truly a good, loving Father.
The book of Romans has been driving me crazy (in a good way) for the past couple of months, and one verse in particular has stuck in my mind.
“Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
These words are so fancy. Like what on earth does it mean to be predestined? And not only that, but also to be called and justified and even glorified?
I’ve been coming humbly before God and begging for Him to show me what this means.
I know there’s a powerful meaning here.
After soaking it in for a couple days, I feel like I’m a few steps closer to understanding the implications of this verse and I figured someone could benefit from this too.
I’m sure I’m far from fully uncovering the truth, but this seems like a good start.
Predetermined: to be chosen, to be decreed from eternity by God
You and I are predetermined. We are chosen by God for a purpose. The scary thing about that is we don’t know what the full purpose is. Some people have been given insight into God’s plan for their life, but even then they don’t know it to the full. We are so clueless. Yet despite our cluelessness, the plan prevails. God set something into motion involving us since before we even came into this world. Just think about that for a second.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Repeat this after me: I am predestined.
Called: to be beckoned and invited, to be given a name or title
You and I are called. We are invited to something greater. We are invited to God himself. When Jesus gave his life up for us, the veil was torn and we no longer had to have that separation between us and Him. Not only that, but we are called a new name. We have been given a new title. I’m not just Jessie anymore, and you’re not just you. We are now His children. Ladies, you are his precious daughter, his beloved. Men, you are his son, his warrior. He is so proud of you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
Repeat after me: I am called.
Justified: to be declared righteous and just, to be accepted and allowed
You and I are justified. We are declared righteous in His sight. We are accepted. The word “justified” can be confusing and I have stumbled over it for some time. How could I possibly be righteous in God’s sight when it’s clear I’m so… NOT? But here’s the shame-shattering truth: from the moment you received the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, you were washed clean. You’re not some sinner. You’re not some lost soul. You are redeemed and righteous.
What does that mean for our lives? That means that despite our confusion, our wandering, our mistakes and weaknesses, we are protected by the blood of Jesus. We WILL mess up. I definitely mess up daily. But I am still just as accepted and pure and perfect. In my imperfection, I am still perfect because Jesus was perfect enough to bestow that perfection upon me. And the same is completely true for you. Once you are a new creation in Christ, you are NEW.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Repeat after me: I am justified.
Glorified: to be made glorious (like Jesus), to impart glory to something, to be celebrated, to be radiant
You and I are glorified. We are radiant. We are celebrated and exude the glory of God. And because of our gloriousness (bestowed upon us by Jesus), we can in return bestow glory upon Him. It’s such a beautiful cycle!
The more we look upon Jesus, the more we are made to be like him. And the more we are made to be like him, the more glory we bring to the Father. This is mind-blowing and yet I feel like we pay it so little attention. We forget about this constant sanctification that we are undergoing. We forget that everything is used by God. We forget that everything comes FROM Him and is FOR Him.
We are from God and for God.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Repeat after me: I am glorified.
I’m still learning what all of these things mean and I’m sure I’ll never fully understand. How amazing God’s truth is! It’s so amazing that we can’t even fully fathom it. Why would we serve and worship a God who we can fully comprehend and understand? No, it’s because of His mystery that we continue to come hungry and thirsty before Him.
I am so hungry for truth.
And if you’re hungry too, then start in God’s Word. Chew on what these things mean. Read the stories, the testimonies, the letters and exhortations.
I feel like we’re so darn busy sometimes, way too busy to let God fully do His work us. We’re too busy to hear Him out or really digest the wisdom and truth he’s wanting us to have. He needs us to just stop for a second and find rest in Him. We have to stop being such a “Martha” (poor Martha just can’t catch a break). We have to learn the art of being still.
And being still means that we cease striving.
It means that we cease striving to fill ourselves up with things that are not God himself.
Even in seeking truth, we can end up taking our eyes off of the truth, off of the main point. The main point and focus should always be God. The truth is found in Jesus. The wisdom is given to us by the Spirit. God wants us to know Him and He gives us all we need to do just that. But being still is a vital component of that.
I know this concept of being still doesn’t relate to Romans 8:30 directly, but if we are to understand the Word of God such as this verse, we do have to start with rest. We have to quiet down long enough. His voice is there, but sometimes we’re so busy that we miss it.
Be still and know that He is God.
We are predestined, called, justified, and glorified for Him.
I pray that we begin to understand more of what that means.
Why am I here on this earth? What is my purpose in life? These questions echo in so many minds, but the answers vary to such a degree that people still find themselves lost and confused.
If we really are searching for the reason of our creation, the most reasonable thing we could do is ask our Creator, the God Almighty. So I’m asking my readers to read the verses I am going to point out with an open heart. God’s Word was meant to be read and it’s possible that we’ve been skipping over the whole point of the story all along.
Note: most of what I am sharing today is something that I have just recently discovered myself. I am in no way trying to bring forth a new idea and call it mine. I am simply repeating what was taught to me so that others would benefit as I have benefited.
Beginning in Genesis with the creation of man, God first says to mankind, “be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” (1:28)
This was God’s first command. When the fall came, some might think that God’s plan changed and mankind was no longer held to that command. But we see that God’s first words to Noah after he stepped off of the ark were “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1) God’s plan for mankind was still the same.
In Genesis 11, we are told of the Tower of Babel and how “the whole world had one language and a common speech.” (11:1) Mankind began trying to build a tower that would reach the heavens so they could make a name for themselves; “otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole world.” (11:4) At this point in time, mankind was resisting God’s plan. Instead of multiplying and filling the earth, they sought to stick together in one place. But because God is always in control, “the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” (11:9) God still intended for his plan to be fulfilled.
Later we read that God chooses Abraham and his family to be “a great nation” and he blesses his descendants so that “all peoples on earth will be blessed” through them (Genesis 12:1-3). Isaac gets the same promise passed on to him and then Jacob gets the same promise passed on to him as well.
Even when the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt, God still remembered the covenant he made (Exodus 6:7-8). He used Moses to lead them out of Egypt, and he led not only the Israelites but the Egyptians too! (12:37-38)
In Deuteronomy 2:25, God says that he will “put the terror and fear” of the Israelites “on all the nations under heaven.” Why would God want all the nations to fear the Israelites? Because the Israelites were the chosen people of God and to fear them would be to also fear their God. He was bringing them countless victories against the people who were in the land meant for the Israelites. As each part was overtaken, a fear of the one true God was spreading. And when people are overtaken by a fear of God, worship occurs.
The same occurs with David who was said to be a man after God’s own heart. 1 Chronicles 14:17 says that “David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.” Why would God make the nations fear David? Because David feared God. King David is known for his proclamations and songs about God, many of which are in the book of Psalms, and through these proclamations and songs, glory was given to God so that the nations would fear and worship God as he did.
One such song is found in Psalm 67:
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us – so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. …. may God bless us still so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.” (67:1-2,7)
And then in Psalm 46:
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (46:10)
Blessings don’t come to us because we deserve them. Blessings come to us because God wants his glory to be made known! The original commandment, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”, still exists because the nations need to know and worship the mighty God!
Israel understood this was their task. In Isaiah 26:17-18, Israel admits that they were not living up to it:
“As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord… we have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life.”
God rebukes them for not focusing on their task through the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 5:5-6:
“This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her.”
God placed them in a perfect place for his glory to be made known and they ended up living for themselves instead, rebelling against God’s laws and their main purpose.
Right before the New Testament begins, we see emphasis on God’s glory being made known in Malachi.
“My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations.” (1:11)
So now we have seen God’s plan carried through the Old Testament ever since the creation of man. And it answers the original question, “What is my purpose in life?”
Our purpose in life is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. This means that we are seeking to make disciples and worshipers of God out of all the nations. Yet so many in this current age do not know Him. In fact, there are about 2.3 billion people who are considered unreached right now, meaning they have not heard the news of Jesus and do not even have access to hearing.
So what does this mean for our life then? In my next blog post, we will look at the New Testament and the words of Jesus in order to see how we can accomplish our true purpose as followers of Christ. Because this is such a lengthy subject, I had to split it up in two sections, which only emphasizes how essential it is for our lives. I will also share very shocking statistics and facts about the state of our world that has inspired me and changed my thinking. My hope for you is that you will become more missions-minded, whether that means going overseas and making disciples in the unreached people groups or just praying in your community for the glory of God to be spread through all of the nations.
Whatever your given calling may be, the task remains the same. We are to give God all the glory.