February 5, 2016

Letting God do the planning

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (Philippians 2:17)

Chambers starts his devotional reading with this verse about Paul’s commitment to the faith of believers at Philippi and his willingness to die for them. He ends with this question to his readers: “Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.”

This made me chuckle. This morning I was putting some color into my lifeless hair when my husband asked me to do something for him. Because of the timing, I had to say no. Later, I dumped a dead plant in the trash, but saved from the pot a stone with the word “LOVE” painted on it. I offered him the stone and said, “The plant is gone, but this remains.” He laughed. Then I said, “Tip for the day: never interrupt a woman when she is dying her hair. Some things cannot be put aside for a few minutes and that is one of them, unless the house is on fire!” He laughed again.

Chambers asks, “Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful—to pour out your life blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say—‘I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work . . . .”

I have to wonder; doesn’t God know everything? I can imagine Him asking for obedience in all sorts of situations when He interrupts me, or says ‘stop it’ to my plans. However, it seems to me that He knows better than I do when what is important, if I need sleep or to eat or to finish what I’m doing. He also knows what is most important at any given moment in His plans and whether I should be interrupted.

This understanding of God makes it easier to trust Him with what He asks me than thinking about God as using the task to teach me lessons, to abase me, to make me insignificant. I am willing to learn, my sinfulness already abases me, and I am already insignificant. Resistance to His commands could be a statement that I am smarter than God (really?), or I want to be exalted over Him, or I want to be noticed. Those are sins to confess.

However, being like Jesus means trusting God for the transformation, including a willingness to be poured out in sacrificial service for others. If I didn’t want to be like Jesus, then I’d resist that, but what is the point? Being like Jesus is my destiny!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28–29)

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