How is Destiny Part of the Christian Life?
How Do You Discern the Latest Opinions on the Latests Controversies?
Chapter Seven: Two Destinies
1. In Colossians 1:21-22 Paul points out that the actual reason why Christ reconciled us is in order to present us holy and blameless and beyond reproach to the Father!
2. Colossians 1:23.
3. Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God (Grand Rapids, Mich., Zondervan, 1988) p. 169.
4. Galatians 5:6.
5. Psalm 16:11.
6. Matthew 9:35-38, Philippians 1.3-11, Colossians 1.9-14.
7. Matthew 4:19-20.
8. Ephesians 2:10. God has tailor-made good works for you to perform! They’re out there waiting just for you.
9. 1 Peter 1:5-6 and Philippians 2:5-11.
10. Colossians 2:1-3.
11. Hebrews 5:7-9.
12. Hebrews 12:1-2.
13. Matthew 3:17.
14. John 13:3-4.
15. 1 Corinthians 11:1.
16. Jeremiah 29:11. God delivered this promise to Israel even after seventy years of exile in Babylon! He still had remarkable plans for them. He does for you too!
17. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4.
18. Ephesians 5:7-9.
19. 1 Corinthians 3:1-4.
20. 1 Peter 3:14.
21. 1 Peter 2:21-23.
22. John 15:13-15.
23. Many have benefited by placing these three phases within the timeline exercised suggested by Dr. J. Robert Clinton in The Making of a Leader (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1988) and in his other works.
24. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” Matthew 6.34 (MSG).
25. Those who define “destiny” by earthly success conclude that the people of faith in the first half of Hebrews 11, like Abraham, Moses, Rahab, were more valuable, important, or blessed by God than those in the second half of Hebrews 11, because those in the first half got to do “big things” and those in the second half were tortured and killed. Yet, it is clear those in Hebrews 11.35-40 pleased God because they trusted him, and God commended them. The writer of Hebrews says “the world was not worthy of them” and they received “something better” than what was promised. Such was the great reward of their destiny.
The Timeless and Universal Core Nature of Trust
One word has the power to catalyze greatness in a leader, an organization, or a nation.
Trust. Trust is the number one ingredient in successful leadership. It also tops the charts for producing enduring influence, character, and fulfilling relationships. Yet trustworthiness (integrity) remains the #1 gap between what most people say they want in their leaders and what they state they receive.
Further, trust distinguishes Christianity from all major world religions. All faith traditions, except Christianity, are based on a performance or pleasing metrics. The God of the Bible says, “Without faith (the noun form of the verb to trust) it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11.6. Trust is required to become a child of God, and trust is the first quality God looks for every day in his children. It is not pleasing, but trust which attracts God’s grace; the fountainhead of love, health, maturity, freedom, and destiny. 1 Peter 5.5-6.
The intersection of trusting and loving is the most profound reality for personal development, organizational health, and geo-political process the world will ever discover. This intersection is sourced in the spirit and wisdom of “Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2.3. Therefore, trust is the first vitalizing principle for all the basic issues of life. (For a more extensive list of the foundational biblical concepts of trust, see Appendix A)
Most Christians in spheres of Judeo-Christian influence have lost the blueprint of trust—for their marriages, families, schools, faith-communities, and workplaces. The blueprint of trust has been disconnected from the biblical understanding of relationships and leadership. It has been undervalued in real time and has created a sin-management discipleship among millions of Christians. Losing the worldview of Christianity’s distinguishing characteristic across the continents today produces profound pain and a loss of untold treasure. The Trust One Center envisions playing a role in substantially recovering that treasure.
Learning to trust God and others in my life is a process.
The principles below explain why experiencing this process is non-negotiable.
1. Without trust, I cannot meet God.
2. Without trust, I cannot please God.
3. Without trust, I cannot experience truth and freedom. The truth will not set me free, unless I trust it.
4. Without trust I cannot experience love. Love does not cast out fear, unless I trust it. If I don’t trust you, I can’t experience your love, no matter how much love you have for me.
5. Without trust, I cannot live in humility. Humility is trusting God and others with me.
6. Without trust I can develop my competencies, wealth, and power, but only at the expense of relationships.
7. Without trust, I cannot cultivate safe communities where truth can flow and trusted relationships can be built.
8. Without trust, relationships exist to provide something we want at the expense of what others and I need; as we lobby for the contribution of our strengths.
9. Without trust I cannot be guided into who I am or the fulfillment of God’s purposes for my life.
10. Without trust, character is minimized at the expense of developing competencies.
11. Without trust, I cannot develop character. Character is formed as I trust truth and act upon it. Truth only transforms when it is trusted.
12. Without trust, I live in isolation. I am hidden, my character is immature and I am vulnerable to my weaknesses.
13. Without trust, truth is relative. I live as my own expert.
14. Without trust, I will live with fear. The perfect love of God (and others) will not cast out fear, unless I trust that love. Without trust, fears and internal competition siphon away energy.
15. Without trust, children live without direction and the value of life is minimized for the “quality of life.”
16. Without trust, pleasure is substituted for intimacy.
17. Without trust, power is pursued; the weak are ignored.
18. Without trust, rights are demanded as the presumed basis for fulfillment.
19. Without trust I compromise or lose my identity.
20. Without trust, the unhealthy (untrue) story I tell myself feeds my emotional and relational sickness.
21. Without trust I am trapped in a mindset of “I ought to.”
22. Without trust, I can reach my capacity potential, but never experience my destiny.
23. Without trust, individual performers plateau or move on.
24. Without trust, the power of teamwork and mission cannot be leveraged.
25. Without trust, the “brand distinction” of Christianity is lost.
The Inseparable Interconnection Between Trust and Life’s Basic Issues
1. Trust and Grace are inseparable. Without trust, grace is not experienced. Trust is the primary attractor of God’s amazing grace, which is the Trinity’s gift to us not only for salvation, but it is their primary gift to us for every day living, loving, and leading. Grace is always unmerited, but not always uninitiated. Grace cannot be earned, but it can be spurned. 1 Peter 5.5-6.
2. Trust and Love are inseparable. Love cannot be experienced without trust, no matter how much love a person has for another. John 3.16.
3. Trust, Truth, and Freedom are inseparable. The truth will not set a person free, unless that person trusts the truth. Truth only transforms when it’s trusted. John 8.1
4. Trust and Peace are inseparable. Perfect love will not cast out fear, unless that love is trusted. Phil 4.6, 1 John 4.18
5. Trust and Humility are inseparable. Humility is trusting God and others with me. It is this humility which brings a person to the Father through Jesus, for the first time, and this humility which produces a meaningful life. John 14.6, 15.11
6. Trust and Integrity are inseparable. Integrity is developed when a person is free to trust others, to disclose who they are and who are they are not. James 5.16
7. Trust and Authenticity are inseparable. The ability to live without hidden issues springs from committed relationships of trust. James 5.16, 1 John 1
8. Trust and Healthy Relationships are inseparable. Two are not better than one, unless they trust each other. Eccl 4.9-11.
9. Trust and Generosity are inseparable. Trust attracts God’s grace, the epicenter of generosity, and trust motivates a person to live freely without concern of temporal want, to love others instead of money. 1 Peter 5.7, 1 Timothy 6.10
10. Trust and Destiny are inseparable. Inherent in the process of God exalting or give a person influence is trust. Trusting God and others, the essence of humility, attracts God’s grace, which is the pathway to individual destiny and corporate influence. Philippians 2.1-4; 1 Pet 5.5-6.
They actually believed they could do it. Turn lead into gold. After all, it was the Renaissance. Anything suddenly seemed possible. So the mystical, conjuring alchemist of ancient attempts to achieve immortality, now emerged as a sort of scientific visionary. He would help fund this hopeful new society by transmuting common metals into gold. Still operating under their conviction of four basic elements-fire, air, earth and water, and three essentials-salt, sulfur and mercury, he would reveal the secret of changing the nature of one element into another. The alchemist was no longer the mistrusted magician of sorcery, but the heroic metallurgist of progress. After all, the weight and density of lead and gold were almost exactly the same. So they went to work, feverishly mixing variations of both metals with sulfur, salt and mercury. They exposed their potions to fire and water and earth and air, in every imaginable combination. And a world giddy with utopian desire awaited their results.
…And nothing. Lead ultimately was lead. And no amount of believing otherwise seemed to be able to controvert the evidence. Throughout the land, a devastated order of alchemists privately pondered what to do next.
Sound familiar? For believers in Jesus Christ, it probably does. For each of us, upon putting our hope in Jesus, actually, at least for a time, believed that maybe something truly changed. Oh, how we wanted it to be true! That somehow we were actually changed. That this new relationship would work from the inside out, to give me a life, a new relationship with God that would be more than mere sentiment and a ticket to heaven.
And for awhile, it seemed like it actually happened! Maybe lead could turn into gold. It sure felt different. So, giddy with our own hope, we told everyone we could that we were brand new. We promised this new life of gold from lead to our friends and family members. We knew they were skeptical, but we were certain. They would see.
But soon we discovered the same common garbage we’d always carried was still there. What?!! It first shocked and then devastated us. “How could this be? I thought I was a new creature!” But there it was, in mocking wave after wave. And no amount of believing otherwise seemed to be able to controvert the evidence.
Then, came this nearly inevitable thought:
“It must be me. I’m doing something wrong. That’s it. I got in the way or something. I missed the instructions. Maybe I need to pray more. Maybe I need to read the Bible more. I can fix this.”
Mark it. Right there. That was our own personal first moment of religious alchemy. In that thought, we revealed we were no longer convinced we’d become gold. In that heartbeat, we became alchemists trying to turn ourselves into gold. And most of us have been conjuring and adopting the newest, latest versions of that heart-breaking art of personal sorcery ever since.
Many of us, at least initially, believed this:
*I have been changed into a new creature-I am fused with Jesus
*He loves me and enjoys me all the time
*He is maturing me in His way in His time
Most of us quickly retreated to believe this:
*I have legally changed, but not actually been changed
*He is usually disappointed with me
*He is expecting me to try to fix myself
Not only did we begin to doubt our goldness. Theologians began to create entire systems around a fear that transmutation did not, could not happen. They began to write treatises about a righteousness that was “imputed” or “judicial” but not “actual”.
Yet, all along, we knew something happened. We knew God was gold. And even if we had not become so, we had, at least, a sort of sanctified will power that maybe could turn us gradually more and more into gold. Yes, with a God-infused set of new desires, will power and longing to please God, we would eventually achieve the same result; gold, or something at least sufficiently approaching it!
And so we mixed our mercury and salt and sulfur with fire and water and earth and air. And we discovered many, many authors, practitioners, preachers and parents to help us on our journey. And for moments at a time, we thought we saw hints of transmutation. Things would foam up and turn different colors and such. But mostly we just got tired and eventually cynical. “Why is this so hard? Why am I trying every thing possible to please a God who never seems pleased, attempting to fix behavior that He doesn’t seem to be helping with, faking a goodness that He doesn’t seem to be helping us promote?
One day, back in the Renaissance, before word of the failed experiment had reached the public, an unscrupulous merchant walked into an alchemist’s darkened laboratory to utter these words: “You know, its really matters little whether or not you can turn lead into gold. What’s important is that the people think you have.”
And so fraud is added to a conviction of failed transmutation. The message is sent out to alchemists all over the land. “Pretend you have changed lead into gold. Cover your lead with a sufficient layer of gold, to give the appearance of gold.” And the public, so wanting to believe, buys it for awhile. After all, the two elements do weigh the same.
Sound familiar again?
Welcome to the majority voice of mainstream Christendom. Having lost the conviction of change, still clinging to the appearance of change, to defraud a public that they truly have been changed through and through, while they themselves are convinced they are not.
And just as the unscrupulous salesmen of the Renaissance were eventually exposed, so has this generation’s religious ruse been exposed by a resentful public. We are routinely and fairly accurately mockingly called hypocrites, pretenders, fake, smug and arrogant in our pretentious promise we ourselves do not believe. They see us working so hard. They see us hiding. They see how our words don’t match our practices. They see our bravado.
And they have grown indignant of being sold gold-plated lead.
Except, what if they were both wrong? What if a generation of religious alchemists had stumbled upon gold and didn’t know it? What if transmutation actually happened? Wouldn’t that be the cruelest of all jokes-to actually be gold and not believe it? To bluff and pretend like you are, but know you aren’t, only to discover that all along you actually were!
The Ultimate Goal
Some of you briefly caught sight of a streak of light flashing through the Room of Grace. Hope awakened, Wonder stirred in you. Yes, you struggle to describe the splendor you sensed. The sensation we believe you felt is this: Resolving sin is only the starting pointof life in the Room of Grace. God's final objective for us is not resolving sin or "getting well." God's ultimate goal is maturing us into who he says we are, and then releasing us to love and be loved.