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Reactionary vs. Anchored in Christ

In last month’s Chariot of Fire we began to consider how we live our lives: reacting versus being anchored in Christ. It was suggested that to react is a form of self-worship and usually occurs because we don’t like the way things are going. Anchoring into Jesus Christ is motivated by a desire to worship Jesus and honor him as Lord of all and ultimately the purpose behind every storm in our lives. Believers in Christ are confident that “all things work together for good,” even those events which have a tragic component to them. From God’s perspective, evil and calamity have a good purpose, so therefore we need to anchor into Christ in order to see that good purpose and respond accordingly.

 

What good purpose could there be from God’s perspective for evil and calamity?

We are swimming in very deep waters to even attempt to answer this question.

Obviously there is much about the mind and ways of God we cannot know or understand. However, what we need to know has been given to us in God’s Word, and therefore we may confidently give an answer where God has given an answer, whether we understand it or not. Here is what has been revealed to us in God’s Word.

 

The purpose of all of creation and history is based on the relationship between the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

God has purposed that Jesus would be the first consideration in everything.

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col. 1:18-20).

All the things in history have been reconciled to God, not us. We are not the big deal. He is. God was pleased to reconcile everything to Himself through what Jesus Christ did on the cross. That means in some way every evil deed done in history has a relationship to God through Jesus. Here is an example of God may use a tragic event for good.

  • When an evil man perpetrates the worst of crimes against a young girl, he will answer to Jesus and eternal justice will be done. His total responsibility will be seen and punished justly.
  • When the girl exposes her offender to the law because she fears God more than man, she makes a value statement about her relationship with God.
  • As the girl goes repeatedly to Jesus and receives comfort in her pain from Him who comforts with the same comfort with which He was comforted when He suffered here on earth, Jesus’ humanity and identification with our suffering is glorified.
  • If the girl forgives her attacker on the basis of forgiveness received through Christ, Jesus is made much of.
  • If the girl or relatives don’t know the forgiveness in Christ, do not trust God to work out His good purposes and provide comfort, and instead brew in bitterness and hatred, they validate God’s Word which says an unbelieving heart will become hardened and burdened.
  • Relatives and friends of the girl who comfort her because of the compassion of Jesus Christ dwelling in them, bring glory to Jesus Christ.
  • When the government prosecutes the criminal based on laws that are biblical, God’s law is exalted and established.
  • If the girl dies in the attack and was a believer, God used the event to bring her to heaven where all of her pain and the sorrows of life are swallowed up in His presence and comfort. In God’s presence she sees the wisdom and purposes of God in the event, and experiences the eternal comfort offered through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and His righteous life.

 

God has revealed that all of history with all events will be summed up in Jesus Christ.

He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth (Eph. 1:9-10).

When the history of man on earth comes to an end, all will see that God has exalted his son, Jesus Christ as the purpose for everything that has occurred. This is a mystery, which means it cannot be understood without divine assistance. We cannot naturally understand or see this now, but it has been made known to us, so we must consider that God’s highest value for all things is their purpose in making much of Jesus Christ. When God gave all things to His Son, seated Him at His right hand, and gave Him authority over heaven and earth before the earth was made and history began, He expressed His love to Him. And when the Son, who knows His Father’s pleasure and will in creation and history, does it, He expresses love to His Father.

The salvation and redemption of people who believe occurs because of the covenant between the Father and the Son explained in Isaiah 53. In the covenant we see the love and faithfulness of God to his son as he calls on his son to accomplish the glorious work of redeeming his children. The love and faithfulness of the son for his Father shines as he willingly becomes the sin offering for them so the good pleasure of the Lord would be fulfilled. Jesus, the only truly innocent person to ever live, was smitten of God. Isaiah wrote, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand” (Is. 53:10).

 

Jesus’ followers believed God could accomplish good purposes through evil.

The disciples gave God’s perspective of the terrible evil perpetrated against Jesus in Acts 4:27-28. “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” They saw the physical and verbal abuse, the mocking, the shameful exposure, the lies, deceit, and murder of Jesus to fit within the good purpose of God.

They didn’t always view the crucifixion from that perspective. When the events first occurred, these same men reacted. They fled, denied, hid, and were deeply troubled. However, the reaction did not last long. When they saw the resurrected Christ and were taught how these things were revealed in God’s Word, they were anchored in these foundational truths about the living God. God accomplished a good purpose, the salvation of His people, in the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind, yet held wicked men responsible for their actions.

 

Reactionary or anchored?  Empty or filled?

What are we to do with these things? We are to anchor into this immutable truth: God is working in all of the events of our lives, both great and small, to demonstrate his power and glory in us through our relationship with him through his son, Jesus Christ.

Let’s be done with reacting to people and events. We may go to the throne of grace in time of need and find mercy and grace.

When we react, we express our emptiness and how unsatisfied we are with God and his purposes. Being anchored into Christ, we express the fullness we discover and possess in our relationship with God in Christ. The situation becomes God’s instrument to reveal to us and to others what fills us. If we are filled with ourselves, we react negatively. If we are filled with Christ, we respond with an appropriate expression of Jesus’ life–love, joy, peace, faith, truth, grief, or whatever fruit of the Spirit the situation calls for.

God has called us to life in Christ, which is a life of fullness. If we are to live in the fullness of Jesus Christ, we must repent of reacting to the events and people God places in our lives, and intentionally practice what we believe. Those who are Father-pleasers have within them a heart to delight him in the midst of any situation or relationship.

Their concern for his pleasure trumps any other consideration or pursuit. In contrast, man-pleasers, are in bondage to what makes them happy. When the affairs of life don’t comply with their wishes and dreams, reaction inevitably follows. Therefore, if we are going to live in the fullness of Christ and be free from the bondage of man-made religion, we must embrace the truth that everything in life is about the relationship between the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We need the Holy Spirit’s power for this to happen.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to take the things of God and reveal them to us (1 Cor. 2:10-13). As we anchor into Christ in worship, acknowledging that his purposes are being fulfilled in our lives, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, who manifests the life of Christ in our lives in each situation. This is living in the fullness of Christ, and I hope to encourage you to live in his fullness more consistently.

 

 

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