Predestination Is A Big Word

It is a Big Deal, in Christian circles, when you use the word, "predestined." Even non-Christians get in on the controversy. Most people seem to confuse predestination with a form of fatalism. That is, there is no way you can escape your fate, you have no real choice, what happens to you is the result of forces outside of both your control and responsibility.

But that really doesn't capture the vibe that the Bible gives for the word...

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:4-6 ESV)

So, I’m going to focus on the word, “adopted,” which is a profound relationship created by choice and initiative. Nobody gets adopted by accident. An adoption is an act of intentional relationship. Here we see that God is motivated by an intentional love. That - the act of intentional love - is what is behind predestination.

Notice, also, that God has a ‘vision’ and purpose for our destiny. God has, because of his love, chosen me with a purpose and vision for my destiny – which is amazing! But, as with all of God’s blessings, this new relationship, purpose, and destiny all come in Christ.

This also helps in recognizing that purpose and destiny are specific and individual: unique to any believer. Take a look later in Ephesians where Paul talks about gifts and ministries for each believer. This tells me God has created me and reserved for me a particular purpose. 

Yet that implies something. If God has a specific purpose for me, then he does not have that other one. Some roles and activities are mutually exclusive. If I’m supposed to be doing ministry to street people in Minneapolis, that means that I should NOT be doing church planting in Thailand.

And, don't dismiss this, there is a small world of guilt or envy in the full-time ministry world. "Wow - that guy has got 700 people coming to 'his' church;" "That gal is working in difficult and dangerous circumstances to express the gospel far away from her home;" "That dorky guy I knew in college just published an amazing book;" and so forth. Yep, there can be envy at how God has increased some ministries; even guilt that we aren't doing more in our own. 

So, a realistic implication of God’s predestination for me is that I should avoid jealousy or envy in how God has gifted or purposed others. But key on the "realistic" part: God expects us to be faithful, sacrificial, and diligent in the gifts and purposes he has called us to.

How does that work out for you? How does God's placement of your purpose and destiny sitting with you? Is God's purposes for your life being realized, insofar as you have cooperated with him? Are you content; or are you driven? Are you basically on track, or are you unable to enjoy even times of rest in your pursuit?

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