(Today is our son Noah's birthday. I'll be thinking much about him today, which got me to thinking about this message, a repeat from last year)
"Not Unto Us!"
We know God's ultimate intention for creation, namely, the revelation and honor of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to the good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven and which are on earth, even in Him" (Ephesians 1:9-10).
Much mystery lies in this gathering of all things in the Lord Jesus. What does this mean? The consideration raises as many questions as it answers. Of this, however, we can be sure: God's eternal purposes, determined from everlasting to everlasting, center in His Son. Thus, if we are spiritually united to Christ, God's working in our lives always concerns the exaltation of the Lord Jesus. We may not know how His determinations and allowances in our lives fit into the gathering of all things in Christ. But we can be sure that they do. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose… to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:28; 29).
Times of difficulty and challenge tempt us to self-centeredness. "Why is this happening to me?" Without discounting our Heavenly Father's loving, personal involvement in our lives, we do well to replace our inquiry with the understanding that more significant matters occupy His primary emphasis. He acts first and foremost to fulfill His aforementioned Christ-centered purpose. If God were ever to sleep, we would not be the first thought on His mind when He woke up. As we ponder such a decentralizing thought, we do well to breath a huge sigh of relief. "I am not the center of the universe, and God doesn't view me as such!" The Lord Jesus occupies this holy place, rightly, and He is more than able to fulfill the privileged responsibility of serving as the central theme of the Divine purposes. Such a burden would overwhelm us, even as it actually does when we allow self-centeredness to govern our thoughts, attitudes, and ways. "Why is this happening to me?" The question never leads to peace. Instead, tranquility of heart ensues when we affirm our Father's working to exalt and reveal His Son in us, even if we do not see how His actions result in such glory.
Salvation in Christ progressively delivers us from the false and deadly notion that we are the sun of our personal solar system. We are not. Christ is the Son, and the scene of God's ultimate gathering of all things. Breathe that aforementioned sigh of relief in the peace of such light, rejoicing that God loves us best by exalting the Lord Jesus in us. He could give to us no greater gift as through Christ, He removes from our hearts the burden of self-centeredness we cannot bear.
"Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and for Thy truth's sake!"
"He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence."
"God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven and things on earth, and things under the heart, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Weekly Memory Verse
As for God, His way is perfect.
(II Samuel 22:31)