Weekly Wisdoms for the week of January 3, 2022
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the authors of Scripture use the images of a father and his child, a husband and his wife, and a friend and his companion to describe the relationship between God and his people.
According to Genesis 1 and 2, when God created the first human being, Adam, God breathed into him the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). In a very profound sense, Adam was a son of God (see Luke 3:38). In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, the son takes his inheritance and runs away from his father because he is seeking joy and pleasure in a very different lifestyle. Similarly, Adam inherited a beautiful paradise, but by trying to become like God (Genesis 3:5), Adam rejected the Father who breathed life into him.
In addition to using father and son language to describe God and his people, Scripture uses the language of marriage: Just as a marriage is commenced in vows so also the relationship between God and his people is sanctified in covenantal vows. God made a covenant with the nation of Israel: "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people" (Leviticus 26:12). God remained faithful, but his people cheated on him; they slept with the gods of other nations such that the Lord sent prophets to call back his adulterous people: "'Return, faithless people,' declares the Lord, 'for I am your husband'" (Jeremiah 3:14). (See also Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 3:20; 31:32; Ezekiel 16:32.)
But God, in his great love and unswerving commitment to his covenant, did not give up on the child who rejected him, the wife who cheated on him, and the friend who betrayed him. God could not overlook our sins, but instead sent his son, Jesus, to absorb God's wrath against all those who had rejected and betrayed him. While we were still sinners and enemies, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Through Christ's death, you, by faith, can be adopted as a child of God (Romans 8:14-17, James 4:4-5). Because of Christ's work on the Cross, the Father can celebrate "for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24).
As God's adopted children from every race, ethnicity, society, and people-group, we are his people. Just as a husband and wife are united and become one flesh, so also, we, God's people, will be united with Christ in a new marriage covenant when he returns (Ephesians 5:31-32, Revelation 19:6-9).
Finally, because Christ, through his obedient life and sacrificial death, absorbed the wrath of God, you, if you have placed your faith in Christ, are no longer an enemy of God. You have an entirely new identity. Now, instead of being an enemy, you are, like Abraham, a friend of God (James 2:23).
What good news! The wonderful grace that defines Christianity is all about being pursued and adopted by the Father we rejected, being forgiven by the husband we cheated on, and being embraced by the Friend we betrayed. And when we think about this amazing grace, there is no room for anything but completely unavoidable rejoicing.
Probably everyone wants his or her life to count for something and to matter; there are certainly very few people who want to waste their lives.
But what does it mean to waste your life? And what does it mean for your life to count, to matter, and to be meaningful? Really, both of those questions boil down to this: Why do you exist? What are you here for? Isaiah 43:6-7 makes it clear that God created us for this purpose: to glorify Him. Humanity was intended to reflect praise and honor to God; we were designed to make much of God. In other words, you exist to point praise and glory to God.
If your life doesn't fulfill its purpose, then it was wasted. Specifically, a wasted life is one that fails to make much of God.
Given the purpose of our lives—as stated in Isaiah 43:6-7—it should be no surprise that Paul gives this command: whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In other words, everything you do should be done to fulfill your purpose, which is giving glory to God.
The Apostle Paul determined not to waste his life; instead, he set his heart on glorifying God by spreading the message of Christ: I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24).
Paul was determined not to get tangled up in little dreams and small visions; he knew that the single purpose of telling everyone about Jesus is greater than every distraction. Because of his vision, passion, and purpose, Paul's life was not wasted. Compare what Paul said in Acts 20:24 about his desire to "run the race" with what he wrote decades later in 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Paul's life was not wasted; he lived every day purposefully for the glory of God.
Take Paul's example and try writing a "mission statement" for your life. Then, live a life driven by that mission. When you get to the end of your life, don't let your reflection on life be "I've wasted it." Instead, leverage your life in every way possible for the glory of God.
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All scripture quotations are in italics. Some portions of scripture have been placed in bold by the author for emphasis.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION©. NIV©. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) are taken from the Amplified Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.