"WorldView Conversation" is an ongoing discussion of global events, issues and trends: What's happening, why is it happening, and how might God be using events for His purposes? How can you get involved and make a positive impact? My twice-monthly WorldView columns will be posted along with other thoughts and observations, but I want to listen to you. What do you think?
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
First things first
The new year had barely begun when the usual round of bad news resumed:
terror attacks, atrocities, massacres, war.
folks respond to the ugliness of world events by ignoring them. They try to
create their own safe little world and pretend the big bad one doesn’t exist.
Sooner or later, however, reality intrudes. Bills. Unexpected illness. Family
problems. Job struggles. Life.
life’s pleasures become burdens if we depend on them for happiness. We create
problems for ourselves by trying so hard to avoid problems. We can’t control
our lives, but we never stop trying. It’s human nature, a manifestation of our
need for security — and our endless temptation to usurp God’s role in
are as guilty as anyone of playing God, sometimes more so. With great fanfare,
we dream up brilliant ministry plans and ask God to bless them. We consult our
goals and action plans more often than we seek direction in Scripture. Doing
something, anything, is easier than praying and waiting for God’s voice.
tendency, observes IMB President David Platt, “is to miss Christ in the middle
of mission, to get so consumed in what we are doing for Him that we miss out on
intimacy with Him.”
a better way.
his first full year of IMB leadership gears up, Platt is asking missionaries
and staff — and anyone else interested in making the most of each brief,
precious day of 2015 — to renew their commitment to seeking God’s
in this world doesn’t last very long,” Platt says. “When we realize this, it
changes the way we live. It’s in this light that I want to implore you in the
beginning of this year to stop and think: What does it mean to trust in God
when I’m not guaranteed tomorrow?” (Listen to Platt’s
podcast on the topic HERE.
Subscribe to his ongoing podcast through iTunes HERE or
download audio files HERE.)
Apostle James addressed the issue when he rebuked early believers for making
their own plans: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we
will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business
and make a profit.’Yet you do not know what your life will be like
tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then
vanishes away.Instead, youought to say, ‘If
the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is
evil.Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do
and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:13-17 NASB).
draws two basic truths from James’ words when it comes to setting priorities:
nFaith is humbly
submissive to the sovereignty of God.
can become so consumed with the material realm, so consumed thinking about our
plans and our strategies, [that] we become blind to spiritual realities,” Platt
says. “The problem is not planning in and of itself. The problem is planning in
such a way that God has no place in the plans.”
by no means counsels “passive fatalism” or sitting back and doing nothing until
God acts, Platt emphasizes. The Book of James is all about action: Its 108
verses contain more than 50 imperative commands.
is talking about activity and action the whole book,” Platt says. “But he’s
talking about activity and action that are humbly submissive to the sovereign
God of the universe, knowing that every accomplishment, every activity,
literally every breath occurs only by the sovereign grace of God. … The key is
a mindset that says, ‘I need the grace of God, and I am dependent on the will
of God in every facet of my life.’ This is a radically different way to live in
the world — particularly in the busyness and the business of our lives. … James
says in the middle of it all: Submit to God. Don’t live like you’re going to be
here forever. Live and plan and work like your life is short and you don’t want
to waste it on worldly things. You want to spend your life humbly submissive to
the sovereignty of God, and ultimately live for the glory of God. Make your
life — this mist that comprises who you are for the short time you are here —
count. Be finished with self-sufficiency. Live your life in radical
to God’s sovereignty leads to wholehearted submission to God’s will.
isn’t just lying, coveting and other evil acts on a long list of don’ts. We sin
when we fail to do what God has clearly told us to do: Live holy loves, love
others as ourselves, and make disciples in our circle of personal relationships
and among all nations. Platt:
includes what we do in this world, how we obey in this world, so we’ve got to
think, ‘What has God said to do today? He has given me today. He’s given me
breath. He’s given me life. He’s given me sustenance. What has He told me to do
with it?’ That’s a good question with which to approach today and this next
year. If the Lord wills to give you an entire year in 2015, make the most of
that mist which is here today and will be gone before you know it.”
the approach Platt is taking this year — not only in his own life, but in
planning and strategizing with Southern Baptist missionaries and mission
leaders in their global gospel enterprise.
than recycling a stale set of new year’s resolutions, why not consider it for
your own life?