I recently began a new job working closely with the owner of a small, yet long-established and successful company. Over the course of this time frame of a little less than two months, I have noticed that his way of doing things often differs from my way of doing things- in terms of organization and efficiency, mostly.
It is not odd that I have these differing ideas, I guess, because we all- to some degree- think we know more and can do things better than others. This is part of our prideful, sinful, human nature that we try so hard to ignore. I try to be humble, teachable, flexible and submissive to him because, after all, he is the boss, he is the owner, he is in control, it is his business, and I am his employee working for him. Yes, I might think that doing things my way might be better in some instances or even continually. But, better for whom? Me, of course. But it’s not about me or at least it shouldn’t be! I am just one employee and I am new. Others have had this position before me and there will be others, one day, after me.
My boss does things a certain way- as it turns out- for a reason. They are not arbitrary as they may seem to my eyes. And, when he reveals to me why he does certain things I understand perfectly and agree. And during the times that I don’t understand or even agree, I submit or acquiesce because he is in control, not me. This is the right way to approach my work and it makes everything harmonious and successful (and it keeps me employed).
I am sharing this very apt, personal and practical example to illustrate a hugely foundational principle about the kingdom of Almighty God and His ways as compared to our place in the world, our created order and our ways (plans). There is a word referred to a lot in connection with our government and political parties. That word is “agenda.” It has come to have an almost negative or manipulative connotation because of its current and frequent use in, and connection with, politics. However, it is actually more of a neutral term which can be defined in a standard dictionary as (a) an underlying, often ideological plan or program, and (b) a plan or goal that guides someone’s behavior. While both are correct, it is the second definition which fits better in virtually every application and for our spiritual lesson today.
While I was thinking about and considering my ways on the job, the Holy Spirit spoke lovingly but with conviction saying, “This situation is a good way for you and for all men to consider how you should be on MY agenda rather than- knowingly or ignorantly- trying to get Me on your agenda.” Convicting? Yes. True? Yes. A blessing? Yes. Something we should obey? Yes. Makes us think? I hope so. What do we do with it? That’s up to us.
The Lord gives us almost identical scriptures twice in the book of Proverbs which read, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (chapter 14, verse 12). The other is found in chapter 16, verse 9 and it says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” What these two admonitions refer to indirectly is this message talking about Jesus Christ: “He who is the blessed and ONLY Sovereign…” What is the meaning of a sovereign? This is a question of paramount importance because we submit to and follow this person or thing, whoever or whatever it is to each of us. And that brings up an equally important side note which is that just because we choose something or someone as sovereign, doesn’t make it so. For example, you can be taught that 2 + 2 = 5 all your life and you may accept it as right, even though it’s neither true nor accurate. Sovereign means “having supreme rank, power or authority; supreme or preeminent; indisputable; greatest in degree; being above all others in character, importance, excellence.”
The Holy Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to man. In it He tells us that, “There is only One Lawgiver and Judge, He who is able to save and to destroy” (James 4:12). It also shares about Jesus, “All authority in Heaven and earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:19). Another scripture admonishes, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell” (Matthew 10:28). Revelation 4:8b and verse 11 proclaim, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.” In the very beginning of the Word of God to His creation His supremacy, sovereignty, universality, dominion, power, glory and preeminence are made known over and over in such commanding truths as:
(a) “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).
(b) “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).
(c) “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters…and God called the expanse sky’” (Genesis 1:6-7).
(d) “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear’” (Genesis 1:9).
(e) “And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth’” (Genesis 1:11).
(f) “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night’” (Genesis 1:14).
(g) “And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens’” (Genesis 1:20).
(h) “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds- livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds’” (Genesis 1:24).
(i) “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26).
Can any man or woman, peasant or noble, rich or poor, small or large, wise or foolish, educated or common, influential or of no importance, beautiful or plain, beloved or despised, virtuous or criminal, animal or inanimate even begin to think of themselves or anything or anyone other than the Creator as being sovereign, and still not consider themselves delusional or mad? Let there be no misunderstanding: God is God and there is no other!
Now after reading that for the first time or perhaps being reminded of it, doesn’t it seem prideful and arrogant yet presumptuous as well to even begin to think that we should look to ourselves, anyone on earth, or other (tarot, astrology, medium, fortune-teller, advice columnist, etc.) to follow after or to seek guidance from? When we do this, we give command of our lives over to one or more destructive, controlling and false influences. This also means that we trust and have more faith in these than in the Maker and Overseer of our souls. At the same time, we willfully reject giving proper control of our lives to the One who is the Savior of our eternal souls. We live in folly and we die in vain- eternally lost into the hands of the one who seeks to “steal, kill and destroy,” Satan himself.
Jesus said, “Whoever would save (preserve) his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Life and death of our spirits are not temporal but eternal. Whoever lives for this life will lose it forever, but whoever forfeits this life by giving it back to the One who gave it to you and gave His life for us will live forever. Those who submit to God know that this world is not their home; they are merely sojourners waiting for their Heavenly home. Will you cling to this life or surrender your life to Christ?
Life with God is SO much more abundant, rewarding, fulfilling and amazing than you can imagine but the salvation of your soul is the single-most important gift you can receive. Make sure you grab hold of it while it is still available! Make sure. Your very existence forever depends on it and Jesus Christ has made it possible. Bless His holy name!