In this troubled, broken world, how encouraging to know God has a plan – a good, flexible, vast, yet detailed plan. God loves you deeply, and He has a plan for your life, too. This plan has encouragement, guidance, and hope. To discover this wonderful plan, you must decide what’s your number one. Depending how you answer that, it launches you into God’s good plan for your life – or not.
The first discovery of God’s plan is – He wants you to know Him personally and intimately. He also intends for you to partner with Him in managing the domain of your daily life. It’s a special privilege and responsibility with influence. God gives you influence to impact the world, starting in your own home. Accepting this wonderful assignment will ripple out into other realms, like a circle ripples out in a pond when a pebble is tossed in.
Your life, your unique skill sets, gifts, and time on this earth – are custom-designed for partnership with God in His reach to people everywhere. Wouldn’t you like to be part of His brilliant plan? Wouldn’t you like to be who you were created to be, and accomplish what God has in mind for your precious life? So – what’s your number one?
The second discovery of God’s plan is – God is in the habit of sharing His heart and His work with people who want His friendship and agenda more than their own purposes. His grace gifts are poured into open hearts in a special “triune way.”
- The Lord Jesus shares His very life and His serving example. The Scriptures contain His life story (starts with that wonderful Christmas manager!), the account of His sacrifice for all sin so you can be free (His cross and empty tomb), His promises, commands, and “here’s-how-you-do-it” tips for living in a tricky world. Jesus’ grace enables you to live forever.
- The Holy Spirit shares spiritual gifts with believers. These are specific abilities to serve, build up, nurture, and mature God’s people so you can all touch the world together. The Spirit gives you joy, peace, and wisdom.
- The Father shares His work, opportunities, and strategies with His people. It’s a bit like inviting your child into managing your property. You model how to use tools and resources, let them try and practice, and encourage them. This nurturing helps them grow into serving and managing their own life. Your Heavenly Father does this for you as you work alongside Him.
What Are Your Resources?
As you partner with God, you begin to discover some resources to help as you strive to make a difference. Did you know you have been given spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit? You may have one or a combination of these gifts. The point is not how many, but are you engaging what you’ve been given?
- Miracle power
- Speaking in tongues
- Interpreting tongues
Accomplishments and Dumb Idols
Most people want to improve themselves and their surroundings. New goals. Positive strokes. A worthwhile accomplishment. Aiming higher. Careful investments. As with all endeavors, there are obstacles that interfere with godly gain. 1 Cor. 12:2 suggests that “dumb [mute] idols” are the culprits. Imagine that! What is a dumb idol? Is this a term the modern world can even interface with? Let’s explore.
In past centuries, idols were common. Objects you could see, touch, hold – often represented a powerful entity who might grant one’s requests. In some cultures today, idols are still worshipped. It’s a very subtle thing that grabs the human heart. Many have graduated from a carved image to more sophisticated forms of idols. In today’s modern high-tech world, idols look a little different. But they still command the human heart and are masters to people:
- Food and drink.
- Latest technology gadgets and gizmos.
- Style and fashion.
- A substance that makes you feel better.
- A happy home.
- Sexual pleasure.
- A precious child(ren).
- Developing a credible reputation.
- Becoming an icon of success and making lots of money.
- Healthy lifestyle.
- Time away from work.
- Property and home.
- A cherished friend/spouse.
Are these things wrong? Of course not. Just like a hunk of wood or boulder or stone with etching and carvings is not wrong. In fact, the above list represents many gifts and blessings from God. How could they be wrong, in and of themselves?
So what is an idol – really? Anything that captures your heart, affection, resources, and time, taking the rightful, central place of God in your life. That is an idol. Anytime you cannot honestly say, “I want Jesus to be Lord of my life” – that’s when you have an idol. If you can’t say, “Jesus Christ is my number one!” – then you have idols. Ask – what gets my attention? What do I strive for and even live for? Bottom line, what do I “worship and adore?”
What You Can Do To Make God Your Number One
Please don’t let God’s good things, even your spiritual gifts, subtly become dumb idols in your life. Hold yourself accountable. Pull down everything that takes God’s place in your heart. Resolve to love God first, most, and best. Trust and obey God. He loves you with everlasting love. Why not risk loving Him back? Making Him your Number One. Spend time in God’s Word. Talk with Him during your day. Seek Him earnestly.
Then you are ready to explore your gifts and skill sets to serve God without a divided heart. So – what’s your number one?
How can you focus your heart to love God first and most every day? Why not explore and develop the gifts God has given you? How can you engage your exciting, individual part of God’s brilliant plan? How can you invest your life, even in a small way, to make a global difference?
Article developed from 1 Cor. 12:1-11.