Submission and Obedience


Have you ever wondered why you are on this earth along with millions of other people? Coming even closer to home, do you ever think about your own family and why it turned out the way it did? Why your mom and dad met each other and produced you and your siblings, if you have any? That you could have been someone else's child, but aren't?

Maybe you ask why you were privileged to learn about Jesus, His death on the cross so your sins could be forgiven and you can go to heaven, while so many others around you don't have a clue? Perhaps none of these things are what you wonder about, but you probably have other questions on your mind that perplex you just as much.

Plain and simple, God does not give us an explanation for any of them. One thing is certain, though. While it may look to us like things 'just happened' or are 'happening,' the Bible gives us hints as to what lies behind what we see and wonder about.

You see, God has a wonderful plan. He calls it "His purpose." It is His master plan for the entire universe and dates back to eternity, before time began. We gain glimpses about His plan from certain Scriptures nestled in various places in the Bible. Take for instance this one in I Corinthians 2:6-9:

"Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, 'Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

Those verses are like a Christmas present found beneath the Christmas tree. It is wrapped with pretty paper and a shiny bow. You shake it and can hear something move inside. But you can't see what it is until you open the box on Christmas morning!

God has something ahead for us so wonderful He says we can't even imagine what it is! We can guess and hope and dream all we want, but not until we are freed from this earthly realm and in the heavenlies will we really see and get to enjoy it! It is all a part of His purpose.

But look, there's another glimpse of what lies ahead for us. Before Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray on the night before His crucifixion, He ate the Last Passover supper with His disciples: the Lamb who would shed His blood once for all! The disciples were saddened when Jesus told them He was going to leave them, but His reply is another indication of how great a surprise is waiting for us in God's purpose:

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going."" John 14:1-5

Jesus hints here about where we shall live. They will be 'dwelling places.' A home. Permanence. No more wandering or homelessness. No more feeling of not belonging. No separation from the One whom we adore. We shall arrive at home one day. Our home.

You see, Jesus spoke in this instance like a bridegroom leaving His love on earth to get a place ready to which He will bring us, His bride. No groom who is deeply in love would spare anything to surprise His bride with the most lovely home ever. This earth is just our temporary home. His is eternal!

Derrick Prince said that God dealt with him about carnality. It's that which God hates so much. And he defined carnality as being earthly-minded. Faith is the opposite of carnality. Carnality is worldly-mindedness, attachment to where we are now. Faith sees the unseen while living in a foreign land; it is:

"...looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God." Hebrews 11:10

In II Corinthians 12 the Apostle Paul wrote about his being caught up into the third heaven and it not being lawful for him to write about what he saw or experienced. It was too aweful. From prison he said he was ready, that it was better for him to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. He had tasted. He knew. There was no holding on to the things of this life when the prospect of what lay ahead of him was so bright. He had caught a glimpse of God's purpose!!

A saying goes that some folks are so heavenly-minded they are no earthly good. That may be the case if they do not listen to and follow the timing of the Holy Spirit for witnessing and speaking up and out for God. But as believers, we must look forward to heaven and what God has in store for us so acutely that the fear of death is overcome by the joy of the far greater that lies before us.

Are we REALLY thrilled about going to heaven? Does it give us pause when we think of leaving behind what we consider our dear possessions here on earth? If our possessions so possess us that we hesitate about wanting to go to heaven, there is something amiss in our faith. Believers commended in Hebrews 11 for their faith were willing to live in caves, be destitute of food and clothings, lose loved ones for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel and give their own lives to stand for their faith in God.

Are we really dead to what we own? Do we own it or does it truly belong to God? Do we hold lightly to it? If God is grieved by carnality, it means His heart hurts when we would rather stay here on earth with our luxury than look forward to what He has in store for us on the other side, in eternity.

Heaven will not be forever sitting around on a bench playing a harp. Or walking the golden streets doing what you might imagine. We will be rulers, kings and priests. The parable Jesus spoke about the talents being invested as a sign of trustworthiness in ruling is one example of what we will do in the new Jerusalem. We will be involved in Jesus' government.

But more than that: Jesus is our Groom. He said He was going to prepare a place for us, His bride. All the riches of the Father belong to Jesus and He is sparing nothing to outfit a home for us that defies description.

We know that heaven is unimaginable. In Hebrews 12 a myriad of saints who have gone on before us are cheering us onward because they are already experiencing what we just dream of knowing. They are saying, "No matter how difficult it is or gets, keep pressing forward. Stand for Jesus. Confess Him and His name before the magistrates and common folks. Suffering for Him is but a blip in your life compared with the glory of eternity and eternal life."

Earth-life is temporary. It is a testing time to prove whether or not we will live for and love Jesus. It is but a moment compared with eternity! Stand true to your Bridegroom. His purpose for you, for us, is huge! Be on the watch! He is coming for us soon!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
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