One aspect of God that we must realize is that He is a God of planning (Jeremiah 29:11). He has plans and designs for our lives and the world. We too, being made in God’s likeness, make plans of our own. It’s part of our nature; however, here is where we generally begin to have problems. For many, we see our lives as being nice and ordered, and we see God’s plans as interference to our ordered life.
At least that is the case as long as our lives stay in the order we prescribe. When times of trouble arise, you can see a mass outreach for God, an outreach that is often short-lived as normality returns to life. God, though, doesn’t want us to turn to Him only when the world turns our life topsy-turvy. Unless we turn full control of our lives over to Him, nothing will ever be completely fixed. We’ll just find temporary patches to keep the machine running.
God wants more for us than temporary patches. He wants to turn life upside-down. You might even say that he wants to break the old machine and replace it with a new one. God did just that by breaking into the world through Jesus. In a profound act, God pierces creation and inserts His plan directly in our midst through the person of Jesus – the Son of Man, God made flesh.
God’s plan, though, started thousands of years before the incarnation of Jesus. God singled out a man, Abraham, and his descendants to be His people. God called the Israelites out of Egypt, and on Mt. Sinai, He made a covenant with them. He was calling them to be a peculiar people set apart for Him. He set down rules that would govern their society, and they were to keep these rules as part of the covenant. God implemented sacrifices that were to be made for peace and for atonement for sins.
But while the sacrifices were necessary, they were not what God wanted. He wanted righteousness, justice, and the love of His people (see Hosea 6:6, Proverbs 21:3, and Deuteronomy 6:5). Time and time again the Israelites failed to realize that God’s desire for more than their willingness to atone. He wanted their purity and the desire of their hearts.
Through Jesus, God made a definitive change to the covenant. “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28 NKJV).” Jesus instituted a new covenant. No longer would man have to continually make atonement for sins as God with His own blood made atonement. No longer could the focus be on sacrifice, for Christ made the final sacrifice. We are saved by grace through faith and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). In this new covenant, God has removed the requirement for us to atone allowing our attention to focus on our devotion to Him.
But, the coming to faith in Christ and the entrance of the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of the upheaval in the life of a believer. This is the new foundation of God’s plan in our lives. Now comes the arduous task of rebuilding or lives according to God’s design. Old, insufficient parts of our lives must be torn down so a more glorious structure can be built, one that is fit to house the Holy Spirit.
But even with the Spirit’s work in us, we are perfectly adept in ignoring God’s plan and continuing with our own. In the end, though, however we choose to direct our lives is mere straw and stubble compared to the materials God uses (1 Corinthians 3:11-17). When we finally realize that our plan is once again leading to a pitiful building, and we turn to the Carpenter to lead, he has to once again tear down our shoddy work and replace it with His workmanship. This is why God’s work in our lives is often so painful yet so…refreshing. Once we allow God to work in our lives, we can start to see the work of a master builder creating something beautiful out of us. Yes, it may seem that God wants to turn our world upside-down, but it only seems that way because we’re upside down to begin with. Once righted, we can see the beauty of His plan, and our continual submission will allow the work He started in us to be carried through to completion (Philippians 1:6).