• Matthew 7:22-23 illustrates what can happen when we replace a relationship with Christ, with mission as our primary goal:
o “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
• At the CORE of LIFE FOR GOD is mission (No relationship with God).
• LIFE UNDER GOD is common in Christianity. This posture is characterized by a belief that one’s primary calling is to live under divine rules in order to avoid divine calamity. Ancients lived UNDER God, and that is how they participated in maintaining the universe and their survival. AKA Follow the rituals/rules = Get blessed; don’t
follow rituals/rules = Receive punishment. So, if you live how God wants you to live, he will bless you and answer your prayers.
• Of course the problem with this is that we seek to exert control over God through strict adherence to rituals and obedience, we assume authority. And what happens when we live accordingly and we don’t get blessed? Many leave church because this is what they are taught and it does not work out. And it doesn’t make us less afraid. It just makes us afraid of God. There is no relationship. There is only a hope that we do all the right things.
• At the CORE of LIFE UNDER GOD is God’s capricious will and the fear of humanity (No relationship with God).
• Life with God: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). The Trinity reveals that we worship a relational and intensely personal God. God’s relational nature is further revealed by Eden, a place established by God, for the purpose of walking WITH humanity. Humanity is created in the perfect image of God.
• God’s desire from the beginning to the end is to exist WITH humanity, in relational unity. But LIFE WITH GOD is so far beyond our imagination that is must be revealed to us. And it has been revealed to us. Christ is Immanuel, God WITH us. Jesus provides an entirely different way of relating to God.
• At the core of LIFE WITH GOD is relationship. When God sought to restore and reconcile God’s self and humanity, God’s plan was not (1) to send a list of rituals and rules to follow (LIFE UNDER GOD), (2) nor was it the implementation of useful principles (LIFE OVER GOD. (3) God did not send a genie to grant us our desires (LIFE FROM GOD), (4) and God did not give us a task to accomplish in order to get back to God (LIFE FOR GOD). Instead, God came to be WITH us.
• In LIFE WITH GOD, we do not seek to use God to achieve another goal. In LIFE WITH GOD, God is the goal. God becomes our treasure, our desire. We seek to be restored to the perfect image of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
With by Skye Jethani
They will answer,
"Christ. He is my treasure." That person has found the irreducible foundation of a life with God.
RETURN TO MAIN
• Obedience gave the older son, as it did the Pharisees, a sense of self-righteousness—a smug arrogance that became bitterness, resentfulness, and anger toward those deemed less valuable.
• Life with God is different because its goal is not to use God; its goal is God. He ceases to be a device we employ or a commodity we consume. Instead God himself becomes the focus of our desire. We learn that at the center of God’s heart is having his children with him. Life with God posture is predicated on treasuring God above all else…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
• The reason most people gravitate to one of the other four postures is because they’ve never received a clear vision of who God is, and so they settle for something less.
• The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.
• Everything in the apostle’s life, including God’s mission, took a backseat to his paramount goal; God himself. Just being with God.
• Fulfilling God’s desire to be with us is why Jesus went to the cross
• One of the diagnostic question I ask people when determining what posture they are living from is: What is your treasure? What is the goal and desire of your life? What would you give everything to possess? You can imagine the range of answers I have heard. But occasionally a person's eyes will sharpen as if they are looking at something or someone past me. A subtle smile will appear. And they will answer, "Christ. He is my treasure." That person has found the irreducible foundation of a life with God.• Life from God: we live in a material world, consumeristic. Many people see God as a divine butler, and cosmic therapist, existing to help through problems and achieve dreams and desires. • LIFE FROM GOD looks at a God who exists to supply what I need or desire. The only experience or relationship with God in this posture becomes receiving material or personal “blessings.” The extreme form of this posture is “The Prosperity Gospel.” This posture is appealing because we are not asked to change our lives very much. We can distract ourselves from fear and pain, and we feel in control. We forget why we need God. We get comfortable. But when pain and suffering DO happen, there is no explanation.• At the CORE of LIFE FROM GOD? Me (no relationship with God).• Life over God: the basic principle of the LIFE OVER GOD posture is humanity living without God.
• LIFE OVER GOD means that there is no room or need for God. The universe is a machine that we can understand, and God is simply the clockmaker that made the clock and stepped back. God established principles and natural law, and gave us a manual (Bible). We substitute a relationship with God for a relationship with the manual and principles (We have the repair manual, why talk to the mechanic?) We have the steps and the laws and instructions. There is no need for any relationship.
• At the CORE of LIFE OVER GOD? An immutable set of principles (No relationship with God.)
• LIFE FOR GOD posture: is motivated by a fear of living an insignificant life. This posture believes that what matters most to God is what you can accomplish for God (not God’s love for you or a relationship). This posture tends to be the opposite of LIFE FROM GOD. Mission and helping people becomes the only goal. There is no relationship for God. There is only the accomplishment of as much as possible FOR GOD.
• 4 Postures we have in relating to God; Life from God, Life over God, Life under God, Life for God, Life with God
• To begin we must understand how the life with God posture differs from the other four.
• Life under, over, from and for God each seeks to use God to achieve some other goal. God is seen as a means to an end.
• Life from God (a genie to grant us our desires) Uses God to supply our material desires. Primarily concerned with scarcity—not having enough. Places self with its desires at the core. People in this category want God’s blessings and gifts, but they are not particularly interested in God himself. These people view God as a combination of divine butler, a cosmic therapist, a holy vending machine who dispenses the wares and wisdom they desire. God exists to help them through their problems and achieve what they desire. Life from God is nothing more than consumerism with a Jesus sticker slapped on the bumper.
• Life over God (implementation of useful principles) Uses God as the source of principles or laws. It employees natural laws or divine principles extracted from the Bible to help us through life’s challenges. Want to avoid catastrophe? Then organize your life around God’s principles. Believes natural law or principles are at the core. Proven formulas and controllable outcomes.
• Life under God (rules & rituals) tries to manipulate God through obedience to secure blessings and avoid calamity. Seeks to control the world by securing God’s blessing via rituals and/or morality. Believes divine will is at the center of the cosmic apple. These people see God in simple cause and effect terms—we obey his commands and he blesses our lives, our families and our nation. Religious worldview; values biblical morality…religious right.
• Life for God (a task to accomplish) uses God and his mission to gain a sense of direction and purpose. Depicted by the older son in Jesus’ parable, tries to extract God’s favor through faithful service. Accomplish enough for God and he will bless and protect you. Believes a mission is at the core. The most significant life, it believes, is the one expended accomplishing great things in God’s service. The relentless drive to prove our worth can quickly become destructive. Belief that the worth of one’s life is determined by the achievement of a grand objective.
Raising a Modern Day Knight Half Time Authentic Faith Choose the Life Rumors
The Ishbane Conspiracy The Unstoppable Force When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box Spirit of the Disciplines
The Dangerous Duty of Delight A Million Miles in a Thousand Years Paul Follow Me Sacred Pathways Buried Alive