Links Daily Devotional

Control Issues

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16, NIV)

If you could view a map of your life, what would it look like? How much of a role would you play in ordering your progress? And how much of a role belongs to God?

These were the questions master discipler Dwight Hill (with prompting from Walter Hendrickson and Samuel K. Beler) was driving at when he recently stated: “Reason says that we determine our standard of living here and that God determines it in heaven.”

We partition our eternal lives into two parts. Part One comes here on earth; Part Two comes in heaven. And we—or so we think—have control over what happens here.

But Hill went on to reverse our ordinary thinking: “Revelation (or Scripture) states that God determines our standard of living here and we determine it in heaven.” That is, the way we live our lives now—especially in regards to the faith we put in Jesus as our Savior and eternal benefactor—has everything to do with where we will live after our bodies die.

Some would argue this. They would say, “I’ve worked for everything I’ve ever gotten here!” OK, but let’s consider your golf game. Ahead of your mental commitment and hard work, who gave you the ability and the hand and eye co-ordination to swing a golf club? How is it that your body has held up while your buddy has battled his back, wrestled with his wrist, and knuckled under to his knees? Your DNA and family history—these are not your own. I still believe that I inherited my dad’s poor putting stroke, which many called “the mousetrap stab” (can you see the visual on that one?!).

If we allow ourselves to back up to the beginning of our lives, we are better at seeing it: All is from God—our place of birth, our family support, our inborn intelligence, and our educational advancement. Even our ability to understand that there is a God comes from him!

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, but we are placed in many places with many different gifts. Our lives do not look the same. God determines our standard of living on earth. While many have pondered this “inequality,” in truth we are asked each one to answer this question only: What will I do with the life God has given me?

This question represents the choice we have as to where we will spend eternity and receive the rewards that last forever. And this choice determines our standard of living in heaven, where we are promised these if we choose Jesus: the imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:25), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), and the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4), and the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

We get to choose heaven, where God has already established a standard of living for us that is “out of this world.” You see, he really has a hand in determining both, but he has given us the unique opportunity to trust Jesus and pursue the eternal standard of living that we will share with him. It is so like a loving Father to do just that! Thank you, Lord.

Randy Wolff
October 8, 2013
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