Thursday, November 01, 2007

Time to Settle a Basic Issue

Many Christians, maybe most of us, struggle with a form of doubt. This kind of doubt is not so much an academic skepticism as it is a sort of veiled rebellion, a subtle self-assertion that hides an unsubmitted heart and a willful spirit.

In my own life, I wrestled with this kind of doubt in my early days as a Christian. I would never have said I actually doubted God’s Word. However, I searched for loopholes in It that would allow me to maintain my willful ways. Then, God forced me to face a basic issue about life.

The issue was ownership.

Let me explain.

As a pastor’s son, I had grown up with a clear knowledge of the Gospel from an early age. Before I was ten, I trusted Christ and committed my life to Him – at least, insofar as I knew what that meant at that age. For eight years thereafter, I increasingly viewed my relationship with Him more or less as a way to get God to guarantee the kind of life I wanted for myself. I wanted God to make me what I wanted to be.

During these eight years, God was arranging a confrontation between Him and me. In one crystallized moment in October, 1971 (can it really be thirty-six years ago this month?), God forced me to realize that most of my dreams were nothing more than the expression of my selfish desire to be in charge of my own life.

In other words, He made me understand that I am not my own. God, as Creator, has the right of absolute ownership of everything that exists. Moreover, as Redeemer, He has purchased me back from my own rebellion against Him. Thus, His ownership of me is two-fold: He owns me because He created me, and He owns me because He redeemed me.

In a moment of time, God made this truth exceptionally, life-changingly clear. Nothing else mattered until this was settled: He made me; He saved me; and He owns me. Everything I am and everything I have; my past, present and future; my talents and abilities; my assets and liabilities: they all belong to Him. What I had previously considered mine was really all His.

Settling that issue didn’t solve every problem or answer every doubt. But it did clarify a lot of other issues. All of a sudden, the daily details of my life mattered, because my life was, in point of fact, not my life at all. Everything became important because it was an expression of His ownership.

Have you settled the issue of who owns you? A great joy comes when you realize that you are owned by God, and your sense of ownership passes out of your feeble hands into His almighty grip. After all, it’s much more blessed to live in God’s house than your own; to drive God’s car than yours; and to follow God’s plans than those you make.

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