The Christian Soul: Sovereignty

So much rests on God’s sovereignty.

By sovereignty I mean the idea — and not just the idea but the very fact — that God is in control of our lives. That He is not only allowing but orchestrating every circumstance in which we find ourselves, down the the smallest detail. And it is all for our good.

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10)

So much rests on this idea of God being perfectly in control of Creation, and our lives, because without it, we cannot truly come to a place of rest ourselves. We will not be able to rest in God’s perfect care. We shall instead “be like the pagans” who chase after many things, finding ways to meet their own needs.

In the parable Jesus tells of the sower, some seed falls among thorns. According to the parable, this seed is choked, and Jesus later explains to His disciples that the thorns represents “the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth.” These are two very different things, but they do share one thing in common: They both stem from meeting one’s own needs.

If we must meet our own needs, then (let’s face it) there is much to worry about. And if we must meet our own needs, then wealth is deceitful because it holds out to us the promise of delivering us from the worry that characterizes our existence.

Wealth symbolizes our own attempt to take care of our own needs. It promises to provide for us, to protect us, even to fulfill us. If we were only rich enough, then we would be happy. If we only possessed the resources, then we could take care of our own needs, even our own spiritual needs. So we reason. Wealth then is not deceitful in itself; it is only deceitful to the extent it represents the deception we believe about ourselves: That we are able to take care of our own needs.

Wealth is not deceitful in itself; it is only deceitful to the extent it represents the deception we believe about ourselves: That we are able to take care of our own needs.

One of the big mistakes we make in our pursuit of Christian spirituality is trying to find God in that place of restlessness where we are taking care of our own needs, instead of finding God in the place of His sovereignty where He is committed to taking care of our needs. We say, “God wants to bless us,” which of course is true. But then we secretly ask, “How can I get God to bless me in the way I wish to be blessed? How can I get God to go along with my plan to take care of myself?” God becomes to us the means to the end we seek instead of the end we seek. In truth, He becomes to us just another form of wealth.

But I do not blame us. Not one bit. The fact we do this is not only natural but inevitable — that is, if we do not realize how in control God is: How deep within His care we already live. How close to us God already is. How intimately involved in our circumstances He is working. We are worth much more than many sparrows.

This knowledge marks the dividing line between us building God into something we can control and us understanding we exist in a world in which God is in control.

Ironically, the thing that often causes us to doubt in God’s sovereignty is our very doubt of it in the first place. I think of the children of Israel being led by God and provided Manna daily, and those poor souls who thought it would be a good idea to collect more than what they needed for that day, only to discover the next morning their provision foul and full of maggots.* I can imagine one of them saying, “How can we possibly believe God is in control of every circumstance in our lives when there are maggots in our food?”

But God was in control. He was in control of the maggots as much as He was in control of the Manna. And even in these circumstances, He was still committed to their care. His care simply looked different. It may have even looked severe. But what may have appeared to the uninitiated as severe, even perhaps indifferent, was God working deeply in the details of life. He was delivering His children from their restlessness built on a belief in a world out of control, into the perfect peace which is built on the knowledge that God is in control.

The thing about God’s sovereignty is that it is true whether we believe in it or not. Our belief simply determines whether we find the world (and God) to be severe, or whether we find ourselves in His perfect care. Our doubt in God’s perfect control may even be reinforced by the consequences it brings, like an endless feedback loop, but it cannot change the fact that in the details of our own experience, God is actively working. In order to bring us to the knowledge of Himself.

So much rests on God’s sovereignty. Indeed our very lives; we cannot help but be found within its folds. Be blessed this day, and may any endless feedback loop of doubt in your own life be broken in Jesus’ Name that you might rest in God’s perfect peace. After all, you are worth far more than many sparrows.

 


Photo by Przemyslaw Reinfus on Unsplash

*Exodus 16:20

11 thoughts on “The Christian Soul: Sovereignty

  1. Good stuff! Well said.

    I call God’s sovereignty a real brain teaser because it’s too big for my brain to understand fully. I understand it emotionally which is the part that matters, at least for me. LOL! As long as I’m comfortable and resting in His peace, it’s all good. But people can get really tangled up in predestination versus freewill and there are ditches on both sides of those arguments. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and yet can we change His mind? Can you change the mind of a God that exists outside of time? A God who has ordered our steps? I think we can, I think there is some evidence that He actually allows us to influence Him. But mostly I think He changes OUR minds. Of course, when He helps us to change our own minds, it changes everything.

    1. I have never especially enjoyed time travel stories. Same problem as those predestination versus freewill conundrums. The logical twists and turns get so complex the story line gets lost.

      Because God is the Creator, not part of His Creation, He is in utter and complete control. Still, He seems to have given us the choice to love Him, or not. And loving Him, because He is God, means trusting and obeying Him. We must trust and obey — we must surrender our pride — because He is God, and “I” am not. Beyond that my little mind gets lost in the twists and turns of a universe that is too big for me. As a child — His child — I must trust our Father God.

      Therefore, I appreciate that observation about relationship between thorns and wealth. Both our fear of the thorns and dependence upon wealth cause us to worry. We know implicitly only God offers salvation. We can see there is nothing we can do. We can see the obvious. We cannot save ourselves, but we so much want to believe otherwise. We must trust the One who can and will save us, if we choose to accept His offer. But not all are predestined to do so. Am I? What matters is how I choose.

      1. I agree Citizen with much of this (though I do like time travel stories!). I believe there are things that we mere mortals are simply not prepared to full understand. However, to the extent we can, we should. Regarding sovereignty, we are prepared to understand that God is fully in control and that we have be chosen before the foundation of the world, neither of which violate our exercise of free will. How is for a Greater Mind to understand.

      2. Somebody must like time travel stories, cause somebody keeps writing them.
        😄

        I suppose the way I stated the problem of trying to understand God and His Creation it sounds so hopeless we should not bother trying. Yet trying to understand and appreciate God and what He has created is an act of worship. We were made to love, and part of loving is wanting to know and understand what we love. What matter in this case is our motivation, not the act itself.

  2. God’s sovereignty cannot be overstated – I for one need to walk in that truth more and more. Great post. Bookmarking the page in case I need reminding, “God is in control of our lives.” Thanks. 🌱

  3. Through t freverently praying our wonderful Lord heard me and the eoman standing next to me in chutch leaned over and said “i dont lnow ehy but God wants me to tell you your breakthrough is coming QUICKLY and your family’s protected through ypur faith and holiness.” Then!!!!! Im all the sudden in a vision dancing with Jesus on a fall road with a tree line of beautiful fall leaves!!! He danced with me and held me close letting me know I AM LOVED!!!!

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