7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quietyes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
11-12 Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
You hear a lot of people, in the world and in the Church, that love that “D” word, ‘destiny’. People throw that word around as if it was going out of style. It is often used in sport, as in “teams of destiny”, like the New England Patriots of the last decade, or even a particular athlete, like Tom Brady. In politics you hear it when a person overcomes great adversity to reach the top, as in Obama becoming President, “his destiny was to become the first black President.” You hear and see it thrown around the Church, speaking of particular movements of the Spirit of God, especially as it pertains to the prophetic element in the Charismatic Movement. There have been “destiny” conferences, books, CD’s, seminars and messages given to all segments and sectors of the population, from young children, youth, and adults of all ages, all addressing the subject of “destiny” and purpose that God has for you in the world.
There are Two Considerations
So here today, we have a verse boldly declaring two things that are important to consider as these two things affect your very life and the direction and attitude you develop in living your life. These are:
- God is sovereign over all things in life. As The Message states it, “God is in charge of deciding human destiny.”
- Mind your own P’s and Q’s. In other words mind your own business. Or again as The Message puts it, “Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?”
Organized societies have for millennia been carrying the business of raising children within a family structure that emphasizes the dual role of family and belonging, and belonging and contributing to society. Children have been and are raised so that they will become responsible citizens. Through socialization in family, community and engagement in organized society, a child matures and grows and begins to understand their responsibility as a citizen, and discover their aptitudes, gifts and talents, and through education and personal and professional development, they begin to express what it is they feel and believe their purpose is for in this world.
With all we have, people still don’t know their destiny and purpose
When you see the product line of materials on personal and professional development as well as the far ranging counselling services that abound within our own culture, you can discern that there are multitudes of people who have no idea about their own “destiny” and purpose in the world. Many are extremely gifted and talented, but have no real center or focus or bearing for direction. They feel in many ways that they are adrift on a turbulent sea and shift whatever ways the winds and the waves happen to be moving.
This is the crisis of destiny people are facing.
Perhaps the greatest question is “Why am I here?” and “What is the purpose for my life?” All these questions pertain to destiny. For what have we been destined for? How much can you affect your own destiny? For the Christian it can even go as far as “Am I in the perfect will of God?”
I am a Christian, and as such I hold to a view of life and purpose that is God centred and God driven. I take comfort in that part of the verse that says that it is God that determines the destinies of people. I know from my own journey with Jesus Christ, that each day He leads and He guides me and empowers me to do His will, and where there are struggles, these struggles become opportunities for me to grow as a person and have my character shaped and transformed, be that at home, at work or at play. Spiritual formation is one of those things you cannot nail down and at the end of a specific time treat it as an accomplished and finished task. Spiritual formation is the ongoing work of the Spirit of God in us, that shapes and moulds our lives into the character of Jesus. This continues from our first breath to our very last breath on this earth. I accept this as a given fact. It is well articulated in an old Gospel song, and perhaps the best rendition I have yet heard of it, is the one by Willie Nelson, “I can hear the Saviour calling.”
We have but our own journey to be responsible for
But, and again, I say but, this verse is pertaining indirectly to our own destinies, and specifically to the destinies of others. The direction and implication is clear. Do not meddle in the affairs and destinies of other people. Don’t be a busybody and a person who runs amok in the ongoings of other people.
It is also a cautionary word for us as adults and parents. We need to give enough guidance and direction to our children so that they will learn what it is to make difficult decisions in day to day life, both the good and the bad and painful, and hopefully learn how to make corrections and adjustments in decisions that affect direction in life and career choices. But as adult parents, we need to make enough room to be present and engaged with our children, room enough to encourage and motivate and affirm, without our interfering with those decisions which they make. Once our adult children have made their decisions, well intended and reasoned, we then should affirm and support as much as we can and are able, their choice and decision.
Seeing Jesus in others
These kinds of maturing moments are moments were people of all ages really fine tune who they are as people, and reveal how they themselves were raised and also reveal those areas that still need maturity and personal development. Some people can be mature age wise, but very immature when it comes to character, personal and social development. We need to be mindful of that and respectful of the journey people are on. Life is but the ongoing journey of discovering who we are, and who God intended us to become, and the discovery of all God has put in place for us to become all He has intended us to be. Life is the process, and the living out of each moment in the journey leads to achieving the destiny and purpose for our lives.
James tells us to recognize that God is the one who determines each person’s destiny. We need to be mindful of this reality. It is pivotal to our own journey with God and our own destiny and purpose. If I see Jesus in the other person, and how He loves and cherishes them, then I will respect and support that person, and affirm them, and leave their journey to God and not run interference or meddle in their lives. We will in turn reap the same respect from others for us and our own journey with God.
Be mindful and purposeful
If I am mindful of another person’s destiny, and that God has ordered their steps, then I am recognizing God in their life, and God being present in all they are about. Even when the choices being made by people are not the choices we would make, or we may think we are wiser and more prudent than another person and their choices, we need to back off, and not interfere, and not take it so personal, that this person is moving in a particular direction with purpose and intent. We each have our own walk to walk. What we can do is be supportive of each other, and make room for each other, so that we can be of help and not a hinderance to each other.
I am reminded of the words of Hebrews 12 [TLB]:
12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
We need to remember we have but our own lives to live, and that we journey with God and with other people, and that we can be a help to others on this life journey of discovery of who God is, our place in this world and the destiny and purpose He has for each one of us.
Carpe Diem – Seize the Day
Embrace the moments. They are precious. Each moment is a moment where God is already present. These moments move us, shape us and transform us, all in the process of becoming who we were always intended to become. Embrace the challenges. Embrace the divine interruptions. Don’t meddle in the life of others. Be present in their moments, and love and affirm and support them. God is already well at work in their lives giving them destiny and purpose, just as He is with you. Peace.