Week 4 of a 52-week Quiet Time series entitled “Living As One New Man”
“God’s Greatest Desire”
Living As One New Man #4
Read Ephesians 1:5-10
A person’s greatest desire is what drives them. When we feel strongly about something, it influences everything we do – our thoughts, attitudes and actions reflect whatever it is. If you want to see what really motivates a person, look at where they spend their time and energy. There you will find the desire of their heart. In this passage, one of the richest in the Bible, we learn that God’s greatest desire is to transform sinful people into His holy and blameless children!
Paul tells us that he chose us a long time ago, and put the most beautiful plan into action. That plan was from his own “pleasure and will,” his glorious grace was “lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Why? So ALL things in heaven and on earth can be brought together into perfect unity through Christ! I just wrote all that, but I’m positive I don’t fully understand all of it. It’s simply remarkable, inspiring, unbelievable and hard to fathom.
The term “reconciliation” means to bring together parties who are estranged from each other. God’s greatest desire is total reconciliation of sinners, and his plan, repeated all through the Bible, involves three main steps.
First, He reconciles US to Him. This is the process of conversion, because our lives are “converted” from sinful, alienated people into a relationship with Him. I remember studying the Bible, working through my sin, apologizing to people and God, and doing the hard work of bringing my life into His Lordship. I was lost, He found me, now I can stand before Him as His son, reconciled (not perfect) in my relationship with Him – very humbling indeed.
Second, He reconciles US to EACH OTHER. It makes sense that our own conversion has to precede this, for without the wisdom and power of the cross, we have no idea how to forgive each other, work things out, and be truly unified in our relationships. In the New Testament church, the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles was a very powerful display of what can happen when God changes people’s hearts. This simply cannot be accomplished by men.
Third, God reconciles US ALL into His creation called the church – an assembly of reconciled sinners. Sorry to break it to you, but the church is NOT a man-made institution (although man tries mightily to change it!). It is God’s creation, and His purpose was to provide the world with a tangible display of His greatness and wisdom. The church is the culmination of His plan, and one of the many tools He uses to bring more sinners in for more reconciliation.
I believe this is what drives God. He is consumed by it…are we?
1. How do you fit into God’s grand plan? Is your relationship with God what drives you? Further, are you highly motivated to help others get reconciled?
2. How do you view the church? To God, it’s a BIG deal – what about to you?