If you are a church-going Christian then I am aware that this title may immediately ruffle your feathers. But take this blog to heart and consider the premise. My goal is to look at the “Destiny” message as it is largely taught and understood, and evaluate it in light of the purpose of Christ. Also I want to explore how this message can be used to manipulate a believer as well as shackle them with feelings of grief and worthlessness.
What is the destiny message? The church in the last decade or so (and probably longer) has been championing the idea that each of us have a destiny. This destiny is to be adopted into God’s family by faith, to receive his grace so that we can do something great for God. All in all we are told that God loves us, he sacrificed his all for us and now we are called in to his grand plan. This grand plan is usually equated to doing something greater. Something BIG. Because that is his ultimate purpose for us as a believer, to do His work in the earth.
So what, you might ask, is wrong with that message? Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with that message as it stands alone. The problem and the reason for addressing the message of destiny, is how that message is communicated, what is typically implied and how you define words like “big”, “greater”, “his work”, “his grand plan”. This message of destiny is true and lovely, but can be married to something filthy, ugly and self serving.
It’s kind of like watching a movie. When you watch an emotional scene on the big screen, your heart is tugged and pulled as the soft emotional music underscores the actions of the actor and actresses on screen. The music and the image work together to generate an emotion that touches your heart. This is how the process is designed to work. It generates the proper response. Now imagine that same emotional music underscoring a scene of carnage, destruction and death. The music moves us emotionally, but the image onscreen doesn’t make sense. The image onscreen isn’t beautiful, moving or lovely. It is in fact awful to view, but our heart has a hard time dealing with this polarized emotional concoction. We can’t deny the beauty of the score and we can’t deny the horror of the images.
This is how I view the destiny message as it has taken root in the Christian faith. A beautiful and emotional musical score underlying scenes of carnage, destruction and death.
At times we have appropriately shared the truth of God’s love, forgiveness, grace, acceptance with people who are absolutely dying to hear that they are special. People need to know that our God loves everyone and that each and every person on the planet is special to him. Sadly this is where the good news usually ends, and instead of letting God dictate his terms to his new son or daughter about their new inheritance, we jump in and dictate the terms for him. We have a great knack for fast-tracking believers into action. Motivation be damned! What counts is what you can take into account!
If you are of the mind that doing something great for God means being in leadership, speaking on stage to people, planting a church, being a missionary, giving away all of your possessions, committing your life to full-time ministry, being a worship leader, etc. then someone has taken the place of God and dictated the terms of your inheritance to you. These aren’t evil things to do – and they are great things (most of them are at least) – but they have nothing to do with greatness in the eyes of God.
This may come as a shock to you, but it’s true: You could quit all of what you are doing for God today and it has zero effect on how he feels about you as a child. If you are a parent you know this to be true.
Deception is best and most effectively used when it is paired with morsels of truth. Good things are used by our enemy to distract you from your loving Father and His voice. Good things are used to draw your attention to yourself and consequently away from the truly Great One.
So what am I saying? Lay down on the couch for the rest of your life and think about God’s love? Well if you wanted to do that and somehow were able to accomplished it, it wouldn’t change the way God feels about you. But I guarantee you that you will not be able to sit still that long. God’s love is a seriously motivating force. What I am saying is get to know the One that poured out His wrath on His Son on your behalf. The One who adopted you into His family and made you a son or daughter in His house.
I can guarantee you that Jesus did not accept the cross so that you could become a church leader, a missionary, a worship pastor or a church planter (my apologies to all of the above). He purchased you so that you could take part in the fullness of the intimacy he shares with His Father. You might become one of these folks, after all you are given gifts from God for you to use, but I promise that whatever you do will be a fruit of your intimate relationship with the Father and not that which defines you.
Enjoy your life with God. Experience the joy of friendship and family. Receive the Father’s love into your heart. Be transformed into a man or woman at peace with life and death. Understand the prompting of the Holy Spirit in your heart and joyfully follow after his leading. Learn to walk in the fullness and freedom of your newly realized heritage.
Let your destiny journey start (and linger) there. Understand yourself as a son or daughter and watch as the Lord opens your heart to the fullness of your inheritance.