Meditating on the Will of God: 14: God’s Preplanning
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We started the previous meditation by saying that, there will be times when we will tread the same ground more than once. The more we tread it the more we will understand it. Here it is more of a case of stepping off onto new ground – that we have touched on before – but which is an extension of where we have just been..
We have just been considering that God has made us anew, we are new creatures, as Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17) but more than that, we are people who are designed to be good and do good, good works to bless this world, good works as guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
But then comes this tantalizing thought, that not only did God predestine us before the foundation of this world to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus, part of that means He has predestined us to do good works, i.e. God knew the sort of person we would be, He knew the genetic makeup that we would have that meant that we had certain tendencies or dispositions passed on by our parents, and He knew the things that would happen to us from the moment of conception. For some of us, He knew that our mother, carrying us in the womb, would be going through stressful times and that that stress was conveyed to us in the womb so that we were born with those things influencing us negatively, that we would have to struggle to overcome. For others of us, our mother was full of joy throughout our time in the womb and that was conveyed to us so we arrive with a sunny disposition. The combinations of these things – genes and experience – are endless and only God is great enough to know how they will work out for us as an individual.
Jeremiah is the classic in all this when the Lord said to him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5) David understood all this when he wrote that amazing Psa 139: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psa 139:15,16) God sees and God knows. He sees and knows exactly what we are like and why we are like we are. So whether it was before the foundation of the world or when we were in our mother’s womb, the Lord saw and the Lord knew.
So when we put all these things together, He didn’t only know WHEN we would come to Him and the circumstances needed to bring that about, He also knew the sort of person we would be and because He knows exactly what we are like He can match us with the very best role in life where, with His help, we will achieve the things on His heart and the things that will make us feel more fulfilled.
The tragedy of this is that because of freewill and because of sin and because of Satan, these things are often delayed in us and often take a long time to come about because there is a battle going on and from God’s side it is a battle to get you to enter into the very best that could be for you. On the other side Satan is trying to stop that happening. In the middle we, with the remnants of that old self-centred, godless nature lurking in the background, struggle with all these forces. Satan tries to keep us ignorant of these things so we settle for less than best, but all the time the Lord is working to educate you so that you come to see the wonder of what He has on His heart for you – but it is a battle! We have our part to play which is why the apostle Paul says, “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God,” (Rom 6:12,13) and “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry,” (Col 3:5) and “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:22-24)
All these verses – and many more in Scripture – tell us we have a part to play, to put off certain things and put on others, so that we become more Christ-like and are more available to the Lord to work out His purposes in and through us. And there we return to the hub – His purposes. That is what we keep coming back to in these studies: God’s will is all about Him working to bring about His purposes which are to rid the world of all that is evil, all that mars and spoils the wonderful creation (including us!) – hence 1 Cor 15:24,25 “he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” His ‘enemies’ are all those things we just referred to that mar and spoil His world, and He knows exactly how we can fit in to this plan, for our blessing, for the blessing of the world and, as we saw in the previous meditation, for His own pleasure.