Questions That Will Shape Your Life
How Do I Fit?
Text: Romans 12:3-13
Proposition: Understanding how we fit into the life that God has set before us helps solve the issues of where, what and when we contribute to it.
Introduction: I was in getting an oil change on my car this week and as I looked at the list of things that they would do one of them was that they would drain the water. What water? I wondered if that was something I should have been doing all along. I wondered how I could ask the mechanic what that was without looking foolish. So I asked the mechanics helper who, thankfully, looked at me and then looked at the item listed on the oil change description and then asked the chief mechanic what that referred to. As it turns out the water they referred to was water that sometimes gets into the fuel system because people have filled their cars from 45 gallon drums or contaminated tanks. Sometimes I guess it means asking questions even at the risk of getting simple and obvious answers. I think that there are a number of questions that we all ask ourselves, questions that are often repeated over the years of our lives. It is how we answer these questions or how we come to grips with leaving them unanswered that shapes the beliefs which we live by. If someone were to ask you to design three questions that you felt were the most significant and important ones for any persons entire life, what would those questions be? That may sound like a task for philosophers or theologians but it is one that we all have already experienced. We have had to ask and answer those very questions many times. I was reading a passage of Scripture this week that made an encompassing statement, it was huge and from it there were three implied conclusions and each conclusion points back to a source question.
Paul describes how God had raised up the nation of Israel and then temporarily set it aside that He would draw in all the Gentile peoples. So for 2000 years God builds and directs the nation of Israel and then for the next 2000 years He invites in the Gentile peoples of the world. After this has been accomplished, says Paul, then Israel will be restored at God’s perfect timing. It’s then that Paul makes this statement in Romans 11:36, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.” “All things”, I’m thinking that means everything, not just the politics of Israel but everything, from quirks to quarks. Let’s look at the implications of this statement.
“For OF Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are all things…”.
Let’s break it down like this:
OF Him = Causality, source, beginning, His design and His act of making things the way He has chosen and in the case of salvation even His very life itself.
THROUGH Him = Sustainability, what keeps things going, what directs and supplies what is needed for now and to bring it to completion.
TO Him = Significance, ultimate purpose, the intention behind causality and sustainability is that ultimately it all points to the truth of Who He is, what He has done and what He intends to do…in short it points to His glory.
Okay, so this may sound like quantum physics to some and you might be asking so what are the source questions that these three inferences point to? Well if what it says is true, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be the glory forever.”, then I’m thinking that the “all things” includes you and I, it includes the events of our lives, and from this place we can find the source questions that we have run into in our lives again and again. If you believe this is the word of God and is without error then we can surmise that the key questions of life will be found around the territories of Causality, Sustainability and Significance. That’s it, that’s my whole argument, it’s from here that I’m going to suggest three questions that will shape our lives.
Question # 1. How Do I Fit?
This is a greater question than ‘where’ or ‘what’ or ‘when’, in fact when I understand the ‘how do I fit’ question it opens the way to solve the others. ‘How’ addresses the issue of design, what has caused you to be, it is the most fundamental statement about who you are. You could even say that it defines our identity. As you care for young children the question of origins will likely come up. They grow in an awareness of their surroundings and then one day they realize that there was a time when they weren’t, it prompts their question, ‘Mommy where did I come from?” It is really a question that seeks relevance for today, if I know where I came from then that will help me know who I am today. So we tell our children the basic facts of birth, maybe even conception, but that still falls short of saying that Who caused me to be is God. Perhaps we should tell our children the simple truth, “God made you from all the wonder of Who He is.” We are created beings, made in the image of God with emotion, will and intellect. We have been created in all aspects of our being that we would not only discover our world but that we would more importantly discover the truth of Who God is.
If you believe even for a moment that God has indeed made you then you have to consider the reality that He made you unique, your first clue is that your face out of billions of people is only your face. What do you call something when it is the only one of its kind in existence? You could say it was ‘rare’ but that would be an understatement. What about precious, of great value, one of a kind, of great worth! That’s who you are, it’s the first conclusion that causality points us to. The great worth comes not from things we have done or produced, it comes from the One who has created us the way we are. That is the core of our identity, we are of great worth and it is the beginning point for answering the question ‘how do I fit?’. Sins’ effect in the world and in our natures is to deny that truth, to proclaim ourselves or others as worthless because of some issue of performance or living condition. That’s a lie, the intrinsic worth of man is why God so loved the world, it’s why He sent His Son to die on the cross, to redeem man from sin that man would ever more discover the truth of how he fits and the truth of Who God is. Our worth in the eyes of God comes because we are made is His image but we also have great worth to God because of what Paul says next in Romans 12:1. “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice which is your reasonable service.”
So what do you know about a sacrifice?
1. It was supposed to be exceptional, without blemish or spot. Well maybe your thinking, “that doesn’t describe me, I’ve got lots of short comings.” This Scripture is directed to Christians, it’s what the word brethren refers to. When we believe and ask Jesus Christ to be our Savior it means that now Jesus is our ‘stand in’ for sin, He is the One who has borne the penalty of our sin. He did that so that as he stands in for us we could then stand in His position, one who is free from the wrath of God against sin. In Christ’s righteousness we stand which is what I would call without blemish or spot.
What else do you know about sacrifice?
2. It was the life of one laid down for another, it was a way that God was worshipped, it was critical for a right relationship with God. Okay, so if you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you stand blameless. But how will you lay down your life for another seeing as how that’s what Jesus did for us and now we are called to be living sacrifices? Well it seems to imply that the sacrifice doesn’t die, it’s a living sacrifice that chooses to lay down its life again and again. How is God worshipped through such actions? Is it possible that worship of God is directly related to how I serve others? In what areas might you lay down your life this week as you serve your wife, your children, your friends, your enemies? I’m sure the possibilities are endless but one thing that you can be sure of is that just like any sacrifice, it is part of a right relationship with God.
Who God has created you to be is a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. To choose to live from today onward as one without blemish in Christ, one of great worth to God, one whose life is to be given for others, a life I am to choose to lay down again and again and that this will be one of the ways that I worship God, that answers the question of “How do I fit?”. I will fit in my family, in my job, in my community and specifically in the church as I grasp this truth.
The ‘what, where, when and with who’ questions are all secondary to “How do I fit?” They all have many possible answers, “How do I fit?” has only one answer. Since I have been created by God in His image I will fit best in all things when I choose to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. It is what He expects of my life, it’s my reasonable service of worship to Him.