by Carl H. Stevens
Why are there so many casualties among believers, even in Spirit-filled ministries? Why do men who have been called to be pastors become fearful, insecure, or refuse to study to be effective in their call? Why do so many Christians defeat true spirituality by substituting morality and self-righteousness? Morality, which is necessary to preserve individual freedom and national entity, can be experienced without the Holy Spirit and without Bible doctrine. The un-saved person can be the most moral person in the world, but for all of his goodness he cannot be spiritual.
In Hosea 7:8, God speaks of Israel as “a cake not turned” – half-baked and mixed with unbelievers. God’s own, whom He taught in the way, had strayed far from their eternal purpose as a nation. Today God calls out to the Church with the same exhortation. We are a people called with an eternal purpose to an eternal destiny. If there is a heaven, if hell is real, and if the Bible is the infallible, inspired canon of Scripture (not to be added to nor taken away from) that will judge every man, thenwho would do anything else but get to know the One who wrote the Bible?
Predestined in Christ
The Bible says in Psalm 138:8 that God perfects that which concerns us. The next line says that His mercy endures forever. Then the Psalmist pleads with his Creator, “Forsake not the works of thine own hands”!
Every believer is in a process, and I believe that what motivates us to continue in the love of God is a personal sense of destiny. Each believer is heading toward God’s ultimate purpose, eternal perfection. “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Through this personal sense of destiny, we guard against developing negative attitudes such as familiarity or withdrawing though we are tired. People are quietly able to withstand unimaginable adversity because they are motivated by a personal sense of destiny and an eternal purpose.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29).
Think of it: We were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son! This sense of destiny with an eternal purpose goes way beyond the pleasures of this life, far beyond natural success and materialistic gain (even though that can glorify God). We must never lose this sense of our personal destiny. Always allow the breath of your eternal purpose to give life to your soul.
Living in the Work of God
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
With all the problems on the earth, we were called to live here. Not only were we called, but we were justified and glorified. If God be for us, who can be against us? We live in the work of God with a personal sense of destiny.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
Regarding this personal destiny, God guarantees that we will be like Him, and with no old sin nature. This is a promise from the One who cannot lie! No wonder Satan tries to stop us from hearing the Word of God properly (Luke 8:5-18). He will organize his demons to defeat our advances – especially when we are in the valley of decisions considering God’s call.
We have been called according to an eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:7-11). Therefore, we don’t look at the things that are seen but at the things which are not seen (2 Corinthians 4:18). We are a people destined to be perfected.
The most precious reality next to our sense of personal destiny and our eternal purpose is to have a personal understanding of 1 John 4:17 b, “As he is, so are we in this world.” Right now. As He is, so are we now, because of positional truth and because we are part of His Body, flesh, and bones – one spirit with Him.
As you dwell upon this truth, the personal sense of destiny rises in your heart, His eternal purpose consumes you in grace, and you have great value for your life, no matter what state you are in. Paul, in prisoner ‘s shackles, confessed that he was content because he knew his eternal value before God. Through redemption, he was a part of Christ. With this tremendous value placed on us by God, we take on the “new creation image” – a new self-image derived from our new value in Christ.
Yet, there are people who go to church and get their feelings hurt instead of realizing their personal sense of an eternal destiny. God has ordained us to be conformed to Christ’s image through all things that happen in our lives.
A People of Privilege
The Bible teaches that born-again believers are the most privileged people in all the world. No other people in world history have ever had the spiritual options that we have. Old Testament believers were “endued” or visited by the Holy Spirit. He would rest upon people at specific times for a purpose, but only a selected few would actually experience the power of the Holy Spirit within.
Today, every born-again believer has been purchased by the precious blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The moment a person is saved, he is filled with the Holy Spirit. When we sin, we grieve and can even quench the Holy Spirit; therefore we must judge our sin on Calvary to experience the filling of the Spirit again. We must repent and use recovery in purity. But the Holy Spirit will never be taken away from us. He indwells us forever.
God has given us a mandate to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be set apart by categorical doctrine, and to study to show ourselves approved, “workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Colossians 3:16 tells us to let the Word of God dwell richly in our hearts, and that the Word will produce a melody of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; we sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord.
If I honor the mandate to be filled with the Spirit and allow the Word to dwell richly in me, I will be victorious in every detail of life. Instead of having to wonder what to do in a situation, what is wrong with just being Spirit-filled and recognizing my spiritual purpose?
Clarity of Purpose
Here is the situation I see in the lives of so many Christians. People get disoriented in the fog of Satan. One person may become anxious and discontent if God doesn’t bring her a partner. Or another may get involved in a relationship when he is not mature enough to handle one – all because neither one has a clear purpose and a personal sense of destiny. They may make a decision to follow God in a call but end up wandering around in a fog because they do not have a spiritual sense of destiny.
If Christian families honored the instruction of Deuteronomy 6, every child by the age of eight would have an eternal sense of destiny. Couples should pray before they have children and not be sentimentally attached to a dream. Parents should be equipped and ready to lay down their lives with a commitment to begin teaching their children morning, noon, and night, starting in infancy.
Everything in our lives relates to our eternal purpose and our individual destiny. Each thing that happens in my life has an eternal purpose. Every breath, each thought, each word I speak, even when I get in my car or go into my office, my life must be conformed to the eternal purpose of Ephesians 3:11: “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Placed by God with a Purpose
I must understand my eternal purpose in relationship to my own life, my marriage, my family, and the Body of Christ. I have a destiny to know God, to be like Christ, to live for eternity. I have a destiny to serve God, to communicate the Bible, and to hate the world’s system. I have a destiny to think differently, to dress differently – to be different from the world. My whole purpose for being on this earth is to be transformed by the Word of God and to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. I am here to represent heaven, the Trinity, and the plan of God; and that will happen only in the measure that I have a sense of personal destiny.
The issues of death are from God (Psalm 68:20); we have no assurance what day, what hour, or what the cause of our death will be. Therefore, we should live each day through an eternal purpose and in an individual, personal destiny.
We are children of destiny. We were chosen because we accepted Christ! We have been called with a high and holy calling (Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 1:9). God has placed us where we are today, and He has a provision for everything in our lives – with no exceptions.
“But my God shall supply all your need [( every need!)] according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). As a child of destiny, my God shall supply every need I will ever have. I know it is true. I also know that without one exception, I can do all things – I can meet every confrontation, and I am equal to any detail I face. I can do all things well because I am a child of destiny. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
There is never a time we need to be home-sick. We can be content in whatsoever state we are in, and godliness with contentment is great gain (Philippians 4:11, 1 Timothy 6:6). The Christian isn’t anxious for the marriage problems to be resolved. The Christian isn’t anxious for anything! We are children of destiny; therefore, not only do we have godliness with contentment, but we are content with such things as we have (Hebrews 13:5). Even the thought of an anxiety attack should be foreign to us.
The first thing to recognize is that every believer has an eternal purpose that was purposed in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, and that everything in time has a purpose with God. Next, every believer has a personal destiny to be a member of the royal family of God and to be the future bride of Christ, which is the ultimate eternal state of our destiny. This is why when God doesn’t heal a person of a terminal disease, a believer can enter into “Operation Faith, Hope, and Happiness” because he knows he is nearing his destination of being free from the sins of the soul.
God has an absolute provision through doctrine and the mandate to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Why would we ever want to tackle life’s problems without the Holy Spirit’s filling? We don’t need to know what to do, we just need to know doctrine. We worship God in spirit and in truth. This brings us into an eternal provision for every situation at hand.
I have personal provisions for my personal destiny: personal power for problems, personal wisdom for understanding, personal peace for personal storms, and a personal volition that makes me (and not someone else) responsible for my decisions. These tremendous provisions are available through God’s promises and power. So if I choose to be filled with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, I will be untouchable (1 John 5:18), and every single thought will bring me into my personal destiny.
After I receive truth into my soul, God will test me. God must test my integrity toward the truth I have received. If I say I love God, then I must pass the test. If I say that I believe, then I must pass the test of life. But what is the basis for the tests we go through?
The angels were created with souls which included volition. Lucifer, God’s highest ranking angel, went negative in his volition toward the plan of God. As a result, he was tried for treason in the supreme courtroom of heaven. Though the devil (as Lucifer is now known) was able to rally one-third of the angelic host to stand with him against God, they were convicted and sentenced to spend eternity in hell. God allowed them to appeal the sentence, and Satan was given an extension. At that moment, God created the human race, which would reveal God’s glory for all of eternity.
Cast out of heaven, some of the fallen angels took on physical form and became part of a plan to corrupt the human seed and prevent Jesus Christ from being born of a woman from the line of David. They married women and produced half-human, half-angelic creatures that were populating the earth until God destroyed them in the Flood. These fallen angels were sent to hell (tartarus) where they remain chained to this day (Genesis 6:1-7; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).
The remainder of the fallen angels roam the earth as disembodied spirits, “messengers of Satan,” while the devil seeks whom he may devour (2 Peter 5:8).
Just as the angels were created with a perfect environment and a free volition, so were Adam and Eve created in a perfect environment with volition in their souls. The only thing forbidden to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This speaks of their conscience, and the prohibition was meant to test man’s volition: he would choose to become either positive or negative in his response toward the Word of God. Because they chose to listen to the serpent’s words about God (Genesis 3:5), they went against the Word of God. Through that decision, Adam and Eve became self-conscious, and now fallen men can control the norms and standards for the soul outside of the mind of God.
Satan’s argument in anger was, “Why would a loving God send angels to hell?” And God will prove His great grace and mercy toward the human race by granting an eternal destiny in heaven to anyone who will receive Christ’s perfect blood as the provision for sin. We receive redemption in His Son Jesus Christ – the only man absolutely predestined for heaven. We are predestinated in Christ.
Advancing Toward the Prize
In His perfect plan, God imputed sin to all men before any of us personally sinned. Because of that provision, He imputes perfect righteousness to us the moment we are saved. Today, Spirit-filled believers have a destiny of eternal purpose as witnesses for the prosecution with Jesus Christ, heaven’s attorney. Satan uses carnal believers – murmurers, backbiters, and anyone who continues in sin – to testify in his defense against the character of God. Ultimately, God may remove those witnesses for the defense if they refuse to get right.
In the Mount of Temptation, Jesus was tested in three areas: His relationship to the Holy Spirit, His relationship to the Word of God, and His relationship to the Father’s purpose for His life. Matthew 4:1-11 reveals that He was more than a conqueror in each test.
Humility is the Key
Each of us will face a diversity of tests in our lives. As we succeed in these impetus tests in the plan of God, we will be promoted in the grace of God. But that will only happen to those who humble themselves before God. Humility through doctrine and the filling of the Spirit, is the only means of promotion in this great operation of God’s grace. Therefore, everyone who is humble will be esteemed with a high value in the race we are running (Proverbs 15:33). Everyone who is humble will be rewarded with spiritual wisdom from God (Proverbs 11:2). Every meek person will be taught by the Spirit of God (Psalm 25:9). Humility always comes before the promotion (Proverbs 29:23).
Did you know that spiritually speaking, every Christian has equal rights and equal opportunities? This is not true in the natural realm of life. For instance, the mentality of a person’s soul is largely governed by genetics. We did not have a choice in the matter. Opportunities for success have never been equal. We could not choose our parents or where we were born, therefore opportunities for advancement in the natural realm have never been equal.
But God created the human spirit and brings in the Gospel of grace under the government of grace. From the moment that human spirit is quickened by the Holy Spirit of God through the new birth – the moment a soul receives the glorious Gospel – he is created equal in God’s plan. Now, as a predestined, blood-bought believer, he can receive as much doctrine as he wants to – more than the most intellectual person in the universe. Even if he has a limited vocabulary or mental capacity, he can understand eternal truth. In this way, there is equality in life.
We are members of the royal priesthood, ambassadors of Christ. This position was nonexistent in the Old Testament. We have the filling of the Holy Spirit! We are under the Finished Work grace of God. Everything about our lives becomes equal opportunity in the purpose of God. There is equal opportunity for promotion through humility and through doctrine. By the grace of Almighty God, we enter into our eternal purpose with an individual sense of eternal destiny.
The Filling of the Word and the Spirit
In order to understand this destiny, we must be filled with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We have a provision for every detail of every day: morning, noon, and night. There is not one problem that doesn’t have a solution from eternity past. We need only to be humble and have fun exercising faith under grace to discover the solution.
There is no excuse for ignorance. There is no excuse for backsliding, depression, boredom, or sadness – unless you make up excuses and wallow in your own mire and become a fool because of ignorance. But that is not necessary. You can determine not to let that happen.
Morality is achieved through self-determination at the good side of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; it doesn’t require God living in a man. But spirituality is experienced through the filling of the Holy Spirit and the resurrection power of God. Though I have an old sin nature and Christ did not, the same power that was resident in the humanity of Jesus Christ is also in me.
Jesus never took advantage of His Deity to prevent facing temptation or suffering. Everything He did was with the Father. Every thought He received was from the Father. Every word He spoke was from the Father. And though He was perfect, His humanity was completely dependent on the Father. Everything He did was with total reliance upon the Father. He never got up in the morning and had an off day, or even an off moment, and He gives us that same power.
If I am filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with His Word, though I will never be like He was, I can experience the power provision of God’s promises for every detail of my life. Whatever happens, I will rely upon Christ and enter into an eternal purpose.
When Joseph’s brothers failed, the eternal purpose brought Joseph grace. Not only was he promoted, but he was used to bless the ones who sold him into captivity in the first place. The eternal purpose led to an eternal destiny for both sides: the guilty brothers received a new understanding of grace, and Joseph, a strong and mature believer, was able to return good for evil. All things worked together for good (Romans 8:28).
A New Creation and a New Self-Image
God has promised to give us a brand-new godly self-image. First, we will begin to live in the newness of the mind. Next, we will begin to be led by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Entering into stability and maturity, we will become conquerors, victorious, living in the Faith Rest of love.
Think of it! – a new creation and a new self-image every day. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
We will have a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). We will receive wisdom and knowledge for the time we are living in (Isaiah 33:6). We will know that our times are in God’s hands, therefore we will not fear what men can do (Psalm 31:15). Finally, we will be used to restrain God’s judgment upon nations, just like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, because we have an individual eternal destiny with an eternal purpose.
No matter how tired we get through literal, bona fide physical exhaustion, every moment of our lives is part of an eternal purpose. That includes every child of God. We are all going to be conformed to His very image. When we see Him face to face, we will be carbon copies! That is so hard to believe, but it is true.
Even though Abraham’s nephew Lot didn’t live in his personal sense of destiny, 2 Peter 2:7 says that he was righteous.
Dear Father, We are so thankful that we have a personal sense of our eternal destiny, and it is based upon an eternal purpose, eternal provisions, eternal portions on this earth, an eternal plan, and an eternal Cross. We are so deeply grateful and we desire to redeem the time because our times are in your hands.
So many believers do not know what their purpose is. They have a church but they have no vision and they do not go into the fields for the harvest. There is no personal sense of an eternal destiny, but they are confined to a temporal value system. We pray for them and that we will continue to be quickened in this high and holy calling. It is so good to know that you justified us while we were ungodly, perfected us the moment we believed, and put us in a plan to teach us so we will grow in grace and be conformed to your image. Amen.