Have you ever wondered if there is a rhyme and reason for God's actions? Most of us concede the fact that God has a plan. But is there any way for us to understand his reasoning?
While I will never claim to comprehend all of His ways, I can't help but notice themes. There are themes, or principles, that God often follows when He chooses to move in our lives.
If I ignore these principles, I open up myself for more frustration and confusion. I start wondering why God won't answer my prayers when He has promised to do so. I start wondering why God won't answer my prayers in at the way I ask when I'm convinced that my motives are pure.
On the other hand, when I understand these principles, God's movement in and around me, makes much more sense.
Here are 4 of the principles:
Principle #1 - The Credit Principle
When God chooses to move, He often does so in ways that leave no doubt who should get the credit. Before I ask God for specific things or opportunities, I need to ask, "Who will get the credit?" Am I seeking the approval or adoration of people? Will this shine a spotlight on me? If so, I should not expect much of God's help. Why? Because we were created to reflect God's image; not project our own.
Many times in my life I have sensed God saying, "I LOVE YOU BUT MY WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU."
That's why, throughout history, God chooses people that no one wanted. That's why He chooses plans that seem doomed to fail. God blesses and favors strategies that will give Him the glory.
Principle #2 - The Community Principle
Whenever God is at work, He brings people together. When I ask for God to show up and fix a situation, solve a problem, or open a door, I can be sure that He is thinking about more than just rescuing me. As He rescues me, He will help others too.
God usually relates to us as a community; not as individuals. We love the idea of having a personal relationship with God, through Jesus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. At the same time, if we pay attention to how God usually works in us and around us, we will hear God saying, "MY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU IS PERSONAL BUT NOT PRIVATE."
He made us for community and is always working to accomplish that purpose. Instead of supernaturally rescuing me, God usually sends someone to encourage me. Those moments usually become mutually encouraging relationships that bring us together. Maybe that was on Jesus' mind when He prayed, "Father make them one."
Principle #3 - The Character Principle
Even as God works in the context of community, He is developing and strengthening my own faith. It's as if God is saying, "I WOULD RATHER MAKE YOU WHOLE THAN MAKE YOU HAPPY." God is going to bless and favor the things that make me more like Him.
If what I am asking for is going to negatively affect my character, I expect God to withhold that gift. When I ask for an open door and it never opens, perhaps I'm just not ready. There are aspects to my character that still need to be developed.
Principle #4 - The Chapter Principle
Every good story is broken up into chapters. The Story of God is no different. By themselves, the chapters are hollow and unfinished. But within the context of the whole story, we see how the chapters work together to further the story.
My life is a chapter in the Story of God. When God chooses to move in my life, I can be certain that God is doing so with understanding of what is coming next. My chapter affects other chapters. My life affects other lives. He is determined to move His Story forward.
GOD WILL NOT SABOTAGE HIS OWN STORY
This principle is all about purpose. We don't always see why God does what He does because we can't see the whole story. We don't see how our chapters are inter-woven into other chapters.
God blesses and favors that which moves His Story forward