The zone of “occupy till I come” (Lk. 19:13) is not the same as worldly conventional normalcy…even though they overlap…because “occupy till I come” is within the will and plans of God using our innate talents and abilities, whereas worldly conventional normalcy and thinking is the zone where people live in self-sovereignty, self-motivation, and self-direction apart from God.
Occupy till I come using our natural abilities within the will of God is commendable and admirable (Lk. 16:10). The same tasks performed through our natural abilities in the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…outside of a relationship with God and without biblical-quality faith…is much lower down the graduated continuum of goodness and spiritual light…when self-rulership is prevailing and controlling (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 1:17-18).
In this life we have something to lose. When we repent and ask Jesus into our lives we are handing over to God our sins and our past wayward actions.
In biblical faith we also have to be willing to lose something…our reliance solely upon ourselves…a reliance transferred to God that runs contrary to worldly conventional thinking. This walk of faith…beginning with the born-again salvation experience…of letting go of some or all of our free-will right to reject God and to go our own way in conformity to the strong pull of autonomous self-sovereignty which is paramount in the zone of conventional thinking…is not a crutch to lean upon displaying our personal weakness in this regard.
When illustrated using the vertical graph-line, graduated continuum scale of good and light spread out from absolute goodness and pure light at the top of this scale…diminishing as we go down the scale to the absence of good and the lack of light…producing increasing evil and spiritual darkness…this willing decision on the part of people of faith to grab ahold of God and to follow Him instead of our own judgment (Prov. 3:5-6; Mt. 7:13-14)…which places people of biblical faith in the vertical line segment above worldly conventional normalcy within a God-composed walk of faith life-script…this conscious decision is the most rational and reasonable choice to make despite the most bitter and venomous opposition coming from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
We simply cannot save ourselves. We need Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection for us to become spiritually reborn and to have salvation new-life.
This is because God-ordained and accepted salvation can only be received at the very top point on the vertical graph-line of absolute good. Salvation does not occur or exist lower down this graph-line in the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…in the zone of autonomous self-rulership according to our innate, created abilities…in light mixed with darkness, goodness mixed with evil…apart from the perfection of God.
Without Jesus Christ residing at the top in absolute goodness and brilliantly pure light…to pull us upward…we are lost (Rom. 6:23).
Like Nicodemus in John chapter 3, if Caiaphas the high priest had suspended his unbelief for a moment during the night trial of Jesus…and asked Jesus how he and the other Jewish leaders could please God…Jesus would have answered in the same way He answered Nicodemus. Jesus would have said to Caiaphas and the Jewish leaders to stop thinking within worldly conventional normalcy (Jn. 11:48)…that if they would focus their spiritual vision in biblical-quality faith upon God…as their forebears did as recorded in scripture…that God would take care of the problem of Roman occupation of the land…in good time.
By juxtaposing on a vertical graph-line the perfection of God at the top, with the God-composed journey of faith life-scripts of the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…within the upper section of the graph-line…and occupy till I come with worldly conventional normalcy lower down the graph-line…this helps this Christian writer to make better sense of the gap…the space…the distance between where we are within worldly conventional normalcy using our own innate abilities to improve…and the gaps within a God-composed adventure of faith life-script which imposes and inserts goals, promises, and outcomes that are unreachable using our abilities but requires the unconventional approach of biblical faith and God’s active participation.
Abraham cannot produce Isaac…Joseph cannot procure his release from Pharaoh’s prison short of becoming governor of Egypt…Moses can’t deliver the Israelites without the miraculous plagues and the opening of the Red Sea…David cannot make himself king by prematurely taking the life of King Saul…Daniel will not survive the night in the lion’s den without being surrounded by protecting angels…the three young Hebrew men will not survive the intense heat of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace without the help of the divine presence of “the fourth is like the Son of Man” (Dan. 3:25)…Peter cannot be the leader of the early church without first painfully discovering in the courtyard of Caiaphas his own inadequate courage and resolve without the power of the Holy Spirit…Paul will never be able to give the gospel message to the polytheistic, idol-worshipping Gentiles without first discovering his own mistaken and misguided beliefs on the road to Damascus…far more serious and in need of God’s forgiveness and grace than any Gentile or Jew he will encounter in his long career as the missionary evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world.
These few examples taken from narrative stories of faith in the Bible reveal goals, promises, and outcomes that are beyond our innate ability to control or contrive. This is the very interesting gap within adventures of faith that defines and differentiates biblical faith…and that make a compelling argument for the divine origin of the Bible.