When Christians today compare themselves with an Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Joshua, Hannah, Ruth, Esther, Huldah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, James, John, or Paul…we do not see the same magnitude and intensity of calling in the specific events of our lives on a similar grand scale as these great men and women of faith in the Bible.
Why is that?
As Abraham the biblical “father of faith” travels from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step he takes God is displacing whatever normative life Abraham would have lived in Haran according to its culture and conventions…with a life-script containing the critically new element of faith in God…a life-script Abraham would never have imagined in his wildest dreams.
And with each step Abraham takes towards Canaan and away from Haran…the non-theistic starting hypothesis that this story is human invented fiction…that God does not exist and therefore could not have spoken to Abraham…is a door of rational inquiry and thought that is closed by reason of the sheer novelty of the setting aside of human autonomous self-sovereignty…that is the through-line of the story.
The initiative here…as in every narrative story of faith in the Bible…is with God. People of faith in the Bible react to God’s enlistment of them into a scheme of events and circumstances that stretch them…in terms of a relationship with God and in self-sacrificing service to others… far beyond anything they could have invented or contrived.
If God is the initiator of the faith-program and its scope, outreach, and magnitude…what can Christians do other than surrender and yield ourselves to Christ and listen in the Spirit…to actualize a similar fulfilling and challenging calling in our own lives?
But this is the whole point that separates out and validates the divine origin of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts. They do not start with human creative imagination, invention, contrivance, or self-generated energy. The argument from scripture is that biblical narrative stories of faith are so outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that they cannot be the product of human literary invention.
The response of Jesus to Peter’s question about the calling of the apostle John: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me” (Jn. 21:22)…makes no sense in the default worldview program of conventional thinking based on self-energized good works and personality driven self-advancement. But it makes perfect sense in the worldview reality of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts in the biblical narrative stories of faith…and in our Christian callings to service today.
The big question here is…does this divinely instituted worldview choice of a journey of faith apply universally to all Spirit-born Christians today? Does its scope and magnitude reach down into the commonplace reality of “normal life” to produce something spectacular and extraordinary…yet typically unrecognized and unheralded by worldly conventional standards?
Paul addresses this very practical question of the varied magnitudes of our callings in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 when he writes: “If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1Cor. 12:15-18).
“As it hath pleased him”…as it has pleased God…is the key idea here.
But the sharper-than-any-sword, cutting-edge truth here is that God-composed journeys of faith after the biblical pattern are not written for God’s benefit. They are written for us. God-composed journeys of faith are written and managed by God to lift us up and out of a journey of self into the higher ways and thoughts of God. This is the humanly inconceivable point where a journey of self and a journey of faith divide asunder.
This God-invented worldview of journeys of faith is another component of the unselfish character trait of divine love. This is why without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6)…because without releasing our faith and stepping out into our God-composed adventure of faith…it is impossible in a system having free-will choice for God to help us.
The purposeful, premeditated, intelligently designed game-plan of a journey of faith has no practical application…no possible expression…no overlap within the default worldview of self-sovereignty…which includes such things as pantheism, reincarnation, or the self-realization program of man-made good works…earning our own independent way to salvation.
One approach falls squarely within the self-sovereignty of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…the default worldview. The second approach falls within a God-composed journey of faith life-script as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith.
These are the only two options. They are binary…either one or the other. They are whole number digits…either zero or one. They are a “go or no go” decision in a manned missile launch sequence into outer space. There isn’t a third way in terms of personal sovereignty.