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The Big Picture

At the height of the Vietnam war, the Wall Street Journal reported that once a week the President and four other politicians met to make all the decisions on how the war would be waged; that not one trained military mind sat in on these sessions, not even the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff; and that these politicians made such decisions as identifying the targets for bombing the types and quantity of bombs, the number of planes to be launched, military tactics employed, etc.

You can imagine how such strategy by politicians back home, seeking to placate both dove and hawk, would affect the morale of the soldiers who were risking their lives in battle. It would undermine their loyalty and erode their resolve for self-sacrifice. There was no consensual big picture embraced by both the soldiers and their supreme commander.

This has a spiritual counterpart. Having a clear understanding of and being in agreement with the big picture in which you and your Supreme Commander are involved will dramatically influence your morale regarding the purpose of life. Commitment is the key to producing both soldiers and Christians with a unified resolve to self-sacrifice. A lack of understanding of a big picture erodes morale in both earthly and spiritual warfare. Rest assured that Satan is aware of this.

How is your morale in these days as it gets hotter in your kitchen? Do you understand the biblical big picture of the purpose of your life on earth? There’s an old pop tune entitled "The Object of My Affection." This could be the title of God’s song to use. God hates religion (Amos 5:21-23). He desires relationship, someone with whom he can relate and share affection. He longs for meaningful, intimate, personal interaction with us. But, in instigating His plan to become our Spiritual Father, even our Dad (Gal. 4:6) and Bridegroom (Hos. 2:16-20), there was a rub–how to sit down at His work bench and create free moral agents who could love Him for who He is, not for what he could do for them. This presents a problem when you’re the "richest man in town"; the richer the person, the greater the possibility that those who profess to love him simply cater to him in order to curry his favor. They seek benefits from Him rather that a personal relationship. How about you? Are you riding the glory train because you are in love with the Engineer or because you seek a peaceful ride and the grand prize at the end of the line? A wrong answer to this question is not in keeping with the biblical big picture and will affect your morale in life.

Another sign that you’ve missed the biblical big picture occurs when you rail at God when things don’t go the way you think they should. By doing so, you are saying to men and the angels (Eph. 2:7; 3:10) that God does not merit your loyalty and love. The only situation in which you can prove that you love God just for who He is occurs when bad things happen to you that you don’t deserve. By praising Him in the midst of such personal calamity, you prove that God would get you vote even if He had to run for re-election every year. It’s a snap to praise the Lord on payday; what’s tough is to believe God’s love is agape when you get laid off, which calls for a "sacrifice of praise" (Heb. 13:15).

Now just how do these sacrifices of praise fit into the big picture? You’ll recall that God created one angel who was a cut above the rest, Lucifer; he was "perfect in beauty" and "full of wisdom" (Ezek. 28:12). Stunning beauty and astounding wisdom can become curses if misused. You probably know people who demonstrate this truism, and it proved to be Lucifer’s downfall as well (Ezek. 28;17). He misused these endowments to convince one-third of the angels that he was more worthy to be god than God was (Rev. 12:9)!

Well, God quickly put down Lucifer’s rebellion. (He could whip the devil wearing handcuffs and leg irons). So, "the devil was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him" (Rev. 12:9). Then, according to plan, God created two humans who were to propagate the earth with objects of His affection. But wait a minute. Look where He placed Adam and Eve — on earth, knowing full well that they would be deceived and reject Him. Is it possible that the angels may have thought: "Oh, no! Don’t put them on the earth! Satan will eat ’em alive! Why do such a thing?" I suspect so. But hold your hats; God was simply instigating His divine plan to demonstrate His worthiness of our worship and praise — He was drawing the big picture.

As you know, Adam and Eve rebelled and became spiritually dead children of the kingdom of darkness (Jn. 8:44) who then began producing offspring in kind (Rom. 5:18). The centuries rolled on until, in God’s perfect timing, Jesus left heaven on His amazing, agape rescue mission. He shrunk Himself into a little earthsuit in Mary’s womb and became a human. Can you imagine with what awe the angels reacted to such a sacrificial act? Would this result in their praising Him with renewed fervor? I think so. They’re not robots; they have free wills, too, or one third couldn’t have rebelled.

Jesus ultimately offered Himself as a living Sacrifice in whom you and I were crucified as who we were (Rom. 6:6). He then rebirthed us as sons of God in His resurrection (2 Cor. 5:17) and raised us up into His glorious presence (Eph. 2:6). God, through His amazing, unparalleled grace in Christ, completely turned the tables on Satan. He not only robbed him of millions of human trophies, but restored us to Himself a zillion times better than new! It’s all part of the big picture; God has removed every obstacle that keeps us from rushing into His arms and relaxing in the security of His love. Satan hates that, absolutely hates it, so he seeks to divert us from experiencing it.

Earth is an environment where we can praise God even when things don’t go the way we would wish. When things go awry, Satan accuses God of being unworthy of our praise and worship, doing everything he can think of to distort our perception of the true big picture by introducing thoughts into our minds using first person singular pronouns (I, me, my, etc.). If you receive these lies about God, yourself, and the big picture, Satan will wear down your resolve, undermine your morale, and effectively block you from offering sacrifices of praise when things don’t go your way; he’ll distort the picture.

The angels shout their praises to God twenty-four hours a day because they walk by sight; they see the big picture. To think that they’d need to attend a pep club practice till they "got it right" is absurd. They need no extra motivation; they have no Monday blues. You’d have to put a cork in their mouths to keep them from proclaiming God’s worthiness, and you’d have to use straight jackets to keep them from lifting holy hands to the lord. Worthy is God who gave His Son that He might gain more sons. Worthy is the Lamb to volunteer to suffer and die for unworthy people. Worthy! Worthy! Worthy! The angels just can’t stop shouting it (Eph. 2:7; 3:8-10). In their opinion, God has proven that there is no other God like Him (Isa. 46:9).

So, how do we fit into this picture? We exist to experience an intimate agape relationship with the God of the universe. Once we choose to walk in this, we will become motivated to proclaim His worthiness from the housetops of our lives. Can you imagine a more fulfilling life? We are to proclaim God’s worthiness (Phil. 2:14-15; 3:7-10) against the ever-darkening backdrop of a hell-bound world. Are you dancin’ to the music in the big picture, or re you murmuring, mumbling, or perhaps even kicking and screaming? There’s no reason for you to stay down in the dumps. An accurate view of the big picture will lift your spirit and motivate you to join the chorus line. C’mon. Rush into His arms and begin to praise Him. Life will take on meaning and your morale, though at times through tears and pain, will hold steady.

 

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.