Energy Efficient God
When I reflect upon the character of God, ‘efficiency’ is not the first word that comes to my mind. Instead, terms such as ‘extravagant’, ‘lavished’ and ‘excessive’ typically surface within my thoughts and heart due to a longstanding focus on God's love, grace, faithfulness and mercy. However, as I have observed God mold and shape my life and the lives of others with whom I have journeyed over the years, I have come to believe in the principle of ‘Divine Efficiency’.
By ‘Divine Efficiency’ I mean that God uses the everyday moment-by-moment experiences of our lives to accomplish His ultimate goal of conforming us more and more into the image of Christ. As a rule, God does not usually use extraordinary occurrences to mold and shape us, but chooses to use the raw materials found in the day to day circumstances of our lives to transform us.
Now, you may be thinking, “This is not earth-shattering news…tell me something I don't know”. But, I challenge you to examine your life to discover if you embrace the principle of Divine Efficiency as a governing axiom for your life.
You see, the implications of this truth are both freeing and frightening. It is freeing in that it invites us to live life as it comes, learning and embracing the lessons life will naturally bring our way. God will use the external and internal circumstances of our lives to mold and shape us into the image of Jesus. Our responsibility is to be open, aware and reflective. Yet, this truth is also frightening. Since God is heavily invested, concerned and committed to our transformation, the implications are: if we do not take advantage of the daily lessons that God makes available to us, then God will seek to drive home those lessons in another, not-too-efficient way.
Warning: If we choose not to intentionally embrace this truth, we may live to regret our decision. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, but we don’t want to force God to go out of the bounds of the ordinary to help us become more like Christ. It might be more painful and difficult.
This is exactly what happened to Jonah. God made it very clear what He required from Jonah and Jonah decided to resist…not only resist, but also, literally, go in the opposite direction. Jonah had no desire to allow God to use this proposed ministry partnership to mold and shape him. Instead, he turned his back on God. What did God do? God, honoring His own commitment to Jonah’s ongoing growth and development, sent a storm and a fish and Jonah became human sushi. This was all a result of Jonah’s decision not to embrace the principle of Divine Efficiency, as well as God’s unyielding commitment to help Jonah learn more about himself and his God.
God gave Jonah a choice, as God gives us a choice. We can take advantage of Divine Efficiency, learning the lessons we need to be taught through the internal and external circumstances of our lives. Or, we can ‘compel’ God to step in and take a more hands-on, proactive role in our development. The choice is ours. In order to take advantage of Divine efficiency, it is helpful to arrange our lives in ways that enable us to glean God’s lessons in our ordinary day. This involves time in the Word, ongoing dialogue with God, reflection, and the continual processing of our life (circumstances, relationships, desires, feelings) with God.
I urge you to take advantage of Divine Efficiency. Otherwise, one day you may discover you have been spit up on the beach of life, disoriented and smelling like fish. The good news is that God is committed to your growth and development into Christ-likeness. The bad news is that God is committed to your growth and development into Christ-likeness no matter what. The determining factor in taking advantage of the principle of Divine efficiency is the intentionality you bring to living your life in a self-aware and reflective way. The choice is yours…choose wisely.
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