We’ve all seen book titles similar to: “How to Discover Your Divine Destiny”; “God’s Plan for Your Life”; or “How to Reach Your Life Goals”.
Of course there is much in such titles that can be helpful to us. But may I suggest an exercise of the mind?
Imagine yourself as a believer in a country where you’ve been arrested for your faith, tortured and imprisoned.
Imagine being handed one of the above titles while you sit in your prison-cell awaiting your unjust execution like many of your brothers and sisters in Christ before you.
Hold the glossy book in your hands. Look at the title: “…Your Divine Destiny…”; “God’s Plan for Your Life”.
What would you be expecting as you open the book to browse its Table of Contents?
No doubt you would be expecting to find topics like: the eternal destiny that awaits you in heaven; the promise of His coming; God’s plan to raise you up from the dead at the last day; about the promise of eternal life; and final justice; the great day of salvation and vindication from our enemies; your promised day of redemption from all persecution and suffering; about it being God’s will that you endure suffering patiently; that you maintain a godly life under trial; about the crown of life which God has promised to give at His coming to all them who endure suffering; stories of Biblical heroes of faith who, like you, endured suffering and did not obtain the promises in their lifetime; Christ’s own example of carrying His cross and suffering; about the glories of the Kingdom that awaits you in heaven; about the new heavens and the new earth – all the promises in God’s Word concerning His eternal plan and destiny for you – promises which He gave you to comfort your heart in just such an hour of trial as this.
Now what would you be thinking as you discover that, according to the book, God’s plan for your life is to make you a millionaire? that your destiny is to become a success in this present world? that prosperity is a sign of God’s favor?
If little explanation is included in the book as to why things may not have happened quite that way for thousands of God’s persecuted saints throughout history – no doubt the suffering church might wonder whether the book could have been given a different title; or they might even wonder whether we in the Western world are preaching the same Gospel!
Perhaps a good test to gauge the level of Gospel-truth in any doctrine is to examine whether its tenets apply equally to any suffering believer who is imprisoned overseas for his faith as it may apply to the believer doing coffee with his friends in downtown Beverley Hills Ca, Dallas Tx, Castle Hill NSW, Toronto On, or London UK.
If some qualification is required before the doctrine can apply equally to all believers of all ages, circumstances, seasons and nations – then it might be helpful, in the interests of sound doctrine, if that qualification is stated and explained along with the doctrine.
That is unless the book is only intended for the Western world and not for the majority of Christ’s Body on earth.
“…hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” I Peter 1:13.