A Custom-Tailored Life

11 Apr

I’ve finally reached Romans 9 in my Bible study (going through all the epistles starting with Romans for however long it takes me). I love being able to focus on just a few verses at a time (instead of reading whole chapters at a time, like I did last year to read the whole Bible in a year). 

Today I read Romans 9:9-13, about the story of Jacob and Esau. The thing that really stuck out to me (probably because I can relate it to my own life) is that God determined the purposes of Jacob’s and Esau’s lives while they were still in the womb.  The text says “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call…” God didn’t favor one child over the other because of who they were or what they had done…because they hadn’t done anything yet! Rather, God favored Jacob over Esau because of His purpose in election.

I’m not going to get in to the doctrine of election here because while I agree with it, I don’t have enough savvy explanations as to why.  (But a line in the song “All I Have is Christ” explains it well: “If you had not loved me first, I would refuse you still.”)

What I find reassuring about God’s election in these verses is that God has a plan for my life, and has had a plan since before I was born. Indeed, Ephesians 1 says that He chose me in Christ before the foundations of the world.

But He didn’t just choose me to have eternal life (though that is the main attraction). He also chose me to have a life on earth that glorifies Him. And rather than thinking there is a specific kind of life that glorifies Him (as I have been stuck in thinking for the past several months), He created me for a specific life (MY life) that will glorify Him.

Let me explain: Jacob and Esau were very different people. Esau was a man’s man. He hunted, fished, was big and tough and hairy, like his father, Isaac. Jacob was the complete opposite. He didn’t like to hunt; he stayed in the tents instead of roaming the fields. He wasn’t big or tough and he wasn’t hairy (Genesis 25-27).

Since God’s purposes for both Jacob and Esau were determined in the womb and Psalm 139 says “You knit me together in my mother’s womb,” it stands to reason that God designed Jacob and Esau in the womb specifically for their purposes in life. Jacob was a cunning man–he succeeded in stealing his brother’s birthright. Esau wasn’t there when Isaac bestowed the birthright because he was out hunting (that’s where my husband would be too :)).

The reassurance to me is that if Jacob and Esau were designed for the lives God intended them to lead, then so am I. Instead of feeling ill-equipped or unable to live the life God has called me to live, I should rest in the knowledge that God has designed me for my life. He custom-tailored my personality, skills, and interests to what He intended my life to look like. Or he custom-tailored my life to fit me (classic chicken or the egg dilemma).

However you want to look at it, what it all boils down to is that I am equipped to live the life God wants me to live. I am not incompetent, inadequate, or unqualified. God has qualified me, made me adequate, and bridged the gap of my incompetency, through the cross of Christ. Tim Keller says something in his sermon “Blessing Self-Forgetfulness” that I repeat to myself often: “The verdict is in.” Meaning I no longer have to prove myself, my value, my worth to anyone, including myself, and least of all, to God! Like Romans 8:33 says, “It is God who justifies.”

It is also God who equips you for the life He wants you to live, both in your innate personality and abilities, but also through the Spirit’s work in your heart and soul.

“Now many the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

One Response to “A Custom-Tailored Life”

  1. autumnmornings April 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm #

    im so behind on reading my bible & being in touch with god 😦

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