Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ve got God on my side” as they endeavor in a new life chapter, as they make a big life decision or even as they walk through an ugly conflict with someone else? Perhaps you have said it yourself. You are a Christian, you believe the Bible, you pray and therefore you trust and expect to have God at your back. The Bible actually says, after all,
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
– Rom 8.31
I would like to suggest, however, that if we go through life expecting God to be on our team, we have completely missed the boat.
Is God on your side?
Or are you on God’s side?
This might sound like semantics to you. Perhaps when you made the statement that God is on your side, you mean that you are on the same team as God, or that you are on God’s side. But the paradigm is profound and we would be remiss to dismiss it without careful consideration.
Because it speaks clearly and acutely to our basic world view. God is the only being in the universe and in history who rightly exists for His own glory and His own purpose. He is not selfish to create everything to glorify Himself because He is God. God exists to glorify, please and honor Himself. He is perfect, He is the creator of right and wrong, He defines right and wrong, and He gets to judge right and wrong. And sin is anything not done in faith and to His glory. He does not need us and He has chosen to show mercy and grace to create us and allow us to know and enjoy Him.
Scripture teaches us that we were made in His image. This is a glorious truth, but it also the crux of our downfall. Being made in His image lends us the desire to want to make the universe all about us. It is not sinful for God to have that attribute, but it is sinful for us to have it. We are not God. This is the definition of our sinful nature. Yes, it is our image bearing of God, but it is also the disposition that enslaves us to sin.
When we come to salvation, we realize and embrace the fact that we are sinful. That we have broken God’s Law and heart, and the only way to be forgiven is to confess that sin and to be covered by the blood of Jesus. And then we get off our own team and get on God’s team. We no longer exist for our own glory, pleasure and happiness, but for God’s. And God, in saving us, does not then get on our team and exist for our pleasure and happiness, but his own. He stays on His team. But He allows us the privilege and honor of being on His team. And being on His team does, consequently, insure our salvation and eternal happiness on the New Earth. It’s a win win.
What then is the application? Is this just a mental game? It is of the greatest importance. If you believe that since you have been saved God exists to get you lots of money, success, happiness and pleasure; that you can live life how you want and He will fill in the gaps and make things go your way, then you have missed the boat. Salvation is about dying to ourselves, putting away the deeds of the flesh, joining Christ in His suffering and glorifying God. We cannot make our decisions apart from God, His Word and the leading of the Spirit and expect Him to bless it. Rather, we need to look around and see where God is at work, seek His Word for direction and pray; letting the Spirit lead and guide us in the direction that we should go. To God’s glory. On His team. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.