Dysfuntion Unction

Theologian Mark Biddle in his book Missing the Mark: Sin and Its Consequences in Biblical Theology defines sin- at least in part- as  underacheiving. That is, we human types trod through life never fully living up to the glory God created within us. We are slothful. We make excuses. We fail to allow God to fully engage us with his power.

I think he is on to something.

Regularly I hear folks speak of themselves in less than biblical ways. Summarized it comes out something like this: “Well, God probably could use me to a greater extent but I (or my family or my faith or whatever) is so dysfunctional that he can’t.” In other words- I am just too messed up.

Really?

Have your ever traced the ancestral family of promise in the Old Testament (that would be  Abraham and his generational kin)? Talk about dysfunctional! Lies, deceit, betrayal, sibling rivalry, lust, adultery, murder- all seemed to flourish within this bunch. Their problems could fill an entire season of Dr. Phil. Yet God used them anyway- and in incredible ways.

In spite of it all they still got his annoiting- his unction and God’s work in them still blesses us.

So don’t go excusing your way out of this thing. You were created in God’s image to reflect God’s glory- dysfunction and all. He is waiting to use his power to accomplish in you- more than you can ask or imagine. 

Let’s quit underacheiving. Instead let’s lift the veil of sloth and be “transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 2:18).

It is our anointing.

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15 Responses to Dysfuntion Unction

  1. Jerry Starling says:

    Using dysfunction as an excuse also shows unbelief in the power of God through His Spirit to clean up our dysfunctional condition to make us vessels fit for the Master’s use.

  2. Dave says:

    The problem with this line of thinking lies in the following sentence: “We fail to allow God to fully engage us with his power.” I wasn’t aware that God needed my permission to do anything and that is a dangerous way of thinking. We are not able to escape sin because we are by nature creatures of wrath (Eph. 2). The sentence I quoted points to deism and the only solution would be moralism, not Christ and a life of repentance. Question, when Christ prayed to God to allow the cup of crucifixion pass from him, was he not allowing God to fully engage him? No, Jesus recognized that God’s will would be done regardless.

  3. dannydodd says:

    Deism? Are you serious? Dave, you certianly read into my writings things I never intended.

    And I can think of many who have not allowed God to fully engage them. Was Judas allowing God to fully engage him? How about John Mark when he deserted Paul?

    My point is that by our lack of faith we limit God’s ability to fully be able to accomplish his will within us.

  4. Dave says:

    Danny, I really enjoy your blog and have no intention to argue with you on this matter. I am simply saying that we have no control over God. You may believe differently as you wrote in your response to me …”we limit God’s ability…” No, we do not, cannot, and no man ever will. God has no reliance on man to accomplish His will. We must choose our words wisely Danny and not allow doctrines or even more dangerously, philosophy, to creep into and hinder our teaching of the actual gospel truth.

    Also, to answer your question, yes, God was fully engaging Judas when He gave Him over to Satan. Again, it was not Judas allowing anything, it was God’s will being carried out.

  5. J D says:

    God’s will is not carried out in the lives of people who reject him and are subsequently lost. God would have them saved, yet they would not allow Him to work in their hearts. We can quench the spirit and God will not force us to follow Him. How many believers do we know who are just like frogs sitting on a log, grabbing a fly when it comes close enough, but never doing anything for anyone? If they would yield to God’s spirit and allow Him, great transformation could take place. God is all powerful, but he has given us Free Will.

  6. Dave says:

    So then J.D., God’s will was not being carried out when Pharoh regected his commandment to let His people go? Or, did God Himself not harden Pharoh’s heart? I wonder why the scripture never mentions Pharoh “allowing” God to do so. What about Paul? Did he “allow” God to fully engage him when he struck Paul blind? Missed that scripture too.

  7. dannydodd says:

    I don’t think anyone denies that God can interact with certain hostile people (Pharaoh for instance) in certain situations to accomplish his will.

    But what about the Christian who is lukewarm? What about the guy who lives absorbed totally in selfish ambition? What about the murderer? what about a child molester? Is God fully enaged in their life? Are they allowing God to work in them?

    What did Jesus mean when he warned us not to hide our light under a bushel? By hiding it are we not limiting God’s ability to use us to shine for him? Or is hiding the light under the bushel part of being fully engaged by him?

  8. Scott says:

    Danny,

    Thanks for something to think about. No god but God could use such a “messed-up” conglomeration of imperfect people to do His mission.

    Don’t forget Mordecai’s warning to Esther, “”Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Est 4:13-14 ESV)

    She had a choice to allow God to use her or not.

  9. Dave says:

    Jesus meant do not his his word and commandments Danny. Is man chosen to spread that word, yes. Let us always remember though, it is not man who saves but the word which saves. IS man failing, especially in America, to fully engage other men with the gospel, yes, but God is going to do what God well pleases to do. He does not need our permission, prayers, or intercession to do so.

    Re: Scott, Did God know or not what Esther would do or choose before he placed her in the position to cause change that He did? It is an important question to answer and a dichotomy of a subject on which many major theological differences lie. Did God know or not or was Esther’s position she was in just random and chance? If He knew before hand what she would do, it sounds as if God didn’t need her to fully engage Him in order to do what He did through her. Rather, He knew she would do so before placing her in that position. It is an interesting topic but to say that God needs man to fully engage Him in order to make God able to do something is deistic and points to a weak and fragile God.

  10. Scott says:

    Dave,

    Your understanding of the Omniscience of God and mine differ. Your understandings seems to be that God has direct knowledge of given specifics. That is God knows exactly what will happen when, and exactly what choices we will make. That in essence limits our free will. If God knows exact specifics then the choices I make are predetermined to an extent.

    I understand His Omniscience differently. I believe that God knows all possible outcomes of our choices. Looking at Esther. If Esther chose to go to Ahasuerus and plead her cause, then God would use her. If she did not go before the king, she would suffer as her people would suffer, but God would not be thwarted by her lack of participation, He knew what He would do if. He can look down the stream of time and see all the possible outcomes of all possible decisions we make. He knows everything of every possibility. That is what Mordecai’s statement says, “relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from somewhere else.”

    I am enjoying the dialogue. This is challenging my thinking.

  11. Dave says:

    Scott, I agree with you for the most part. To take it to the New Testament your position would be had Judas not betrayed Christ, then another thieving and greedy human would have done so therefore accomplishing God’s great plan. Luckily though, because of Judas, not God, not Jesus, but Judas a man, salvation was allowed to go ahead and be made available to the world. Do you see the problem there? Further, if man’s actions and vulnerabilities are not already known beforehand, was it simply luck (a word not used in the Bible) that Jesus happened to pick that specific thief? I don’t pretend to know the answer to all these questions either and I believe that God has not fully revealed the answers to these profound questions to us for his own reasons. However, when we start pretending, or even worse, TEACHING, to others that God is waiting on us to do anything, we are speaking out of place.

  12. Scott says:

    One could take Jesus statement in Luke 22:22 as a plea to Judas not to do what Satan (Lk 22:3) intended for him to do. “Woe to that man by whom He is betrayed.”

    Could Jesus have been giving Judas and “out” because He loved Judas. The Jewish leaders were still opposed to Jesus and would have found a way to capture him w/ or w/o Judas.

  13. Dave says:

    As Christians though Scott, we only have permission to teach what has been revealed in scripture. When we start saying “could Jesus have..” or “I belive that…” we no longer are reliant on God’s revealed truths but rather ourselves.

    To answer your question though, no. To give Judas an out at that point would have been giving Satan an out. Remember, Satan wanted Peter but Judas was the one given over. To apply that to the context of our discussion, the point is evident that God knew His plan for Peter (“the rock…”) and knew that He would carry out that mission. When Jesus refused to give Peter over to Satan was that because Peter was fully engaging Christ (was it a man’s action) or was it because God so willed it (an act of providence or God’s will). Was God looking ahead to every decision that Peter would ever make from that point forward and weighing out the various consequences of such and hoping (imagine God with His fingers crossed) that Peter would make the right ones from that point forward. OR, did God know beyond doubt what Peter would do in each instance. The answer is revealed a little further down in Luke 22 when Jesus reveals He FOREKNEW that Peter would deny Him that very night. God does not need man to accomplish what He needs accomplished.

  14. jim says:

    Thank goodness for theologians. Without all of you, the rest of us would probably do ignorant, silly things like act on faith! I believe that GOD will use my limited mind and damaged, sinful life to help others. But, I’m still flawed. And, yes, GOD encourages many of us to do what is right but we choose to not follow at times.

  15. preacherman says:

    Great post Danny.
    Your blog is one of my favs.
    Keep up the great work and hope you have a great weekend.

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