Committed to What, to Whom?
What is your BHAG (pronounced B-HAG; denoting Big, Harry, Audacious Goal; connoting a very difficult task or seemingly unattainable goal)? What is that one thing that God wants to accomplish through you before He calls you home someday? Do you know it? Are you committed to complete it? The Apostle Paul knew. He was committed! You should be challenged to let God stretch you into the partner through whom He can accomplish something you never could alone. ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey’ (chorus to Trust and Obey; lyrics by John H. Sammis; music by Daniel B. Towner; 1887).
- In Colossians 1.25 and 28, Paul wrote his mission and his vision statements. His mission was ‘to make the word of God fully known’. His vision was to ‘present everyone mature in Christ’. Big, Harry, Audacious Goal!!!
- One requirement of every such statement is the clarity of the words chosen. Paul was writing from his first Roman imprisonment in AD 60, some 25 years after Jesus partnered with him on the Damascus Road (Acts 9.1-19).
- Paul seemed to consider God’s word like Winston Churchill characterized Russia in his famous quote: “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
- There was a nugget (the key; Matthew 16.19) within God’s (enigma; John 1.1, 4.24; Acts 17.28) Old Testament (mystery; John 1.1-5, 17.17) law and prophets for which Paul had sought and finally found in Jesus (riddle; John 1.14, 3.16, 14.6), Who fulfilled both, Law and prophets (Matthew 5.17-20). As Paul had written in Galatians 3.21-22, the Law revealed sin but could never give eternal life. The One about Whom the prophets had written had found Paul and revealed truth to him (see John 1.17-18)!
- What was the nugget (the key) of the riddle, enigma, mystery? Colossians 1.27! Christ in you as the evidence of God’s presence with, in, and through you (Isaiah 7.14 – Immanuel means God is with you!; Luke 17.20-21; Jeremiah 31.33)! Remember the ‘Christ’ means Messiah means Anointed. Thus, Paul is saying that God’s anointing is within you! Reflect upon Ephesians 1.13-14; then on Colossians 2.8-10; and lastly on 1 Corinthians 2.6-16 (Ephesians 3.9-10).
- And, so, Jesus prayed John 17.18 and gave the Great Commission in Mark 16.15-18 because of the assurance of Mark 16.20 (see the importance of this in John 15.24; tie this back to Exodus 34.10 for understanding ‘Christ in you’; John 14.12).
- Thus, Paul made ‘the word of God fully known’ (Colossians 1.25)! Paul’s first BHAG!
- His second BHAG was his vision of ‘present[ing] everyone mature in Christ’ (verse 28).
- How could Paul ‘present everyone mature in Christ’, especially since he was imprisoned? He wrote the protocol for accomplishing this while in prison in Ephesians 4.11-13, where he defines maturity and identifies the teachers and illustrators. He comments on the maturity process in Romans 5.1-5 and 12.1-2 (Philippians 4.8). Note, also, 2 Peter 1.5-8.
- You are studying this as someone who is becoming the mature image of Christ revealed in the word of God [2 Corinthians 3.18; that is, Jesus’ knowledge (John 12.49-50) and His faith (John 5.19-20)].
How did Paul discover his BHAGs?
- Acts 13.1-3 describes a curious scene and prompts the question: how does God reveal His plan for and to you? A further question: do you ‘minister to God’ this way? Jeremiah 29.12-13 say this is the only way to know Jeremiah 29.11. Jesus’ plan for Paul (Acts 9.15-16, 26.16-18) became clearer during the times he spent in ‘ministering to the Lord’.
- What about you? What is God’s BHAG that He wants to partner with you to accomplish through you? Are you committed to embrace it and let Him complete it?
I Stand by the Door
by Sam Shoemaker
I stand by the door. I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out. The door is the most important door in the world; It is the door through which people walk when they find God. There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there, when so many are still outside and they, as much as I, crave to know where the door is. And all that so many ever find is only the wall where a door ought to be. They creep along the wall like blind people, with outstretched, groping hands. Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door, yet they never find it … So I stand by the door.
The most tremendous thing in the world Is for people to find that door–the door to God. The most important thing any person can do Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands, and put it on the latch–the latch that only clicks and opens to the person’s own touch. People die outside that door, as starving beggars die on cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—die for want of what is within their grasp. They die, on the other side of it–die because they have not found it. Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it, and open it, and walk in, and find Him … So I stand by the door.
Go in, great saints, go all the way in–go way down into the cavernous cellars, and way up into the spacious attics–it is a vast roomy house, this house where God is. Go into the deepest of hidden casements, of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood. Some must inhabit those inner rooms. And know the depths and heights of God, and call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is. Sometimes I take a deeper look in, sometimes venture in a little farther; but my place seems closer to the opening … So I stand by the door.
There is another reason why I stand there. Some people get part way in and become afraid lest God and the zeal of His house devour them for God is so very great, and asks all of us. And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia, and want to get out. “Let me out!” they cry, and the people way inside only terrify them more. Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled for the old life, they have seen too much: once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more. Somebody must be watching for the frightened who seek to sneak out just where they came in, to tell them how much better it is inside. The people too far in do not see how near these are to leaving–preoccupied with the wonder of it all. Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door, but would like to run away. So for them, too, I stand by the door.
I admire the people who go all the way in. But I wish they would not forget how it was before they got in. Then they would be able to help the people who have not yet even found the door, or the people who want to run away again from God, you can go in too deeply, and stay in too long, and forget the people outside the door. As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place, near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there, but not so far from people as not to hear them, and remember they are there, too. Where? Just outside the door–hundreds of them, thousands of them. But–more important for me–one of them, two of them, ten of them, whose hands I am intended to put on the latch. So I shall stand by the door and wait for those who seek it.