God’s Economy of Things

I am not one to throw around theological jargon, but there is one phrase that I think is important for us to learn. The phrase is “ God’s economy of things”. The general meaning of the phrase has to do with how God works in our lives. Just as each society and culture has its own “economy” that drives its business model, God has an “economy” that drives how he deals and relates to his children.

For example, the Scripture teaches and implies that this world is not our home. (1 Peter 2:11) Therefore, in “God’s economy of things” our way of relating to our problems is “other-worldly”. That means we deal with every challenge, every failure, every out-of-control situation, and every opportunity in light of God’s economy of things.

As committed followers of Christ we now live with an awareness that God is, to some degree or another, involved with everything that happens in our life. No, He is not behind our sinfulness, even though He is there to forgive and restore us when we fail, but He is in the middle of every event. Because the Spirit of the living Christ indwells us, wherever we are, Jesus is also. He is fully aware of our plight including our anxiousness and fear.

In God’s economy of things there is often a perspective that is opposite to the world’s thinking. We could even call it paradoxical. For instance, the phrase in 2 Corinthians 12, “when I am weak I am strong” is opposite to the average human mindset. In our culture the one who is weak is portrayed as a loser. To survive and win in this world you don’t display or admit your weakness. You have to be strong, and overcome your weaknesses in order to succeed in life.

But we know that in God’s economy, weakness is a spiritual virtue. We understand that in the context of weakness we let go of our own life and Christ becomes our strength. It’s no longer “God and me make a majority”, but it’s “Christ in me is my strength”. I like the rendering of this verse in the Message when Paul is speaking of his thorn in the flesh:

“At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (2 Corinthians 12, Message)

The above passage is our “other-worldly” perspective on our trouble. Because in God’s economy of things His intention for us is to allow the cares of this life to bring us to weakness. It is in our weakness that we will surrender control of our life and circumstances to Him. And in doing so, we can “cast all our anxiety on Him.” (I Peter 5:7)

Bottom Line

If you are a serious and committed follower of Christ, then seeing your life in light of God’s economy of things will allow you to live fully out of your new identity in Christ.

Just before Jesus went to the cross he prayed for us. He asked the Father to make us one with Him and one with the Father. (John 17:20-21) God desires that we live in our rightful position of oneness with Him. We can only do that if we are willing to change our thinking from a cultural perspective to a Christ-centered perspective that is driven by “God’s economy of things.”

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.“ (1 Peter 2:9 NAS)

The Real Purpose of Spiritual Maturity

If you have been a follower of Jesus for a while you have often heard how important it is to grow toward maturity.  The Scripture has plenty to say about spiritual growth and its impact on our fellowship with the Lord.  We grow so that we can have a more intimate relationship with the Father.  We push toward maturity so that we will not fall into temptation.

I could list many benefits that motivate us toward maturity, but I believe there is one paramount reason for spiritual maturity and it has to do with developing enduring strength.  I am not referring to strength for you, even though that is a side benefit, but I am referring to the strength you give to others.

Paul gives us an excellent explanation of the purpose of maturity in Romans 15:1-4.  I like the rendering of this passage in the paraphrase called the Message.

“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter and not just do what is most convenient for us.  Strength is for service, not statue. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”  That is what Jesus did, He took on the troubles of the troubled.”

Maturity brings strength and strength brings hope, not only to us but to those around us who are troubled.  Jesus who is our example, took on the troubles of those who had no hope and imparted hope.  Spiritual maturity motivates us to give our life away and by doing so imparting hope.  Show me a person who complains about helping others and I will show you a person who is lacking spiritual maturity.  To say it another way, we are to be imparters of hope.

It has been said that every person continually influences and impacts at least five different people.  That means that at any given time throughout your life, there are five people watching and following what you say and do.  The direction of their life will be impacted by your influence. We won’t always be aware of the identity of those five people because some are watching from the shadows.

So a person who is spiritually mature will display Christ’s strength and strength gives hope. It’s not how much you know but it is “Who” you know. By having an intimate relationship with the Father the resulting maturity causes you to know Christ and then manifest His very life. (Philippians 3:10).

I encourage you to move outside your comfort zone.  Trust your spiritual maturity to impact your world.  You may not realize it, but the living Christ within you is a magnet of hope to those who are troubled. You don’t have to beat people over the head with Scripture to impact their life.  Just walk in maturity and let the living Christ within you draw people to you.  Remember, your maturity brings strength that produces hope.  Be prepared to give your life away.