(With this post, we come to describing the last journey in the Triune Gospel series! If you haven't read the previous articles, this article may be confusing unless you read the previous articles which establish the line of reasoning and the overall point of view we're working with here.) In this article, we explore the Destiny Journey; the adventure of living in partnership with the Holy Spirit. We begin by exploring the biblical narrative, then look at what walking this journey looks like in our lives.
The Biblical Arc
(1) Original Design: Dominion on the Earth
As with each of the journeys, the original design is on display with the creation account. In this instance, we pick up with the second half of God's creation pronouncement:
...And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26b
God gives humanity not only an identity (the subject of the last article), but a destiny, a stated purpose. This destiny gives Adam and Eve purpose: a direction of action for their lives. What is that purpose? It is rulership; dominion over the things in the created order. We see this fleshed in more specificity in two elements of Genesis 2:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
God gives Adam instructions: tend the Garden of Eden. Extracting the principle behind the specifics, God is charging Adam to take the slice of paradise that he had created. This kind of stewardship of God's design within the created order is exactly what Genesis 1:26 is pointing at: God has given us the role of acting as his vice-regents in the domain of the earth. We are here on his behalf and our job is to work to cultivate God's work on the earth. This theme continues in the next passage we'll look at:
Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19
I've always found this story interesting, but kind of puzzling. Why does Adam name the animals? Does that matter? What's happening here is Adam is concluding the process of creation with the animals that God has already started. Look back at this slice of Genesis 1:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. Genesis 1:3–5a
Notice the progression: God creates light, then works with it, and when the process is completed he calls the light Day. Calling is the conclusion of the creative process. When it comes to the animals, God includes Adam in the process: God creates, but Adam calls. We're supposed to read this and understand we've been invited into the process of stewardship and creation on this earth.
(2) The Fall: Satan hijacks our Authority
With the fall, Satan distorts the pattern of creation by seizing the authority God had delegated to Adam and Eve. 1 Timothy 2:14 makes it clear to us that while Eve was deceived, Adam wasn't: that is he chose to submit to Satan, knowing it was wrong. In that choice, Adam chooses to direct his authority under Satan's, not knowing this would submit him to Satan's kingdom and position Satan to hijack his authority on the earth. This is why when we come to the New Testament we see some shocking statements about Satan & his authority on the earth:
Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
The problem with the world (from the destiny journey angle) is that Satan had was determining the destiny of the world: sowing brokenness, death, hate and more into God's good world.
(3) Jesus Arrives: Destroying the Works of the Devil
What Jesus arrives, we see him challenging Satan's authority. We get glimpses of Jesus' understanding of his understanding of his role:
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Matthew 12:28-29
Reading between the lines: Jesus is a stronger man, here to take back what is God's.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8b
This is also reflected in Jesus' core message: the immediacy of the Kingdom of God. Many Vineyardites can tell you the word "kingdom" in the New Testament means "rule or reign". Said another way, the kingdom pronouncement is that God's rule is here to challenge Satan's rule. Jesus is here to rule on the earth the way humanity was always meant to.
(4) The Atonement: Participants in the Kingdom of God
Through Jesus' death, resurrection, Jesus takes the authority Satan hijacked back. This is what stands out powerfully in the great commission:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18
All authority on earth now belongs to Jesus, and Jesus sends his disciples out under that authority. We are sent to continue to extend God's rule, now through the anointed king Jesus, on earth. This is a reseting of our human destiny; we are once again sent to cultivate God's rule on the earth. In his ascension Jesus provides the power needed for that assignment in pouring out the Holy Spirit upon the church, anointing us with the same anointing he walked in. We are sent to continue to be participants in the kingdom of God. It is the walk of partnership with the Holy Spirit that opens up the destiny journey to us.
Walking the Destiny Journey
As we learn to walk with the Holy Spirit in the Destiny Journey, our life becomes an adventure! We experience God's presence as vibrantly active and involved in our daily walk. We become familiar with God's presence and his leading, and every day becomes an opportunity to find God at work in our current circumstances. We become familiar with the Spirit's voice; his every whisper an invitation to a concrete partnership that advances God's rule on the earth. This results in a change in our experience of God and our faith; experiencing and interacting with God in our lives becomes normative: our life is an adventure we expect to walk with God.
As this happens, we likely begin to notice the importance of cultivating our focus and attention. We realize that our focus is the biggest part of whether we perceive God's invitations and we begin to orient our live around cultivating our ongoing walk with God. We learn to recognize how God speaks to us and recognize the prompting of his leadings. We learn to recognize spiritual gifts and flow with them and we see amazing things happen. This leads to a sense of mission and purpose that gives our life direction. Our adventure with God becomes the north star of our lives that we orient our other choices about. As that happens, we experience having a part in the greatest cosmic drama that will ever happen. We are walking out the original destiny renewed: to be co-regents with God on the earth.