It's Not About You

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MCGEE NALL // SENIOR

In response to September 24’s college Bible study.

“It’s not about us.”

When I reread my notes from Sunday’s college Bible study, that’s the phrase that kept popping up in my mind. It’s not about us. It’s all so much bigger than us. If only we could remember that…

On Sunday we jumped into Exodus 7, which is the beginning of the plagues. Vic and Joel challenged us to think outside our childhood, Sunday school boxes and wonder, “What if the purpose of Exodus extends much, much further beyond just the plagues? What if there’s more?”

What is the point of the plagues? Why did God feel they were necessary? Vic and Joel showed us, like, a bajillion verses that explain not just the purpose of the plagues, but the purpose of life in general:

“The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.” (Exodus 7:5)

So [Moses] said, “May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.” (Exodus 8:10)

“For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth…But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” (Exodus 9:14,16)

Remember, God doesn’t go from plague to plague just trying to up His game so the Egyptians will listen. He knows exactly what He’s doing, and He could have wiped them out at the very beginning (Ex. 9:15). But like the guys said on Sunday: God means to refine us, mold us, and shape us until there is no sin left, because sin cannot stand before a holy God. Which means pain, right? Look at how God grows us:

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:10-11)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Do you see the connection? Part of sanctification (a fancy theological word that basically means the process of becoming more and more like Christ; Phil. 1:6) is dying to self, stripping away all of the ugliness in your heart and mind, and recognizing more and more fully that your. life. is. not. about. you.

We know this to be true. We know it in our heart of hearts, but let’s be honest, it’s hard to remember this as a college student/young adult, right? For these few years, everything revolves around us. We’re focused on what we want to do with our lives, with building our resumes, with earning extra cash, with narrowing down our friend groups to the people that truly matter and care about us, and with seizing every campus/abroad/vocational opportunity that comes our way to advance our young careers. Don’t get me wrong: we should focus on those things. That’s what this season of life is for…partially.

But it also the perfect time to fully surrender your life to Christ, to live in complete abandonment, learn more about who He is, and proclaim His name to everyone we meet. Let’s be set apart from most our peers and live our college years not focused on ourselves, but on the LORD, as in Yahweh, who has made His name great for thousands of years, just like He promised.

When we read Scripture, yes, we need to ask how it apply to us. If we’re not applying Biblical truths to our lives, then what are we doing? How can we grow? But we have to always see the greater picture: stop looking inward, and look heavenward (Col. 3:2). There comes a point where the head knowledge turns into heart knowledge, where the majesty and greatness of God transcends any earthly want or worry. There comes a point where He increases, and we decrease to the point all we see and care about is Him (John 3:30).

Part of the process of sanctification is letting the cleansing blood of Christ and the washing of the Holy Spirit refine and carve our hearts and minds until all sin and misperceptions of God are gone. And what’s left? A new creation that completely sees and KNOWS Jesus as Lord—just like He promised the Egyptians and Hebrews would KNOW Him. Do we understand the magnitude of that? We can know the majesty and power of His name now, but what we know now is only a taste of the reality:

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12) 

The God you and I worship and talk about is a lot fiercer, wilder, and beautiful than we give Him credit for. We serve and worship the God of Exodus, the “Holy Wild” (as Mark Buchanan calls Him) who outstretches His arm to save and to rescue. Get to know that God, and remember that your life is not about you. It is always, now and forever, about Him.