What is the “Grand Tapestry of Majesty”? It’s my colorful name for God’s creation and His design. We are all threads interacting with each other being placed just so; when all is said and done, the beautiful image of all of us threads in Creation having run it’s course will illustrate God’s Majesty to all. And thus He will be glorified.
- So just what does it mean to be a thread in His Tapestry?
- How do we effect beauty in our small part instead of being frayed, ineffectual, out-of-place threads?
- How can we know what our place is?
- Why is His timing better than ours?
Submitting your heart to His Perfect Lordship
Living in His Will
Trusting the Lord
These are not necessarily sequential activities. Much like the following cycle…
God Reveals Himself -> We are Transformed -> We Worship Him
…this is an ongoing loop. There is an activity required to initiate this process, however; Submission. I capitalize because of the importance of this first behavior.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Before we can do anything for the Lord, we must acknowledge that we are useless to Him as an independent construct. We are broken, desperate, ugly, and quite dead. Only when He reveals this to us can we acknowledge our own destitution and subject ourselves to Him. I’ve come up with an illustration I’ve used before which I’ve masterfully recreated here:
The Old Man
The situation on the left is a bunch of people thinking they are kings & queens of their domains. Unaware that there is a higher authority over their lives, they attempt to assert their own power and are happy to allow other people in when they, too, further their domain. For instance, I am the king of my life. When my children are obeying me, they are supporting my kingship. When they are not, I have authority and power to punish as I see fit. I only need show grace and/or mercy when I see fit.
Thus, I expect my children to meet my expectations. When they do not, war ensues over lordship of our lives, and I do my best to win. However, anyone who has observed children instantly recognizes that they, too, believe themselves to be kings & queens over their lives. When these systems of authority come into conflict (parent and child will not yield Lordship) then there is war. Parent’s desires vs Child’s desires. I’ve experienced this with my daughter, as she can well attest. This is true for all relationships, though. James discusses this quite clearly in terms of the heart and friendship with the world:
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Again, referring to 2 Corinthians 5, we see that we are now Ambassadors in Christ because we have submitted to Him, cleansed ourselves, purified our hearts, and set our minds on a single purpose. We no longer use our own flesh to evaluate Christ and the people around us.
The New Man
Once we cast down our crowns, as illustrated on the right side of the image, we have submitted to His lordship, and begin the process of changing our habitual life and thought patterns into something new. We submit, break the barrier that we maintain around our kingdom (pop!), and we suddenly become an ambassador for His kingdom.
Take a moment and process just what it means to be an ambassador.
- …represent an authority greater than themselves, 24/7. Every action is perceived as tied to the authority they represent. They’re never “off the clock”.
- …live in a foreign land.
- …carry out the interests of the greater authority
So, now that we’ve accepted His authority as the greater authority, we become spiritual ambassadors.
- …represent the authority of the Trinity. (2 Corinth 5:20)
- …live in a foreign land Philippians 3:20 – we now have a new citizenship in heaven
- …carry out the interests of the greater authority (2 Corinth 5:18) – the same ministry of reconciliation
We find ourselves physically already in that foreign land (the world) where So instead of trying to recruit people around us into serving our kingdoms, which creates constant conflict, we now desire to recruit people into His kingdom.
Now, being logical, wise, and incredibly awesome people, we quickly figure out that we suck at just about everything we try to do for Him, right? I wish… but we can come to the logical conclusion that we are not perfect and therefore our will is imperfect. Since we know that He IS perfect, we can also come to the conclusion that His will IS perfect. Why then, would we ever allow our will to dominate over His? That’s sheer stupidity!
This is summed nicely when Christ told the parable of Him as the vine:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Apart from Him, we can do N-O-T-H-I-N-G. It bears repeating and emphasis. Therefore, we must absolutely acknowledge Him as Lord over EVERYTHING. Our plans disappear in favor of His plans. Our desires disappear in favor of His desires. Our will disappears in favor of His will. Our direction, our timing, our efforts, our stuff, our children, our loved ones, our family, our hopes and dreams…. ALL disappear into Him.
Now, we will often find that His will is to make use of our desires, passions, hopes and dreams to further His kingdom, because He can finally make use of the being that he knew would exist at any given point in time, and He deliberately planned for us to be this way. He actually wants to give us our desires (as long as they are already in His will, mind you). Because as we move into complete submission, our hearts desire will be to desire what He desires. This is a natural result of truly accepting His perfection over our worthlessness.
The following passages illustrate how God will guide us, in His will, to our new desires.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
Living in His Will
Further, we know that our plans are going to fail anyhow:
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.
Remember what happened when Abraham and Sarah attempted to have kids outside His design? Using a slave girl instead? Gen 15: God promises Abram his line will continue with his own son. Gen 16, they plot a child through Hagar, her servant. Gen 21: Isaac. But they had to wait until they were so old that people their age couldn’t even have children. All they had to do was wait. An awfully long time by our standards, but nonetheless, the Lord will be faithful. Saul again, didn’t wait, 1 Samuel 13:8-14, and it didn’t go well.
So what even is the point in pursuing our plans? We are to lay our hearts desires at His feet, be aware that He knows our desires and even asks us to pass on our desires to Him (which leads to some of the most real and conversational moments with our Lord, in which we simply tell Him what He already knows, but He wants to hear it just like we serve our friends by letting them spill their hearts out). We can even question God as Abram did, “But, uh, I don’t even have a son yet, you know that, right?” Just be sure not to keep pushing Him
We must follow Jesus Himself in this exact behavior.
As we see in Philippians 2:5-11, Jesus completely empties Himself of His station to become the humblest things possible to God, one of His own creations just so He can live his life in complete submission and service to God. Even up to the night before His crucifixion He was telling the Father of His desires and holding fast to His own submission to the Father:
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Now, since we are living in submission (in fact, my friend Rob calls 2014 “The Year of Submission” because he is experiencing much the same as I have been lately, the desire to start letting everything go. Our plans for our houses, our relationships, our time, our money….) we have begun to recognize the folly of living in accordance with our own desires, this means that we have to wait on Him for His timing, as well.
Living According to His Schedule
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a]not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God’s plans are masterful, eternal, and encompass all of this creation. We need to keep in mind that the entire Bible encompasses this universe from beginning to end. The “6 C’s” as shown below (which I learned at Apex Community church) basically tells our entire story.
CREATION (Genesis) -> CORRUPTION -> COVENANT -> CHRIST -> CHURCH -> CONSUMMATION (basically the book of Revelation)
So, if we are all parts of His grand plan, then his plan is greater than we can understand. Since he knows the number of hairs on our head, knows who we would be before creation even took place, then He knew exactly how every single atom, molecule, plant, animal, human would coexist and encounter each other in order to complete His work. This is what I call His “Grand Tapestry of Majesty”. We are all individual threads on a cosmic tapestry and each of our interactions has been accounted for. Some of us briefly touch and never encounter each other again. Some, like husbands and wives get thoroughly entwined. All of this, when you step back and take a look, blends together to become a greater whole with a singular purpose: glorification of God.
David says it well:
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
This means that He, as the Grand Architect, the Grand Weaver, with all of His knowledge that is outside our time and space (shoot, He created time and space) knows how each and every thread will be woven, in just the right direction, at just the right time to complete His Masterpiece. For Jeremiah it was clear:
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
But this works for all of us, too:
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
How are we to know what these right times for things are? The answer is simply: we cannot. We MUST trust in His omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence. Because frankly, to do anything else, means we think we know better how to accomplish His master plan than He does. Words have not been made to describe how utterly, insanely, arrogantly stupid that really is. Yet we do it every single day! And yet He still loves us.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.[b]
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Even when times are hard:
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Even for our basic needs:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
As a result of waiting on Him, we are buoyed by His energies, His power, His love, His grace:
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
My goal, with all of this is to attain the state of the tree planted by streams of water. I’ve already begun to see how keeping my feet planted on His rock, abiding on His vine, feeding from His streams allow me to remain steadfast, unmoved by the torrents of time and human dramas. I discover my joy to be unending, unwavering, unrelenting. It doesn’t make any earthly sense, but my, oh my, am I ok with that!
1 Blessed is the man[a]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.