by Rick Pidcock
It was 3:00 in the morning. And rather than getting much needed sleep, I was up devising plans to save the Church. I was going to start by posting newspaper ads around the country that would tell Christians that many of them were going to hell. Then, my goal was to travel around and share this great truth, in hopes that it would grow into large stadium crusades of Christians listening to me and repenting.
In addition to the stadium crusades, I also wrote a bunch of songs begging my high school friends not to lose their salvation. And to supplement the songs, I wrote three books of around 200 page single-spaced Word documents about the wisdom in my songs, not to mention the movie scripts.
And though my thoughts on eternal security soon began to change as God opened my eyes to the righteousness of Christ, my self-dependant spirit continued.
During my first semester at BJU, I kept a record in my day timer of all of the kids who were being saved by my preaching. I then actually told my dad once that the key to saving people is to preach with the style of a new evangelical, but with the substance of a fundamentalist.
I had big plans, desires, and intricately thought out “solutions” to all of the church’s problems. And I felt very good about myself. But there was an emptiness that could only be filled by the grace of God. And over time, God began to transform my theological framework even more.
1. God does not need me.
“Nor is (God) served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”–Acts 17:25
A well-known church leader very unwisely once told me that if God were going to change the church, then He would probably do it through me. So you can just imagine how that fed into my self-centeredness. I honestly believed that if I did not get my new doctrines out there, then God could not save the church. If I did not get my songs out there, then God could not transform worship. If I did not preach with certain vocal tones or pitches, then God could not command dry bones to life.
And then I read Acts 17:25, “Nor is (God) served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
This is one of the most fundamental truths in all of life. God does not need me. He does not need you. Sure, He chooses to involve us in much of what He does. But He is completely sufficient in Himself to do whatever He wants.
2. God’s will always comes to pass.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”–Job 42:2
For many years, I viewed God as a helpless grandfather in a wheelchair who sees His grandchildren playing in the street, who longs to save them, but who desperately needs somebody to get His message out for Him, and who hopes that His grandchildren respond in the right way in order to be kept safe.
“Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time…having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”–Ephesians 1:9-12
But God is not reactionary. He does not have to be flexible to change whatever He is attempting to do based on the ever changing whims of man.
Instead, God has a predetermined purposeful plan that He set forth before time began. And He sovereingly works everything to bring His children into a greater worship experience of His glory. God is not a reactionary, needy grandfather. He is the sovereign Self-sufficient Ruler of everything.
3. Our only hope is to trust Him.
“Then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.’…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’”–Job 40:3-5; 42:3-6
Like Job, I’ve done alot of talking for a long time. But like Job, sooner or later God brings us to our Job 38-42 moment.
If you ever start feeling really good about your knowledge or plans, try reading Job 38-42. It will leave you speechless, totally dependent on the Sovereign Commander of everything.
God’s drawing me to grace has been more like a long progressive peeling of self-centered layers, than huge explosions of revelation. Sure, I had big debates with friends or teachers. But usually, these debates only led to further self-dependance and hard-heartedness.
Instead, each of these articles that I am sharing are the result of years where God allowed me to feel the emptiness of self, and progressively drew me to a greater taste and acceptance of His glory through the gospel.
God’s drawing of grace involves every area of life, not just salvation or eternal security. So in each of these articles, my prayer is that you will see God progressively both deepening and widening my experience of grace, and that God will use it to both deepen and widen your experience of grace as well.