Many define destiny as fate; the seemingly inevitable or necessary succession of events, what will necessarily happen to a person. This definition has come up because of some people believe in predestination. The doctrine of Predestination is the belief in ‘predetermination’, the conviction that God (or a god) sets the course of a man’s life. For example, God sets the time you are born, where you are born, to whom you are born, the schools you attend, your grades, your profession, etc. and there is nothing you can do about it. Carried a little bit further, it even implies that God has already predetermined those who will go to heaven and those who will end up in hell!
Think about this for a second. If God has already determined what will happen at every point of your life and that thing will happen no matter what, then even if you do nothing about it, that thing should happen. Isn’t that right? If God has predetermined that you die a pauper, then no matter how hard you worked or prayed or lived right you will not succeed. Similarly, if God has assigned for you untold riches, then irrespective of the lack of effort on your part, you should make it big time. God will make sure you get there so why bother to help him along the way?
The dangers of predestination
- A belief in predestination unfavourably colours God and makes him look wicked, prejudiced, detached and impregnable – a God who is not moved by our efforts, challenges, infirmities, and weaknesses.
- Predestination nullifies prayer because it supposes that nothing can be changed, Que Sera, Sera – whatever will be will be
- It is a zeal and initiative killer. After all, if nothing will change, why not take things sitting down?
- Predestination makes many people ‘grasshoppers’ and procrastinators always waiting for the right time. Such people claim they are waiting for God’s time, an allusion to a predetermined time. Much time is wasted resting on our oars as we try to decipher the ‘Lord’s appointed time’.
- Worst of all, predestination breeds irresponsibility. The inference is that God is responsible for all that happens to us. It is not our fault. Things happen.
The Bible and destiny
A perfunctory look at the Bible will show us that no destiny is set, much less set in stone.
Destiny is fluid, changing, and malleable.
Here are two Scriptures relating to the life of the Apostle Paul:
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16) (NKJV)
It is clear from the context of these two verses that Paul was divinely elected to fulfil a purpose. He was destined by God to be an Apostle.
Now listen to what Paul says concerning his life towards the end;
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:6-7 (NKJV)
What is Paul trying to say to us? He is saying that “Though I was called, chosen to be an Apostle, I took upon myself the responsibility to ensure that I fought hard, I persevered to make my calling sure.”
The Bible indeed does say that God knows when we are born and when we die but our choices in life are not set beforehand. We make the choices that shape our destiny. It is for this reason, God will hold us accountable for our choices. It is incumbent on us, therefore, to make choices based on wisdom gleaned from the Word of God. This makes us partners with God in shaping our own futures and destiny. God does not put a ceiling on the heights you can attain.
Steps to Changing your Destiny
Understand that you are a co- worker with God in the shaping of your destiny
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 3:9-11 NKJV)
God has a part to play in the establishing of your destiny but it doesn’t end there. There is a part that you have to play as well. You cannot do God’s part and God cannot do your part. Each partner has to deliver their quota. For example, I’ve never seen God fill an application form for a job seeker. You can call on God all you like but form filling is your portion! There are things in life that won’t change unless you change them.
Recognise the Fact that God has given you Potential
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation…
Each one of us has the Gods-given ability. For many, this ability is in the form of potential. What is potential? It is the unexplored, unexposed ability, reserve power, untapped strength, unused skills, dormant gifts and hidden talents.
Living has never revealed any man’s potential. Potential is only revealed and unveiled by doing what it was meant for. A car’s potential is realized on the motorway, not in the garage. Many of us are like parked cars in a driveway. We need to drive away to realise our innate potential. Until we begin to do something, our potential is dormant. A buried talent is never a buried treasure. Talents become treasures only through use
Be careful to cultivate your potential
We all know that weeds grow faster than crops. Every farmer knows that though crops are planted only once per season, you weed many times in the same season. Similarly, challenges in realising your dream will be many. In fact, the only people without challenges are those who are doing nothing. Do not let your life just hang about. The weeds will choke it. Cultivate your potential, polish it and work it.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest. Proverbs 14:4
To build anything, you need to constantly remove the influences and stimulants that seek to stunt its growth. In the same manner, remove yourself from the activities and situations that might encourage you to return to your former state. This is an investment in yourself and in your future. The reason why some of us will die as ordinary people is because we live ordinary lives with ordinary people. Let’s face it some of us are wimps. We are too scared to do anything to upset our friends though we know what is best for us. We’d rather maintain the status quo and do what everybody is doing.
Keep your Feet Firmly on your Foundation
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
There is only one foundation in life. It is the foundation of Jesus Christ. A life built on the principles of Christ is the only secure foundation. When you build a wardrobe, you do not need a foundation. Even to build a jumbo jet, you do not need a foundation. But you cannot build a good house without a strong foundation. Why is this so? Houses are built to last. Nobody builds a house to last five years. Houses last for hundreds of years. Do you want a lasting legacy? Jesus said, “I am the best foundation for your life”. Matthew 7:24
Know the limits in life
To be successful, you must know your limits. In every sphere of life, there are laws and principles. These laws and principles determine our limits. Remember that tender plants wilt in the hot sun. Plants die when not watered at certain intervals. While you are free to ignore laws, always remember that you are not free from the consequences of ignoring them. Freedom without limits results in wasted lives. We all need laws to forestall disaster. Looking through the Bible I realized that every rebel died prematurely. It never pays to ignore the Word of God. The outworking of your potential requires that you understand and abide by the laws and standards God has put in place in order to ensure the full and maximum release of your potential. If God is your partner, you have to be on good terms with Him.
May God bless you and position you to maximize your potential.