What’s in a Word? – Destiny

Having a destiny is a heavy burden.

I know that sounds a little presumptive and morbid, but hear me out; when I think about destiny, it evokes a mental image of a straight path, one often dismal and dangerous, toward an ending that likely threatens death or pain. Now, maybe I’ve watched The Empire Strikes Back too many times, but somehow the words “It is your destiny” don’t give me the warm fuzzies. More like the heebie jeebies.

Thankfully, I don’t suspect any of us carries a universe-saving, empire-crossing, international or inter-galactic destiny on our shoulders—at least not in the sense that it’s up to us to save the world. In fact, the person I think of with the most set and powerful destiny, like the kind we hear of in the epics, was Jesus. He carried the morbid, threatening destiny of mankind’s salvation all the way to the cross. He knew what he was getting into, but like any true hero, he took it upon himself anyway, setting captives loose with his shed blood.

And in his passing and resurrection, a new destiny was born. 

What we have as followers of Jesus is not a destiny just the same as his; we do not each carry that weight on our shoulders, the burden of redeeming mankind. What we have a destiny we can choose into; a destiny not chosen for us, but for a group, the Body of Christ. Collectively, we all shoulder that responsibility together, and doesn’t that just make it feel lighter? Not only that, but the destiny of God’s family is not dismal, nor does it end in death or pain; instead it promises a glorious future. 

The course of events, the destiny for those who choose God, who make Jesus their Lord, is clear: everlasting life in utmost paradise. If you ask me, that’s where I wanted to be destined for! 

What is Destiny?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines destiny as “something to which a person or thing is destined; a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.” 

The subject of destiny is tricky when it comes to Scripture because it doesn’t mesh very well with the notion of free will. Do we have a destiny in the sense that from the time we’re born, the steps of our lives are determined for us? That’s not the design most easily determined from the world around us, or from God’s interaction with man. Rather than an irresistible power holding our lives to a specific outcome, what we have are individual callings within a greater destiny—which is the glorious future that the Body of Christ as an entity is destined for, regardless of which individuals choose to be in or out of it.

What Does the Bible Say About Destiny?

Ephesians 1:11 – In whom we also were claimed as God’s possession, having been decided upon in advance according to the purpose of the one who is working all things according to the plan of his will…

Romans 8:30 – And those whom he decided in advance, these he also called, and those whom he called, these he also declared righteous, and those whom he declared righteous, these he also glorified.

What is My Destiny? 

As a member of the Body of Christ, saved by your confession and belief, you are destined to everlasting life in eternity. You are destined for a place in Christ’s kingdom. This is the power of your identity in Christ, and while it doesn’t decide your every step in life from here to the end, it should absolutely shape the path you choose. 

The Bible talks in certain places about predestination, which refers not the individual’s destiny but to the broader destiny of creation: that salvation would come through Jesus Christ. Once we submit to him as our Lord, our destiny is to be with him forever. Knowing that is our destiny, we can all become emboldened to walk out in the power of that mighty and secure future, knowing we are a part of a glorious destiny: to be redeemed along with the rest of creation when Jesus comes to restore all things as they should be.

Take Action!

Take time this week to recognize and embrace your God-given destiny as a member of His Church—then seek out ways to bring others into this glorious destination as well! 

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