Placing the focus on God

Nicole Foy recaps the evening session on Wednesday with Dr. Erik Thoennes and how her expectations were changed.


On Wednesday night, Biblical studies professor Erik Thoennes speaks about how the glory of God is of utmost importance. | Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

Nicole Foy, Writer

To be honest, I came into my first ever Missions Conference with high expectations. Returning students praised the vision of the speakers, staff members guaranteed the authenticity of the cultural experience and teachers promised that the next few days would be an experience that we would never forget.

I bought into every aspect of the hype. Along with my friends, I posted Facebook statuses counting the days until the conference, bemoaned the abundance of intriguing workshop options and eagerly anticipated the dramatics of the Global Awareness rooms. And I definitely overused #outpour13 on Twitter. Ultimately, I hoped that this conference would produce what I had always longed for: a clear confirmation of my call to the mission field.

However in the back of my mind, I still harbored the tiny worry that all of my expectations would be ultimately be unfulfilled. I doubted that yet another “call to missions” would finally reveal God’s ever-elusive will and call on my life and the lives of the other searching students around me. I completely agreed with Erik Thoennes’s opening statement that Biola was a place where one could “feel the Great Commission,” but I had no idea how to discern my role within it.

And Thoennes, confirming his reputation as one of the “Biola treasures,” answered all my questions by revealing that I was asking the wrong question in the first place.

Like Moses, so many Christians go through their life questioning their identity and purpose before God. They struggle with indecision and discerning a clear calling, and when they do realize a calling, they doubt their ability to perform.

But instead of begging God to reveal our identity, we must ask him to reveal his glory.

Once the focus is placed on the fulfilment of the glory of God, the Christian identity is clear and the purpose is straightforward. We have been called out of darkness into the light. We have seen the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And since we are redeemed for the express purpose of glorifying the name of Yahweh, we must live every moment of our lives with the goal of filling the earth with that indescribable glory and power.

Because once we are redeemed by the blood of Christ, there is no turning back. Once the unfiltered glory of God’s face shines upon ours, we are changed for eternity. Our unveiled faces cannot conceal the light that we have seen. We cannot help but radiate that glory to the rest of the world.

If we really do seek to carry out the commands of the Great Commission, our primary objective must be to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Then, the proclamation of that glory is the inevitable response.

There is no greater calling or mission than to fully align with the creator’s plans for creation. Only a radically God-centered heart can bring change to a world that needs it so desperately.

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