Duplicity and the Sovereignty of God
“…you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:15
Ever have one of those moments when you feel like you are being ‘played’, that you are the object of someone’s manipulation and you’ve been used to unwittingly accomplish their objective? It’s a horrible experience.
I watched the movie Duplicity with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen this past weekend. The movie is about two corporate spies who work to pull off the ultimate con job on their respective bosses. I enjoyed the cinematography and the acting and the pacing but what kept me engaged was the way the movie invited me to discover the plot. I felt I was part of the story, playing a detective, a spy to the the spy-counter-spies relationship played by Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. The story unfolded by blending the present with the past which baited me into conclusions and counter-conclusions and multiple layers of speculation. And just when I thought I had figured out who was ‘playing’ whom and was waiting to make my final accusation, everything came crashing down around me with a ‘no way, you’ve got to be kidding me’ moment. Spoiler Alert: In a movie where two spies were spying and counter-spying trying to pull the ultimate con on their bosses who were unethically greedy, the movie ends with the realization that the two spies were themselves being played. The final scene shows Julia Roberts and Clive Owen sitting in a large empty room completed amazed.
As I watched this movie and evaluated my own feelings the spiritual analogies were numerously apparent. The one which surfaced immediately is the tension between me, as the main actor working to create a comfortable and secure lifestyle, and God, who by the very nature of being ‘God’ has the ability to either assist or reject my plans. Now my suspicion is most of us live with this low-grade tension everyday. We work and plan and strive and in the back of our mind hope we’re on God’s good side so He’ll toss his assistance our way. And when things are going smoothly we believe we’re in God’s favor. But when things go poorly we feel like we’re being rejected.
What the movie Duplicity clearly portrayed is that none of us is really in control of our own lives. There are way too many variables in motion for us to control our destiny. The movie also clearly portrayed just how much stressful work there is in even attempting to live that way.
When rightly understood, the sovereignty of God – the belief that God is supreme over all and in control of all things – brings great personal comfort because we realize there is someone who is big enough to be in control and we’re freed from stress because we don’t have to worry about controlling our world because that is being done for us too. God informed the Prophet Ezekiel in the Bible that “if a prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed that prophet” (Ezekiel 14:9). In other words, you may think what you’re doing comes from your desire but in reality God is the one behind the desire. We see this principle repeated throughout the Bible. There are numerous times when God says He’s the one who has raised up one nation while taking another nation down; He’s the one who has put certain people in power; He’s the one who strengthens or weakens economies. It is utter folly to think we have any control over these realities. It is much more liberating to understand God is in control and then to seek His hand in the situation by asking Him what it is He is trying show-and-tell us. This is why James says: “you ought to say, ‘if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). And when we do, we will find ourselves sitting in amazement, saying as did Julia Roberts at the end of Duplicity: “I guess on a strictly professional level, it’s…Impressive.”
As you try to live the Kaleo Life, how are you handling the ‘Duplicity and the Sovereignty of God’? We’d love to hear your comments.