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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Finding God's Will

Kids are funny.
They want to play with other kids, but when they're little, they don't quite know how yet. If you watch 2-3 year-olds play together, they do what we call parallel play. They play alongside one another, and if they're boys, they may not talk that much to each other. They might make some noises, or sword fight every now and then, but the best they can do is just play "near" each other, and try not to totally melt down over sharing toys.
But when they get older, they want to really play together, doing shared activities.
We have a group of kids on our street that all play in the same driveway. They usually play some sort of game together. Emma and Jax join in easily, but Justus is not sure how sometimes.
One problem is, he wants to go play there, but he wants them to all stop what they're doing, and play what he wants to play. For instance, they're all riding scooters in the driveway, and he desperately wants to go with them, but he wants them to all stop and go to the backyard and jump on the trampoline. Or sometimes kids will all be playing a real game with rules, and a little kid will say "NO! Let's play my game!" and make up some game that totally doesn't make sense or have rules at all.
As I was trying to reason with Justus, telling him if he wanted to play with them, he had to join in with what they were already playing, I thought...
We are just like this!
It's very much like what we learned in Experiencing God. Instead of asking "what's your will for my life?" all the time, we need to change our question. "What is your will, God?" We need to learn to recognize where God is working, and join in. It's like asking God to give me a ministry, while college students flood my town and home, and still asking..."But God, where's my ministry?"
It's not that God is never going to start a new thing in us, but most of the time, we are just too self-absorbed to notice that God is already working, and all we have to do is join in. We want to start our own game, with our own rules, and then we want God to put his name on it.
Our study of Romans 12 at our church, which is one of my all-time favorte chapters, has spurred this thinking in me. It starts off by saying...

12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Only AFTER we have offered our whole selves up to God, giving Him everything we've got, holding nothing back, can we even begin to look for God's will.
That's step 1. (Kind of a big one.) This means that we drop all of our pre-supposed ideas of what we want for ourselves, and just ask "What do you want of me, God?"
Then...
we stop conforming to the pattern of this world and our culture. Easier said than done! I am constantly finding another corner of my life where my thinking has been molded by this world and not God's Word. The renewing of our mind takes filling up with scripture, asking God to change us, resisting thinking and acting in ways that may seem natural or normal because of the world we live in. Sin comes way too naturally for me! This world and our culture will lead me astray every time. This is what James says about our friendship with the world...

James 4:4-6
4 You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can't be a friend of God. 5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful?


So only after we have offered our bodies as living sacrifices, and then stopped following the patterns of this world and renewed our minds can we even begin to test and approve what God's will is.
Oh, and His will...it's good, pleasing, and perfect!
Our plan, that we keep asking God to stamp His approval on, it's flawed, empty, and foolish.

So where is God working around you?
How has He gifted you? (See Romans 12)
How can you be apart of what He is doing?
I have to ask myself daily, am I completely on the altar before the Lord today?
And Lord please, please, please show me how I am still following the world and it's ways rather than you!!!
I want God's good, pleasing and perfect will!

1 comment:

Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...

It is so great that once we completely give ourselves over to God and His perfect will, the world can be falling down around us and even though it may hurt, we know we are ok...what a wonderful place to be.

I pray that we are always there!!!

I love what this sermon series is doing in our church in in our hearts, I can feel it stirring everywhere!!!!