According to Matt. 16:24 Following God seems more like a dangerous walk than a stroll in the park, despite what some may lead you to believe.
Many of us tell God we will go anywhere or do anything for Him.
And no doubt after 14 years of trusting in Jesus there have been many opportunities to go places and do some neat things.
But have you ever felt like Jesus has placed on hold the adventure and wants you to stay where you are?
Look at this verse:
38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38-39 NIV)
Is it possible that the man was a little disappointed?
The following three truths will be helpful in deciding when and where to go:
1. Submit To Authority.
The man begged to go with Jesus but He told him to go home.
Of course we should submit to Jesus but also to those who are in authority in our life.
2. Be Obedient.
The man did just what Jesus told him to do which leads us to the next point.
3. Examine The Fruit
Are you producing fruit where you are? If so, it could be a good indication that you should stay there.
So, how does God help you to keep a fresh perspective on “home”, wherever that might be?
What is Gods will for my life? A common question for those who care about what God would want to do in their life. The question is usually asked in the context of what God may want a person to do, where to live, who to marry, which job to take, the future, etc.
God certainly does gift and call individuals to do specific things or to complete a special task. The bible is filled with history of individuals “called for such a time as this”. Within these stories we find encouragement, wisdom, opportunities to learn from another’s mistakes, and maybe most comforting, God using people just like you and I.
You would think it would be best to know Gods exact plan and to always understand the details that surround your life. However, this is not always the case. For me, His will seems to become clearer looking backwards rather than looking forward. What I mean is Gods faithfulness is realized in the present and while reviewing the past. With a puzzle the picture can only be seen as the pieces are put together. This is similar to faith as I trust that God will put the pieces that are scattered on the table into a picture that others can look upon and see Christ. In other words, I believe God has a plan for my life but that plan is best understood when I review my life not when I plan it.
God’s plan and calling for our life will no doubt lead us to specific areas of the world, place us in certain positions, allow us to hold titles, and provide opportunity to use the gifts that He gives us. However, ultimately there are greater destinations that God desires for us to reach other than geographical locations, titles, etc. Without reaching the destinations listed below, the gifting, calling, abilities, and purpose we possess will be meaningless and in vain.
Destination #1 LIFE
7Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus came to give us life. The thief comes to bring death. You and I are living in one or the other. Noting the differences between life and death is a great way to determine if what I am doing, where I am at, and how I feel is in agreement with Gods will for my life.
HOW DOES DEATH AFFECT ME?
1. DEATH REMOVES OPTIONS.
When someone is dead the deal is done. There is no choosing or decisions to be made, what has been done is done.
2. DEATH REMOVES LIGHT.
Death means lights out. Have you ever been in absolute darkness, so much so that you cannot see your hand in front of your face? This type of darkness will leave one in confusion, without an accurate sense of direction, and feelings of hopelessness.
3. DEATH CAUSES SORROW.
When there is death there is loss. Loss results in sadness and emptiness in some form.
Death is not Gods will for our life. If we find ourselves relating to the results of death than it is time to evaluate the decisions we are making and our attitudes. Is our heart content in Christ or does it long for what is contrary to Him.
HOW DOES LIFE AFFECT ME?
1. LIFE PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY.
When we wake up in the morning a whole new day full of decisions and possibilities are before us.
2. LIFE PROVIDES FREEDOM.
Jesus tells us that we will find pasture when we enter life through the gate that He provides. When a sheep goes through a gate it is either entering confinement or openness. In other words, being in Jesus opens up the pasture not the pen to us. Where are you living? When I think of pasture I think of openness, expanse, provision and space. In a pasture there is peace, beauty; all the room needed to fulfill dreams.
3. LIFE PROVIDES FULLNESS.
Being full of life, referring to John 10:10, is actually speaking of two different and unique attributes to the kind of life Jesus intends for us to have. The first is quantity. Not a little, not some, not even much, but it actually says super abundance. The second attribute is quality, in which it says it will be superior, or in other words, unbeatable. Are you still searching for a better life? You may not be living in Gods will.
Destination #2 TRUTH
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness–
Knowing the truth is necessary to discern between right and wrong. When we know the absolute facts in a matter we stand to be correct and not in error.
When I know Gods Word and His voice I am able to accurately apply truth in my life. According to scripture, knowing the truth provides opportunity for godliness in my life. Godliness does not lead me to truth but truth will lead me toward godliness. I will not have a desire to honor God if I first do not know who He is. Knowing the right response without having the right heart does not mean I am godly but simply religious.
Breaking free from religious actions and attitudes only takes place when the realization that the only action of mine that makes me right with God is the action of surrendering my heart to Jesus Christ initiated through repentance. Jesus is the truth.
Destination #3 HUMILITY
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Humility will cause servant hood.
Humility will cause worship.
Humility will cause compassion.
A humble heart understands that any value that one has to share, whether it is knowledge, skills, finances, or care, was all given to you in the first place. Outside of our relationship with Christ we are self-absorbed, selfish, and arrogant people. Thank God we now have the capability to serve God and mankind with true purpose.
Becoming focused on the specifics of what God would have us to do or where He is leading us in our day to day is easy to do and even important. But we must remain aware of the greater destinations that He desires to be reached within our life on a daily basis. Without the life, truth, and humility that God makes available to us, any calling, position, or location will remain just what it is.
You and I may be fulfilling God’s intended plan for us (position, location, calling, etc.), but don’t forget the greater destinations to be reached that will keep us there.
Seasons change and so does life. Whatever the circumstance, we can be sure that it will change one way or the other. Wherever we may be will not always be where we are.
Right now may be or difficult or maybe incredible. Either way it is important to understand how to successfully make it through each season that we find ourselves in.
A. HOW TO LIVE IN THE SEASON
1. REALIZE SEASONS CHANGE BUT GOD NEVER DOES
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Your circumstance does not determine the outcome. God does. God will move on our behalf, according to His perfect will. We do not have to live life bound to our circumstance or what the world throws at us. As Christians we should not be bound to our circumstance but to the promises of God.
God’s Word is a whole entire book filled with His promises. It is vital to understand what His Word says regardless of what life says. Why? Because His Word calls things that are not as though they were and brings what is dead to life.
2. WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER
Each season will require different work to be done. Farmers know when to plant and when to harvest in order to have to best possible fruit of their labor.
4A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
Follow the voice of the Lord and His specific directions so that you may complete the work successfully.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7
6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
3. RELEASE FAITH
We must understand what is really happening when we are truly putting our faith into action.
Acts 3:11-12 & 16
11And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
16And his name (through) (faith) in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith (which is by) him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
To understand what actually is taking place when we release our faith we are going to disect three specific words taken from verse sixteen. It will be somewhat of a play by play of faith in action.
First, what is Faith? (faith)
4102 pistis (pis’-tis);
from 3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:
Faith is being persuaded and convicted that Jesus is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Our persuasion can only be in the name of Jesus and His promises.
Second, how is faith released? (through)
1909 epi (ep-ee’);
a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the det.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.:
Our faith (what we are persuaded of and morally convicted about) must be distributed. To distribute means to spread out so as to cover something.
Our faith in the name of Jesus must completely cover over our situations and impossibilities.
In other words we cover over what we believe for with the promises of God. It absolutely does not matter what it may appear to be. We are to cover over what it is with what God says it can be.
Third, how does Jesus’ power interrupt our circumstances? (which is by)
1223 dia (dee-ah’);
a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal, or occasional):
When we distribute faith it literally creates a channel for Jesus’ power to flow into our lives.
Faith provides a roadway for the power of God to flow directly into our lives.
Much like we construct roadways to travel from point A to point B. Faith is the roadway that Jesus will use to meet us directly where we are located.
In life, it does not matter how remote or deserted an area may be, if there is a roadway people can travel to those destinations.
In our spiritual life, if we distribute faith it literally provides the means for Jesus to meet us, no matter how remote, deserted, or desperate our location may appear to be.
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT FAITH
16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
AVOID THE FOLLOWING SEASON “KILLERS”
Discontentment is a joy stealer. You will always feel that you never have enough when you are discontent.
12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Lack of faith will leave you feeling hopeless. Lack of faith makes you feel alone.
6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
A life of doubt is governed by circumstances. Circumstance change from one minute to the next.
No matter how great life may be, if there is pride destruction is sure to come.
Pride robs God of His Glory.
18Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.