Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done

Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done

Psalm 19: “ Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

During the 1980’s my great, great aunt Esther died. She had written the song, “Tea for two and two for tea; me for you and you for me” ♫. Anyway, when she died, I wasn’t mentioned in her will. My mother thought we were going to be rich! But we weren’t even mentioned!
A friend of mine died (of course, He rose again but we’ll put that aside for the moment). I was mentioned in His Will. I was given honorable mention. My inheritance is eternal. I became a part of His Kingdom. Trés cool. I didn’t even do anything to deserve it. It just goes to show what a great guy my friend Jesus is!
Do you want to be in God’s will?
It’s true that the rewards are unbeatable. But what do you need to do, you ask? How do you get honorable mention and an eternal reward? Here’s the secret: The only way to be In God’s will is to DO God’s will.
Obviously, the purest motivation for doing God’s will is love for Him. We do what He wants us to do simply because we love Him that much and we want to please Him. It’s not about agreeing with His philosophy of love and giving necessarily, although that would certainly help. It’s about blind faith, total self-giving and complete trust in His love for us. In its purest sense obeying God’s will is doing what He wants us to do because we believe in Him. We know He only has our best intentions in mind. So, in return, we love Him back completely. I get the image in my mind of a toddler that trusts in her parents, believes they will take care of her and knows that they love her. That child does what they want just because she loves them that much. She doesn’t need to understand their reasoning. It’s just pure, unadulterated, obedient love.
A second not so selfless reason for obeying God’s will is that we want to get to heaven. We want eternal life and happiness. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us can admit
that that is the reason for our obedience to God. We just fear living in hell forever. That’s not the purest motivation, but it certainly works.

What are some other reasons for following God’s will? If you heard a ping or a clanking sound in your car and I told you it was the alternator, would you believe me? I hope not. I’m no car expert! If you coughed and someone said that meant you had diabetes, would you begin taking insulin? Never! So why do we listen to ourselves or each other solely when it comes to something as important as life? We’re not the experts! If we want to live our life according to God’s plan, we’d better talk with Him about it. He is the Lord. He is the Teacher; we’re only the students.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus got confused about this. They moaned and complained because they thought they had figured God’s plan out all by themselves. They figured they knew how it was all going to turn out. When it didn’t turn out that way, they got confused and frustrated. They complained all the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which would have been an 8-hour walk. God had to appear right in front of them to get them to understand. They hadn’t asked God what the plan was. They hadn’t really listened to Him. How frustrated God must have been. He was the One who knew all the answers to their Jeopardy questions, but they didn’t ask Him.
Neither did the other apostles, the Jewish people or the Leaders of Jesus’ time. They all had their own expectations. They expected a rich King and an earthly kingdom. They didn’t ask enough questions and they didn’t listen to God’s answers so they messed up. They got it all wrong. What they figured would happen, didn’t and so they missed the mark. They really did get it all wrong. This must have frustrated Jesus. I’m sure we still do frustrate Him. In Jeremiah 29:11 He says, “ I have plans for you, plans not to hurt you but to give you hope and a good future.” The Emmaus guys, the Jewish people and leaders of the day never asked Him what those plans were. Have you?

I‘m going to tell you a Max Lucado story as an example.
Ever try to convince a mouse not to worry? Ever succeeded in pacifying the panic of a rodent? If so, you are wiser than I. My attempt was not successful. My comforting words fell on tiny, deaf ears.
Not that the little fellow deserved my kindness. Because of him, my wife Denalyn screamed. Because of that scream, the garage shook. I was yanked out of dreamland and off my LaZ Boy and called to defend my wife and country. I was proud to go. With shoulders high, I marched into the garage.
The mouse never had a chance. I know jujitsu, karate, tae Kwan do and several other…uh, phrases. I’ve even watched self-defense infomercials.
This mouse had met its match.
Besides, he was in an empty trashcan. How he got there, only he knows, and he aint’ telling. I know, I asked him. His only reply was a mad rush around the base of the can.
The poor guy was scared to the top of his whiskers. And who wouldn’t be? Imagine being caged in a plastic container and looking up to see the large (albeit handsome) face of a human. Would be enough to make you chuck up your cheese.
“What are you going to do with him?” Denalyn asked, clutching my arm for courage.
“Don’t worry, lil darlin’, " I replied with a swagger that made her swoon and would have made John Wayne jealous. “I’ll go easy on the little fellow.”
So, off we went – the mouse, the trashcan, and me, marching down the cul-de-sac toward an empty lot. “Stick with me, little guy, I’ll have you home in no time” He didn’t listen. You’d have thought we were walking to death row. Had I not placed a lid on the can, the furry fellow would have jumped out. “I’m not going to hurt you,” I explained. “I’m going to release you. You got yourself into a mess; I’m going to get you out.”He never calmed down. He never sat still. He never- well, he never trusted me. Even at the last moment, when I tilted the can on the ground and set him free,
did he turn around and say thank you? Did he invite me to his mouse house for a meal? No. He just ran.
Honestly. What would I have to do to win his trust? Learn to speak Mouse-agse? Grow beady eyes and a long tail? Get down in the trash with him? Thanks, but no thanks. I mean, the mouse was cute and all, but he wasn’t worth that much.

Apparently you and I are, because that’s what Jesus did. And when He hung on the cross with lips cracked and a throat so dry He could hardly speak he said,
“ You can trust me.”

Let me give you fair warning: when you ask God about His plans for you, you’re really inviting Him into your life. You’re saying, “Come into my home. Walk into my world. Be present in my heart, my office, my family, my fear, my doubts.” That’s a bold statement! It’s totally anti-Satan. It means handing our lives over to God. It means we don’t complain when we don’t sleep well, or when drop a pile of papers. It means we don’t get frustrated when our plans don’t turn out the way we expected them to. Satan would just hate it if that happened. He smiles when we get frustrated with life’s confusion and annoyances. Because when we complain about things not going our way, things are going Satan’s way.
When we invite God into our lives we agree to be in suspense. That’s not always such a comfortable place to be. We are the clay constantly being remolded by the potter. We are the diamonds in the fire that have to believe we won’t get burned; we’ll just get better.
The clay doesn’t know what new circumstances are going to be required of it. Only the potter knows. The coal doesn’t know it will soon turn into a diamond. Only the jewel maker knows. But while the clay is being molded, the potter’s eyes are focused entirely on his creation. And most times it can’t be done quickly. His hands are holding the clay securely, yet gently. He never lets go. He has a plan for the clay, it’s a plan much bigger and better than the clay could ever imagine. The potter is filled with a sense of anticipation. The clay remains in suspense. If we are the clay and God is the potter, we
have to be comfortable with living in anticipation. We have to be comfortable with having God’s hands on us. We have to be comfortable with getting remolded. We have to trust that we are very important to Him.
I personally have discovered God’s will by talking things out with other people, by reading the Scriptures, in prayer and in knowing what causes the fire and passion in my heart. A frequent point when we examine God’s will for us is when we think about our careers. On two occasions, I was laid off from my job. Both times it blinded me. Both times, I thought I had been doing God’s will and spreading His word. But God knew (and I found out in retrospect) that I really didn’t belong in either job. I was getting physically and emotionally sick. I dreaded every day and cried every night. I thought I was a pioneer for God at the time. I thought working at those two places was like being a missionary for Him. I should have realized that if I was doing God’s Will I would have had a joyful heart. I wouldn’t have gotten sick, or felt the intense negative pressure. According to Philippians 4:7, doing God’s will brings love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. Being united to God brings peace, which surpasses all understanding. All I had in those two jobs was confusion, pressure, tension and brokenness. In 1Cor 10:13 God says He won’t ever let us be tested beyond our strength. I should have believed Him. I’m not the one who knows the number of hairs on my own head. He does.
Does anyone of us really want to be in control of your life? Or of anyone else’s life? Do you trust your own intelligence that much? Have you lived such a wonderful life that you deserve to be IN CHARGE? Maybe there’s another human being you’d like to be In Charge of us all. Is there someone that you trust that much? I certainly don’t. And I don’t even want that. I’ve learned that it’s much better to be incomplete and in suspense, to abandon my life to God and to learn how to love and trust Him more. I don’t have to be afraid of anything that comes from a hand that was pierced and nailed to a tree.
To be in God’s will means we’ll receive a great inheritance. It means we need to love someone more than we love ourselves. It means to trust someone more that we trust ourselves. It means we desire what He wants, more than what we want. God is wiser and knows the big picture. He loves much more perfectly and selflessly than we do.
We can’t forget that Jesus lived on this very earth we’re living on. While He was here, he suffered, he grew hungry, and he felt pain. And He did that so we could go to Him in our need. He suffered so that we’d know we could identify with Him. He wanted all of us who struggle to hear this invitation: Trust me.

No comments:

Post a Comment