Friday, February 24, 2006

What is the Will of God for My Life?

Often we hear or think the question, "What is God's will for my life?" Sometimes it seems so hard to make big or tough decisions and we do need wise guidance and counsel. However, we often forget that God's Word is filled with exactly what he expects us to do! Here are a few examples of what God's Word expects of his children:

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." -- Matthew 22:37-40
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. -- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
Many passages describe God's will for our lives; they are clear expressions of God's expectations for our lives. We should make it our first priority to evidence our love for God in the obedience of his commands. We cannot do this without the enabling of the Holy Spirit, but we cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit without evidence of his presence. Our lives must bear the fruit of our faith; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

In Ezekiel 33:11, God expresses his desire for humans; "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" God desires that we turn from our sin, and turn to him, place the responsibility for our future in the hands of Christ Jesus, and then bear fruit productively.

So, God's will is easy. He tells us exactly what to do; "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Do you really love God? Do you really try to keep his commandments with all you heart, soul, and mind?

May the Holy Spirit give us the strength and the will!

Friday, February 17, 2006

"It bids me fly and gives me wings!"

Incredibly, I just read this in Carl Stam's Worship Quote of the Week, and thought it fit nicely with my last post:

Run, John, run! The Law commands!
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Far grander news the Gospel brings:
It bids me fly and gives me wings!”

–Attributed to John Bunyan (1628-88)

An Equation For Life

Wow, it has been way too long since I posted last. I have begun my second (and FINAL) semester of Hebrew, and it has really been hammering me! I had my first major exam of the semester yesterday, and hopefully I can now focus on new material instead of feeling like I need to constantly review from last semester.

On the way to work this morning I was listening to another sermon by Piper on Romans 2:25-29. Piper was focusing on verses 28-29:
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
In his treatment of this passage, Piper tried to help people understand this verse with several illustrations, including two equations. These equations were developed from these verses and the context of Romans, and they are helpful in understanding how the Jews could have the Law, but not get it, while the Gentiles could get the Law and not have it. Here are the two equations:

  • External Religious Rituals (circumcision, baptism?, Bible reading?)
  • The Need for the Praise of Man (it is amazing how the taste of a compliment is so POWERFUL to us)
  • Death
  • Internal Circumcision of the Heart (Jeremiah 31:33)
  • Satisfaction in the Praise of God (see verse 29b above)
  • Life

So LAW + SPIRIT is the fulfillment of the Law; without the Spirit, Piper points out that the law simply backs us into a corner and we rebel or we try to look like we are obeying the law and we try to climb a moral ladder to heaven. And we know that the only way we can have Law and Spirit is to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness and righteousness.

This LAW - SPIRIT equation opens my eyes; maybe you too can see the Pharisees of the 21st century in our church pews.