Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Pressure is off!

I was reading in Proverbs the other day, something I hardly ever do (HA!  I actually read them daily).  Anyways I read a proverb, one that I have read many times, and it just struck me in a different way than it ever has before.
  • "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." Proverbs 21:30
This is such a relief.  It is so in two very different ways.  First we can be reassured that no one in their evil schemes can succeed without the Lord's allowance.  So we know that nothing being done is Satan controlled, but instead is allowed by our Lord God.  If we can see things through this perspective, then we also know that God is trying to teach us something so we can better serve him and bring him more honor and glory for His Name.

My second point can get a little messy... well both points can be rather messy actually (God allowing bad things to happen to good people for instance), but the Bible is very clear. Even in our sinful human nature there is nothing that we can do to mess up God's plan: the pressure is OFF.  Sometimes we (Christians) fear that we aren't making the right decisions.  But there is NOTHING we can do to mess up God's plan.  If everything we do is an act of worship to God, the details are not a concern, it is our heart attitude that is important.
  • "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" Romans 12:1

Some people use this as an excuse to be allowed to do whatever they want.  We can act on our human desire to fulfill our needs while saying, "We can't mess up God's plan anyway."  That is by no means what the Bible gives us freedom to do.  In fact God tells us to:
  • "Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God." 1 Peter 2:16
Perhaps the problem is that Christians fail to see that we are bought with a price and no longer are our own. That means our time, our reputation, money and thoughts do not belong to us.  They belong to Jesus.  We fail to recognize that even though we can't mess up God's plan, if we choose to live for something other than God's glory, God does not have to use us.  We should live so others know we belong to Christ.  Another verse in Peter says:
  • "For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men." 1 Peter 2:15
  • "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
How can we claim the name of Christ, and neglect what God commands us to do?! Just because we have a ticket to Heaven and we cant mess up God's plan, should we go on acting in our own self interest?!

So then, since we cannot mess up God's plan, but we still cannot be free to do what "we" want where does that put us?  Well God tells us that if you:
  • "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4 
I believe this verse is saying that if we delight ourselves in the LORD, he will put in us the desires he wants for our lives. If we give our lives to Him, His desires fill us up.  Its not that if we first delight in the Lord he will let us waste our time and resources on things that used to matter to us.  As we find ourselves drawing closer to Him, our desires change more to bring him glory than what our old selfish sinful nature desired.  I love that God does this.  We're all like, "Man if I delight myself in the Lord he will let me play sports and watch TV and hang with my friends ALL DAY LONG, and have zero responsibility, 'cuz that's the desire of MY heart." But little do we know how awesome God is.  As we get to know him, he changes our hearts.  That's called the regenerative work of the Spirit, and I am so thankful everyday for Him working daily on me!

Don't be fooled! This is what happens to those who think they can't foil the Lord so they do what they want because they already got their free pass to heaven.  They call themselves Christians because their parents are, or their girlfriend is, or they don't want to go to Hell, etc.  But then, since they got the free pass to heaven, they don't live like Christians should, and don't give up everything they are to follow and pursue Christ.  Here is what the Bible says about those people.
  • "Then he (Jesus) told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'"Luke 13:6,7
So....what does it look like if we do bear fruit and are useful to God's kingdom.
  • "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" Galatians 5:22,23
Scary thoughts for some!  If we call ourselves Christians but the fruit of the Spirit is not pouring out of us.

So lets recap....
-There is nothing we can do to mess up God's plan.
-We either get in line with Jesus through the work of his Spirit so we can be used by him
-Or we fail to recognize Jesus as our King and Father and he punishes us justly.

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