What is Holiness Worth to You?
Do you want to see God’s glory in your life? This seems like a simple question. Most Christians will automatically answer “Yes” enthusiastically. Yet, really think about your answer.
Do you want to see God move in wonderful ways?
If it seems like you haven’t seen God do anything recently, do you want to change that?
If you do, how much do you want it?
What are you willing to give up to see God’s glory? What is it worth to you?
How much do you value God’s work in your life when compared to everything else? Is it first and leading all of your decision making? Is it somewhere well below your own personal comfort, fear, and reason just below fully funding your retirement plan?
Your hierarchy of desires and perceived needs is hugely important if you want to live a powerful life in Christ for a simple reason. To see God do great things in your life you must do God’s will. You need to do what God wants. Seek what He seeks and desire what He desires. Then pursue His plan regardless of circumstances. If you follow your will and seek your desires, you might get them but that has very little to do with God. For more read What Do You Really Want from Jesus?
If you set out to do the work of God relying on Him alone to do it – then you will see God’s glory. It might look different than you expect but God always delivers.
It seems simple in concept. Yet, it is terribly challenging in execution. The gap between understanding and you actually doing is what leaves so many Christians miserable and unfulfilled. Actually putting the rubber to the road is where you lose the opportunity to see God’s magnificence.
The reason behind this loss is also glaringly simple.
The reason you often do not see God’s glory is you are too busy looking for what you want more.
For more read Are You Neglecting God?
Marching to Your Own Drum
You cannot get what you want and what God wants at the same time. It feels good to get what you want but you can’t do your will while doing God’s. There is only one Captain of your ship and it should not be you. Does that sting a bit? It does for all Christians. Losing out on your plan hurts but is good if God replaces it with His glorious one.
God’s will is mostly different than yours. His goals and ways are higher than yours. I am sorry to tell you that your agenda does not impress the One who made heaven and earth…no matter how well thought out. God will never glorify a plan other than His. He does not move mountains to honor any man – even you.
The staggering truth for most Christians is it is not Satan who is robbing them of God’s blessings. It is not your church, your family, or your job. It is the simple choices you make. It is how you decide what is important, what to seek after, and who to listen to. It is not the Enemy’s voice whispering in your ear that causes your downfall, it is your own. If you march to your own drum, guess what happens? It might be a fun moving beat but it drowns out the sound of God’s rhythm. Do You Want a Better New Year in Christ?
The Reasonable Rebellion of Man
This is the conflict at the heart of many of the decisions of the Israelites in the Old Testament. God led the Israelites well in every circumstance. He gave them exactly what they needed to overcome every obstacle and see His miraculous blessing. The actual outcomes in each situation varied greatly despite this provision. This was not God’s fault. Victory or defeat depended on whether the people were willing to listen to God despite what was in front of them. Would they follow His plan even when it did not make sense?
The Israelites at Kadesh Barnea were faced with exactly this question. This where Israel heard the reports of the 12 spies they sent to scope out the Promised Land. They were led out of Egypt by the obvious and persistent power of God. They stood on the edge of the land of milk and honey. They knew it was filled with abundant life. Yet, when they heard reports of large and scary enemies, they stopped listening to God. Joshua and Caleb encouraged them to go in and let God drive His enemies before Him. It is God’s job to take care of the obstacles. They refused to hear them and instead listened to their own fear, rebellion, and lack of faith.
It is not that they were unreasonable to fear giants and savage enemies. They were simply irrational to forget God’s clear commands and promises. God destroyed the most powerful army in the world a few weeks prior while parting the Red Sea. The Canaanites could never stand before the might of the God of Israel.
This same tension between wills was present in Gideon’s relationship with God. Gideon was called to redeem Israel from oppression. He was chosen to lead the greatly outnumbered army of Israel against their enemies. God looked at the 30,000 men of Gideon’s Army and knew there were too many men. The enemy had so many more soldiers. Yet, if Gideon went to war with 30,000 soldiers the temptation would be to think they won the battle because of their plan and skill rather than simply God’s blessing. God whittles down the Army until there are only 300 left. A tiny against many thousands.
Why did God make the odds so uneven?
So everyone was sure to see His glory. There was no mistake it was all God’s doing when Gideon won the battle. The Israelites needed an impossible situation to see God’s glory on display. They needed to face down certain death. Gideon needed to put down his battle plans and yield completely to God. 300 men fighting an army was a terrible battle strategy for man. It was perfect for God.
The same thing happens with Joshua and the walled city of Jericho. Joshua had no way to destroy the walls of Jericho. He was trying to figure out his plan when God intervened. Marching around the walls, blowing some horns and looking completely ludicrous would never have been Joshua’s choice of attack. Yet, the Israelites were willing to follow God’s plan. They faced down the great stronghold of the enemy in faith. God took care of making the walls fall. His glory followed His plan.
In the New Testament, the servants at the Wedding Feast of Cana were challenged in the same way. “Fill the pots with water”, Jesus commands. If you get in the servants’ minds for a moment, the question comes to mind, “Why in the world would we do that?” Water would never solve the huge problem they are facing. It seems like a waste of time and effort. They are left with the same choice – Jesus will or their will?
What would you do? What do you do?
Who is Really in Charge?
I struggle with the answer to this question. I am very good at mapping out my own life. I place my own expectations on Jesus and have a plan for how He should work in my home, workplace, and church. I try the things I think are going to work according to my plan. I don’t try the things I don’t think are going to be successful according to my judgment. I don’t want to fail and waste my time. I don’t want to be defeated and I don’t like to feel fear. Then, I am surprised when I don’t see God’s glory in my perfectly limited sphere of control.
Meanwhile, God stands patiently by until I am done with me and my nonsense to see if I really want to get down to His business. Do You Really Trust God?
Many Christians are living within similar self-imposed limitations on God. You may understand the stories of Joshua and Gideon but have regulators on your own life. They are like the restriction put on some vehicles to prevent them from going over the speed limit. The engine is capable of much higher speeds but it is prevented from doing so. No matter how hard you press on the gas, it is not going any faster until you take off the restrictions. You stand on the edge of the abundant life like the Israelites at Kadesh Barnea, but refuse to enter fully.
Jesus puts your marching orders very simply in the Gospels. He tells you to deny self, take up your cross daily, and follow Him if you want to be His disciple. Is there room for your agenda anywhere in there? Does God make His plan based on what you are comfortable with or capable of? I sure hope not.
Have you denied yourself in your life? That is just the beginning of His direction, but have you done it? Who leads your daily agenda?
If you haven’t really submitted your will to God, can you reasonably expect God to deliver His glory?
You may be prosperous. You may be secure. You could have the whole world at your fingertips. You may be getting exactly what you want. Life may be going exactly according to your 10-year plan. But if you are not living by God’s plan and seeing God’s glory, you may be comfortably wasting the time God gave you here on earth to make a difference. For more on this read Free Burma Rangers Movie – A Christian Review
“Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness”, Jesus says.
Are you doing it? If you are not, can you really be surprised you are not living the life in Jesus you want?
You want God’s glory? Great, pursue God’s plan with everything you have. Take on Giants, walled cities, and the armies of God’s enemies! A little closer to home, preach the Gospel when it is embarrassing, love the unpopular, pour out everything you have trusting the Lord will refill your cup, and do the things God wants but you think are too unreasonable and unlikely to succeed. Charge the darkness and expect God to protect you from the monsters!
It is that simple and that hard. Why should you do these things?
This is where you see the spectacular blessings of God.