Some Practical Helps for Willing God’s Will and Wanting God’s Glory

Toward the end of May, we were looking at John 7:1-24.  You can listen to that sermon here if you are so inclined.  In verses 17 and 18 Jesus says,

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

A marker of true belief is that we will want God’s will and we will seek God’s glory more than our own.

But that leaves us with the question, even if I want to want God’s will and wished that I desired God’s glory more in my life, how do I do that?  How do I cultivate a taste for God’s Glory?  Let’s be honest.  After all, we don’t always want God’s Glory and His will is too often the furthest thing from our desires.

What are some practical steps to changing my tastes so that God’s will becomes more and more my will and God’s glory becomes more and more my chief and driving desire that sets all other desires in their proper place?

Maybe an illustration would help us.

When my son came home from school this Spring he announced to us that he wanted to learn to play the piano.  At first I thought, “Sure.  Don’t we all?”  But when his older sister also came home from school he told her the same thing.  He asked her if she would spend time with him teaching him the basics of piano.  Now, full disclosure time.  My oldest son and daughter are like any other brother and sister.  They do not always see eye to eye on things.  And when his sister points out things that he ought to be doing my son’s response is not always the most mature.  But she agreed, and they have been spending time downstairs at the piano side by side many nights.  She has been showing him some basics from old piano books she has, and he has also been spending about a half hour every day at the piano on his own.

My son wanted to develop a taste for the glory of the piano.  He sought out someone who already had that taste and asked for help.  He also began spending his own free time seeking to develop that taste on his own.

If you wanted to develop a taste for fishing you would spend time—well, fishing.  You would read articles and books on fishing techniques and you would find a group of people who either already had a taste for fishing or who, like you, wanted to develop a taste and appreciation for fishing.

Why is it that when it comes to our desire to grow more and more delighted in God’s will and God’s glory we expect that desire to miraculously (magically?) grow in us?  How do you develop a taste for God’s glory?  You spend time with others who also want that same taste cultivated in themselves.  You spend time with others who already have a taste and delight in God’s will and God’s glory.  You spend time reading God’s word and reading articles and books by others who have shown that they delight in God’s will and God’s glory.

There are so many opportunities at Hope of Christ for just such cultivation.  Our vision at Hope of Christ is to help one another know Jesus Christ, grow in grace, and go into the world with the hope of Christ.  Sunday morning worship is the first of those opportunities.  It is the one day of the week God invites us to set everything else aside and just rest in his glory and grace.  Are you making Sunday worship a priority in your life?  Care groups and Bible studies are another place where you can begin to cultivate your taste for God’s will and God’s glory.  Even our new classes, Theology Thursdays, are an excellent place to begin developing your tastes for God’s will and God’s glory.  After all, it is hard to truly know a person’s desires when we don’t really know much about that person.  Theology Thursdays are a great place to be reminded of who God is and why it is essential to our well-being to desire his glory and his will.

If you want to start wanting God’s will, if you want to begin to be delighted in what brings God glory, you must seek out places and people where that is being cultivated regularly.  Make Sunday morning worship a priority in your week.  Make Bible studies and care groups a priority in your week.  Spend time on your own in prayer and in God’s word.  And watch as the Holy Spirit begins to change your desires and correct your tastes.  Soon you will find the glory of God your goal and the desires of God your desires.

I love you all.  Enjoy the Journey!

via Left Unsaid… for better or worse ‹ Log In

Hope for Hump Day, November 20

 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119.105

 

We seem to be obsessed with the future these days.  Companies have five and ten and twenty year plans.  We think our churches should also have five and ten year vision or mission statements.  Even for ourselves we want to know the future.  We want to know God’s will for our lives.

 

It’s good to have dreams to a certain extent, and it is definitely good to want my dreams to be in line with God’s dreams for me.  But wanting to know or see or understand the future is not always as noble as all that.

 

Sometimes I want to know the future because I want to know the outcome of a particular trial.  “If I just knew what God was doing I’d be okay with all of this.”  That’s not actually faith.  That’s “knowing the end of the book.”  In that case knowing is easier than trusting.

 

“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  Romans 8.24,25

 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11.1

 

It is safe to say that Joseph in Genesis and Job in—well—Job and even Mary in Luke did not know how their stories were going to play out.

 

But God’s word is a lamp to your feet—not a flood lamp for your horizon.

 

When you are driving through fog at night, the worst thing you can do is turn on your high beams.  Your high beam headlights are positioned to cast the light farther out in front of your vehicle, but in the fog they just bounce light off all the particulates floating in the air and make it harder for you to see.  You want your low beams or even fog lamps that are positioned lower on the car and light up the road immediately in front of you.

 

Sometimes we are too busy trying to prepare for the momentous that we forget to be faithful in the moment.  What does faith and faithfulness look like right now?  In this moment?  I don’t have to try to be faithful for the next six years or six months or six days.  I am called to faithfulness right now.  In the quiet morning hours or evening hours when no one else is awake.  In the conversation with my teenage daughter.  In this mundane moment of speaking with love to my toddler who is—surprise, surprise—acting like a toddler.  In this conversation with a woman at work.  In this interaction with my wife.  In this decision over another drink, another cookie, another episode, another post, another look, another book (yes, self control sometimes means not buying the next Keller book).

 

Trusting God means following him with this step and not even worrying about whether I will keep following him with the next twelve steps (see what I did there?).  “I’ll never do that again,” is not the repentance God seeks.  Never again is too far out there.  It’s too dark and foggy and twisted to see.  It’s so big and overwhelming that “I’ll never do that again,” practically guarantees I will be doing it again—and soon—because it’s not in me to see that far forward and focusing that far down the long and winding road only makes it harder to see curve right in front of me.

 

So I light the Lamp and look down at my feet and I take the next step.  And then the next step.  And sometimes the next step is forward in faithfulness.  And sometimes the next step is backward in repentance.  And even when it’s backward it’s not starting all over again, but somehow even the backward steps of repentance are moving me forward toward Christ.

 

I am not pushing the rock of my own righteousness up the hill toward the goal, stumbling and needing to start all over every time the rock rolls back down.  I am standing firmly on the rock of Christ’s righteousness, trusting him to complete the work he began in me.

 

So light the lamp.  Use the lamp.  Take the next step of faith and this next step of repentance.  And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor! (cue the music)

 

yes.  I know.  There are some theological holes in the song.  Santa is singing it, for crying out loud.  What did you expect?