Blueprint Myth Week 4: Choose or Lose
> Mommy told me that if I'm good and I read my Bible and say my prayers, God will help me discover my destiny. Like in the movies! Find my perfect princess, be a hero, save the world. But, what if I mess it up? What if I'm not brave enough?
> Will God take away my happy ending if I fail in my duties as a mother? What is God's will in my life anyway? I thought I did everything right. Why do I feel so overwhelmed all the time? I wish God would just set the table for me and all I had to do was sit at it. Maybe I just need to pray more, read my Bible and talk to my pastor.
> Talk to my pastor, they say. Connect and have more accountability. Serve more, they say. Well, I'm doing all of these things and I still feel so lost. I thought that as I got older I'd be able to discover what God's perfect plan was for my life. And yet, here we are in debt, struggling with lust. It seems like I'm just surviving. Where did I mess it up? Why won't God just speak to me like He does in the Bible and tell me the game plan? Sometimes I wonder: Is there really a plan that God wrote for my life that I'm supposed to follow?
> All these years and I still have to tiptoe to do the right thing. What about my free will? Maybe there is no rulebook. Maybe I can relax a little. Maybe His will and His call are too separate things. I don't know anymore. I just wish I could see my plan. I wish I could just see my blueprint.
Well, good morning to everybody and good morning, also, to those who watch the mobile app and the internet. We welcome you as well. We're in a series called "The Blueprint Myth" and this is week number four of a four-week series. If you're brand new and today is your first time, you probably are having that thought of "I'm walking in on week number four of a four-week series. Am I going to be lost?"
No. Let me put you at ease. I'll bring you up to speed because I do this at the beginning of every message because I always am of the opinion that there's somebody here that's new every time I speak. I'm also of the opinion that there's good people that come on a regular basis that maybe missed a week or two and it's just always good to catch everybody back up to speed. So, here's what we've been doing over the last four weeks. We've been taking a journey and sort of looking at a perennial issue in the church. An issue that so many people get jammed up and seized up. It just creates a lot of issues in a lot of people's lives and it doesn't help that there's books written every year – hundreds of them – and they all say different things. There's thousands of sermons preached and they say different things.
It's this issue of God's will. What does God want for my life? What does God want me to do? How would I know? How could I find God's will or whatever words that we use? So, we've been looking at that over the past three weeks and now week number four. We've been looking at, "Hey, what does the Bible say about God's will? What's all this stuff about God's will?"
And what I asked everybody to do at the beginning – and we're still doing this – is to sort of put maybe what you think or what you've been taught or what you caught from being around church and sort of the folksy understanding of God's will, put that on the shelf for a little bit and let's just go through the Bible and let's just sort of look at things and see if maybe there's not a better way to look at God's will. Because, I'm of the opinion – this is just my opinion and I feel like I'm right on this. But, I always try to preface everything with that it's my opinion.
I think that when we truly figure out what God wants for our lives, it does not lead us to bondage and being jammed up and seized up. I believe God always leads us to freedom. He leads us to an abundant life. So, when I see something as a pastor where people are seized up and almost in chains with something, I go, "Something's wrong here, because that's just not the way serving God is all about."
So, that being said, let me sort of give you a summary of what we've been doing up to this point. I think it'll be good for everybody, even if you've been here for all three weeks.
First of all, we've been talking about, when it comes to God's will, that there's three basic ways that you and I relate to God in our lives. First of all, there is the sovereign will of God. The sovereign will of God, that's just what God's going to do regardless of what you and I think or what history says or what people choose to do. God's going to get accomplished the things that God wants to get accomplished. This is what you can see when Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preaches to the Jewish people and he's telling them about Jesus and he says, "Listen, you crucified this Jesus. But, God planned it before hand that it would happen."
And we read those things and we go, "How does all that work?"
The reality is is that there is a sovereign will of God that is going to get accomplished no matter what. And God does not share that with you and me. When it comes to God's sovereign will, we've just got to trust Him. We've got to trust that He's got the future in His hands, that He holds the whole world in His hands and we've just got to trust Him. God doesn't share His sovereign will with us. If He shared His sovereign will with us, we wouldn't have to trust Him for anything. We could just sort of do whatever we wanted to do and move on because we would know what the plan was before it happened.
So, that's one way God's will is discussed in Scripture. The way that's most important for you and me is God's synergistic will. That's what He's revealed to you and me in Scripture. He's told us about 95% of all the things that you and me would ever need to do in our lives. It's been clearly revealed and articulated in Scripture. We're told what to do. When somebody does us wrong, we're told how to respond to that. We're told how to raise our kids. We're told how to love our spouses. We're told how to handle our finances. We're told what to do when somebody does us wrong in church. We're told ethical things; what's right and what's wrong.
All of those things are clearly articulated in Scripture, and that's the stuff that God wants you and me to obey Him with. To just clearly follow what He said to do. Then there's just the day to day stuff like what college should I go to, what car should I buy, should I do this or should I do that? That is a real difficult thing for you and me. The day to day stuff.
We've also talked, during this series, that we've moved more from talking about God's will in terms of finding it to in terms of doing it. Scripture no where tells us to find God's will. And that's where I said a lot of us have that folks understanding. If you've been raised in church and you listen to people pray and whatever, "Hey, we're going to pray that you just find God's will on this. We're just going to pray, you know."
It's sort of like God's just got His will under a rock three feet down in a box to the left and if you just do the right things and pray the right way, you'll sort of get that and find that will of God. And yet, nobody wants to talk about it. But, everybody's going, "I'm trying to find it. But, I really can't find it. I don't know what's going on."
Scripture doesn't tell us to find God's will. It tells us to do God's will. In other words, God has clearly articulated to you and me the things He wants us to do. It's not a matter of finding it. You don't have to go, "Well, you know, I just need to find what God's will is for me to love my wife."
You don't need to find anything. You just need to do that. You know? So, we've moved from finding to doing. Then, on top of that, last week we talked about, "What do I do in the day to day decision?"
The things that are not necessarily theological or they're just sort of the day to day stuff. You know? What college do I go to? What car do I buy? Things that I want to please God with in my life. How do I do that? We gave everybody sort of a step here to choose how to do those things in their lives by going to Scripture. What does it address in principle? By spending time in prayer. Getting godly council. And then processing through that and making a decision. And I think most people up to this point, if you've been here for the three weeks, are going, "Okay, Chip. I get it. I got the idea of God's will. I understand we're not trying to find it. I understand we're trying to do it. And I understand that there's a step for me to be able to choose. But, just to be honest with you, sometimes I just don't want to make a choice. When it comes to choice time, even though I've talked about it and even though I've prayed about it, it's just sort of hard for me to make a choice."
Let me explain why that's the case for you and me particularly. First of all, our souls have been shaped and formed in a culture that teaches personally fulfillment is the goal of life. We're inundated with it. The books that we read. The self-help books. The shows on TV. It's all about "what fulfills me?" I want to do a job that fulfills me. I want to be in a relationship that fulfills me.
And yet, when you look at Jesus – and I think all of us would agree even if you're brand new here and you're not even into the Christian thing and you just sort of showed up today and you're not quite sure what's going on. Maybe you showed up because it was Mother's Day and you promised your mom that you would show up or you came with her or whatever. But, the reality is that I think anybody, whether you're a Christian or not a Christian, would go, "Hey, the whole idea of Christian is really based around this guy Jesus. We're supposed to be followers of Jesus. We're supposed to look like Jesus."
Did you notice something about Jesus in Scripture? He never, ever, ever, ever, ever was about trying to personally fulfill His own life. He wanted to please His Father. When He tried to please His Father, He knew that His Father had His back and would life Him up. So, we live in a culture where we're inundated with "everything ought to be about personal fulfillment."
I'll tell you why. It's because we're so affluent. If you could go back 40 or 50 years with me, you wouldn't find anybody. If you walked up to them, maybe a plant worker or somebody that was on a farm, a farmer, and you walked up to them and we could go back in time and we could walk up, we walk out to the farm house, we walk up, here's Farmer Joe. He's out there. He's doing his thing. He's got his steer doing all this stuff and digging up and whatever. We go up to him and we go, "Farmer Joe, I want to ask you a question."
He's like, "What's the question?"
"Are you personally fulfilled?"
He'd be like, "I don't know what you're talking about. What do those words even mean?"
See, for us, we've been told that everything is about personal fulfillment. That's huge. This is the reason why we have a hard time choosing and making decision. So, we've been shaped in a culture that tells us personal fulfillment is what it's all about. Secondly, the overwhelming amount of choices that we face in today's society. When you couple "my life's supposed to be about me being personally fulfilled" with the fact that "I've got so many choices that I could choose from," what we do is we seize up because we feel like if we make that one choice, it might not lead to the life that we want to have in personal fulfillment. And that seizes us up.
I don't know if you know this or not, but in your history books, if you read, it's right in the middle. It's called "the day the world went to hell." It was when they stopped offering vanilla and chocolate ice cream at the ice cream shops and Baskin Robin's came along and gave us over thirty choices. That's the day. Mark it down in history. That is the day when the world went to hell. Because, all of a sudden, we had all these choices to make and we didn't know what to do.
But, I want you to lean in here and understand this. The reason we jam up – we can sit here and talk about God's will and we can talk about all the great stuff and everybody would go, "Yeah, that's great."
Whatever. But then it comes to choosing and we seize up because we've been taught that, "Hey, if I make the wrong decision, it might have these really bad consequences and I might not be personally fulfilled. So, I'm going to sit back and wait and do all these things."
You know, have you ever thought about this? If God would tell us everything that we needed to do, if it ended up not going out the way we wanted it to go, we could blame it on Him, not us, right? Think about that for a minute. I'll tell you what. I had a moment in my life – and you guys have got to keep this in. I know it's going to get out there on the internet. So, those of you all watching on the internet and the mobile app, this is where you just need to plug your ears for a minute here. Don't listen to Chip here reveal some of his life.
I grew up listening to rock and roll music. I mean, man, I loved rock and roll music. My hair. Some of y'all are like, "Yeah!"
Oh, yeah. My kids get a good dose of Jesus and Van Halen. So, anyway, that's the way we roll at the Bennett house. If anybody came in here today and they're visitors and they're religious people, they're like, "Yeah, I'm not coming back to this church. He's wearing jeans and talking about Van Halen."
So, anyway, the deal is this: I had become a Christian and I had long hair, believe it or not, at one time in my life. I played rock guitar and all of that good stuff. So, I was in my car – this is after I'd become a Christian – and I was listening to a band named Rush. They're a Canadian band. Alright, we've got come Geddy Lee and Neil Peary fans in here and Alex Lifeson. So, anyway, this is church, folks. Come on. Don't be too carnal in here.
But, the deal is I was listening to a song by Rush. And normally, as a musician, I listen to guitars, bass and the drums. I'm not really one that listens a lot to lyrics. Like, my wife, Mindy, knows all the lyrics to all the songs. Sometimes I don't even know the lyrics to the songs that I love because I don't really listen to lyrics. As a musician, I'm listening to the band. Well, I happened to be listening to the lyrics one time with Rush and the line was "If you decide to not choose, you still have made a choice."
That's great. Somebody's singing, in the front row, Rush for me right now. "You still have made a choice." That's great. But, it dawned on me. So many of us, when we get jammed up and we don't want to choose, by not choosing you still have made a choice. So, we've got to learn to press forward and make these choices because God has given you and me creativity. He didn't create you and me to be robots. He's given us creativity. He's given us minds. He's given us choices. In fact, God loves when you decide to sit down and go, "I'm going to drive a Toyota or I'm going to drive a Ford or I'm going to drive a BMW," or whatever it is that you drive. I mean, I don't think God's mad at you for enjoying cars if you like cars. I don't think God's mad at you if you sit down and try to figure out what college that you want to go to and use the mind that He's given you and the creativity that He's given you.
In fact, I think He wants you to use your mind that way and I think that all He wants you to do is honor Him in the things that you do and honor Him in the way that you go about stuff and ask for godly wisdom and pray about it and make sure that you're not outside of what God's Scripture is. And then, make a choice. But, sometimes, it's so difficult for us to make a choice.
What I want to do is I want to talk to you about a story that many of you all may be familiar with. But, it's a story that I sort of want to recount again to everybody, or retell, so that we're familiar with it. I think you're going to enjoy it because it's a story where a young lady has to make a choice and she has no idea what the outcome of that choice is going to be. But, we learn a lot about God's will and we learn a lot about making decisions in this particular story.
This story is the story of Esther. I'm going to give you a little – y'all will probably enjoy this. As you know, me and Mindy have five... six kids together. Well, hold on. Hold on. You'll understand why my mind went there. The first five, she named. So, you can see, the scar is still there. So, I did what any good husband would do when the sixth one came along. I put my foot down and said, "I'm naming this kid."
You know? So, anyway, I want to name. We found out she was going to be a girl and Mindy said, "Well, what name do you like?"
I said, "I like Esther."
She was like, "Really? That sounds like a name from about 40 or 50 years ago."
And I'm like, "That's going to be the name."
I'm just kidding. It wasn't like that. But, Esther is our youngest girl. So, I want to tell you the story of Esther. If you know the story of Esther, I think you'll still enjoy it. But, I'm going to assume that you don't know the story of Esther because I think it would be unfair of me to assume that everybody knows this story. And I think we all probably know it at different levels. I've found out, as a professor, oftentimes I'll ask people, "Do you know the story," and then when I ask them to tell me the story, they know some of the story but they don't know the full story.
So, I'm going to tell you the full story here. And let me just say up front that these names that are in the Bible in the Old Testament, they're some wild names, okay? And I'm a guy that you have no idea. I am so obsessive compulsive that I have to call it CDO to alphabetize, you know what I'm talking about? It's no longer OCD. So, I like to get everything perfect. Everything. Pronunciation. Everything. Let me tell you something: There's no good way to pronounce biblical names because even scholars disagree on this stuff. We don't know. Just call if whatever you want to call it. But, the deal is I'm going to talk about a bunch of crazy names that you've never heard before. When you're reading the Bible, you might look at it and go, "I'm going to read that differently."
Feel free because everybody just makes up whatever they want to do when it comes to these biblical names. Anyway, we're going to talk about a king, Xerxes. In the book of Esther, his name is Ahasuerus. King Ahasuerus is throwing a big feast when we enter into the book of Esther. This big feast that's going on, it's like open bar. In fact, I think Van Halen was playing at this feast, just to be honest.
But, the deal was that the king's throwing this big feast, everybody's having a great time, it's a big party and, in the middle of the party he decides, "You know what I want to do? I've got a beautiful wife. Her name is Vashti. I'm going to have her put on her royal garments and I'm going to have her come out and wow the crowd with her beauty."
So, he summons for his wife and says, "Hey, put on your stuff. Get made up and everything. Come out and do your thing."
She refuses to do it. Well, that angers the king. He's very, very, very upset about this. It frustrates him. So, we find out that he sits down with his group, his counsel, his wisemen, and he says, "What do you think we ought to do about this?"
They say, "Well, there's only one thing to do. You need to get you a new wife, dude."
It didn't say "new wife, dude," I'm just tell you the story here in 2017. So, he says, "Okay. That sounds like a great plan."
So, she's no longer going to be out in public anymore. She's been told to go somewhere else. So now, he starts looking for his queen. Well, Mordecai has raised a little girl named Hadassah, whose name is Esther in Scripture. She's a young Jewish girl. Her mom and dad have passed away and Mordecai is her cousin. Mordecai raises Esther. When Esther and Mordecai hear that the king's looking for a royal bride, Esther goes and joins that large group of women that are vying for the king's heart.
Well, as the story goes, Esther stands out among all of them and the king ends up marrying Esther. Now, he doesn't know that she's Jewish. But, he marries Esther. Well, there's this guy named Haman. He's a dude who is sort of the negative guy in the story. He's gone to the king and they've talked. The king and everybody likes for everybody to honor them when they come through the town. So one day Haman's coming through the town and Mordecai, who is a pious Jew, and everybody sort of bows to Haman, he doesn't. He doesn't bow to him because he doesn't bow to anybody but God.
Well, Haman doesn't like this. He's mad. So, he goes to the king and says, "Hey, look. There's some people in your kingdom that don't do it like anybody else does. They just do it their own way. They don't bow down. None of that stuff. We need to get rid of these people."
And the king says, "Alright."
Well, he doesn't really say that. But, that's sort of what he says. He says, "Okay. We're going to do this thing."
So, what they do is they sort of cast lots to figure out the day that they're going to kill all the Jewish people in Persia. Now, this edict goes out and Mordecai gets wind of the fact that the king is going to kill God's people. And he's distraught. I mean, you know, it's a big deal to him. He falls down and starts praying and does what they do in the Old Testament. Sackcloth, ashes and everything. So, we're going to enter the story here because Esther has a personal assistant. His name is Hathach. Hathach is the go-between between Mordecai and Esther as we pick up on the story here that the king has agreed to kill all the Jews in Persia. Let's pick the story up here, because it's a really good story.
It says, "Mordecai also gave him [Hathach] a copy of the written decree issued in Susa ordering their destruction."
So, Mordecai has Hathach, which is Esther's personal assistant. He gets him together and he says, "Look. Here's the written decree that's ordering the destruction of our people. Would you go take that to Esther?"
So, Hathach might show it to Esther, explain to her and command her to approach the king, implore his favor and plead with him personally for her people. Sounds like a great plan, right? I mean, Mordecai knows that Esther's married to the king. The king loves his wife. She's beautiful. She also happens to be Jewish. So, Mordecai's thinking, "Hey, the way to overcome this problem, the way to overcome this massacre that's going to happen, this genocide that's going to happen to the Jewish people, why don't you, Hathach, go to Esther and give her this decree? Show her what's going on and ask her to approach the king, implore his favor and plead with him personally for her people."
This would be a great time for her to go, "Hey, and by the way, I'm Jewish too and you're going to kill all my people."
You know? So, it's a great plan. Mordecai's got it all figured out. This is the way to do it. We've got it all handled. So, Hathach came and repeated Mordecai's response to Esther. Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to tell Mordecai. So, we've got this go-between here going on. So, Esther says to Hathach, "Go back and tell Mordecai this information that he may or may not be aware of. He's probably not aware of this or he wouldn't have sent you to me in the first place. Here's the reality: All of the royal officials and all the people of the royal provinces know. Everybody knows this. One law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard and who has not been summoned. There's one law. Everybody knows this law. If the king hasn't called you to come in – I know, Mordecai, that you want me to go in and implore the king and tell him all the stuff that you want me to tell him, but there's a little bit of an issue here. If you go in to see the king and you have not been summoned to see the king, what happens is this: It's the death penalty. You get killed unless the king extends the gold scepter, allowing that person to live."
I want to confess to you all something: The Bible translation really does say "that person to live." Somehow, in my user error, I forgot the "to" there. So, if you're wondering what translation this is, this is a botched Chip Bennett version of the Christian Standard Bible. So, sorry about that.
"But, the reality is that the death penalty is what happens. In other words, if I just roll in on the king to talk to the king and he doesn't extend the scepter, then I die. And, just so you know, I haven't been summoned to appear before the king for the last 30 days. So, it's not like the king's in some mad rush to get ahold of me to bring me in."
"In other words, I may not be going in front of the king for a while. The reality is, dude, if I go in front of the king and he hasn't summoned me and he doesn't put out the scepter, I die. I'm smart enough to realize that he 'bye Felicia'd' Vashti, so he might do the same thing to me. You know?"
So, we've got this going on. Esther's response was reported back to Mordecai. So, Hathach goes back to Mordecai. Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, "Don't think that you're going to escape the fate of all the Jews because you're in the king's palace. You know? Listen, I raised you. I know you're a Jew. And this decree is to kill every Jew. When the king finds out that you're a Jew, even though he may have killed everybody else, don't think that somehow you're going to escape all of that. If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place. But, you and your father's family are going to be destroyed."
I love the practical sense here of Mordecai. Mordecai is a man of faith. He says, "I know that God's not going to turn His back on His people. I know that He's not going to do that because God doesn't turn His back on His kids. He doesn't do that."
But, he doesn't know how He's going to accomplish it. He's doing everything that he can within his power to accomplish it in the way that he thinks is best. He's going, "Let me go to Esther. Let me send her to the king. That sounds like a good thing."
He's doing everything within his ability to accomplish life. But, he's also trusting in God at the same time that even if you don't do it, God will still do what God does.
"Who knows, Esther? I don't know and you don't know. Who knows. Perhaps you've come to your royal position for such a time as this. We don't know. Could be. We don't know for sure. But, what I do know is this: I know God doesn't turn His back on His kids. So, I know God's going to do what God does. But, maybe you're the one that God will use. But, none of us know."
So, Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don't eat or drink for three days; night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I'm going to go to the king even if it's against the law."
Listen. Lean in and look up here: "If I perish, I perish."
I want you to just let this sink in for a second here and look at what we can sort of conclude a little bit from what's going on here. First of all, she didn't try to divine the will of the Lord. She didn't ask for a sign. She didn't ask for any kind of peace about it. Not at all. None of that's in there at all in any way, shape or form. She didn't say, "Okay, God. What I want You to do is I want You to tell me what the king's going to do. I want You to plan out the future for me. I want You to tell me what my choice should be. I want You to..."
None of that. She didn't say, "Oh, God, if You could just give me a sign so I would know that this is exactly what's going to happen so I would know."
She didn't take a piece of paper and try to throw it in the waste paper basket and do the, "Hey, God. If it goes in, I know that You want me to go. But, I don't know. It fell on the floor. Let me try it again."
You know? She didn't do any of that stuff. She didn't turn on TheJoyFM and say, "When I press the button, whatever song's on, that's going to be what I'm supposed to do today."
She didn't open up the Jewish Scripture and play Bible roulette. You know? "Oh, boom. There we go. There's the Scripture."
She didn't do any of that. She didn't ask for God to give her some sort of peace about anything. Nothing. And, on top of it, she had no promise of what the future held at all. She said, "If I perish, I perish."
But, what she did do is she consecrated herself to God, asked for intense prayer and she prayed herself, and then she made a decision. She stepped out. She trusted God. You know, for you and me, we've got to get to the place where we trust God. You know, you don't know when you get out of the boat that you're going to walk on the water. But you've got to get out of the boat if you're going to walk on the water.
You know, there was 11 dudes that were in a boat that never got to walk on the water. Did you think about that? I mean, the odds aren't very high. Most of us probably would've stayed in the boat. Here's the funny thing: You know what? It was more dangerous to be in the boat than it was to be out on the water with Jesus. We don't really think about it that way, do we? Like, "I'm going to stay here in the boat, man. This guy's out here in the storm. This is crazy stuff."
But, the reality is that at some point we've got to trust God. You know, decisions are tough for you and me to make and we've got to be able to do those things. So, that being said, here's what I want you to do. I want you to get out your sheet of paper and I want you to get out your journals if you have them. I want you to write these down. These are what I call "series take-homes." These are the things that not only do I want you to take home today, but I want you to think about these over the next week. I want you to think about these over the next month.
Because, this is important to me. I just would ask everybody to lean in here for a second. As your pastor, the thing that I'm more concerned about than anything is I want to make sure that I'm faithful to Scripture in what I teach and I want to make sure that I equip you to live the life God has called you to live. In Ephesians 4, it says God places people like me in the body to equip the saints. That's ultimately what I'm supposed to do. And I want you to understand something: The star of a church is not me. The star of a church is you. You're the stars. I'm just the coach. I'm the coach that helps you all to become better. That's my role. The stars in a church are you all.
You know? When you watch any professional sport, it's not the coach that's the star. It's the players that are the stars. We're all players. Every single one of us. That's why Christianity can't be a spectator sport. That's why I spend time on a subject like this because I know that God's will bogs people down and seizes people up and they don't know how to make decisions, they don't know how to choose. It just seizes them up. And I don't want you to live that way. I want you to be able to live your life in full and complete trust in God in freedom and walk around with such a joy and a peace and a kindness in your heart that people look at you and go, "Man, what are you taking? Because, I want some of that."
"It's because I go to a church where the pastor watches and listens to Van Halen."
Anyway. I'm just kidding. But, write these down. These are some series take-homes. Some things that you can really apply and think about not only today, but for the next few weeks for sure. First of all, living God's will in our lives. You say, "I want to live God's will. I want to do God's will. I want to do all that, Chip."
It isn't about everything turning out perfect. It means being committed to having Christ formed in us. That's a big difference. Because, see, we do. And listen, I'm not being negative. I'm not throwing stones. I'm just using this as an analogy. I think you can flip on Christian TV and you can find somebody that will be on there that will tell you everything's about life being great and no problems or struggles. God wants you to have big planes and big cars and never have any sickness or disease or any of that stuff. And there's an allure to that type of message because our souls are crafted in this world that says, "Everything is about me being personally fulfilled. Hey, if I could just use Jesus to get what I want, then that sounds great."
But, at the end of the day, then who's the boss? I am. I'm just using Jesus to get what I want. That's not the biblical way of looking at it. When we say we want to live God's will in our lives, what we're saying is, "I'm committed, come hell or high water. I'm committed whether it's in good or bad. I'm committed whether it's the bad thing or the good thing. I'm committed to serving God. I'm committed in all of it to let God work in my life because it's about Him and it's not about me."
If we're going to live God's will out in our lives, this is something that we've got to really think about. It's not about everything turning out perfect. So many Christians that I talk to, they go, "I want to get this right. I want to do God's will. Because, I know if I get the right thing here and do the right thing there, then the outcome's going to be the right thing."
That's not necessarily true. Sometimes it takes some bad experiences for you and me to get Christ formed into you and me. It takes bad experiences for us to learn about the character of God. Listen, if there wasn't sin, we wouldn't know God as Savior. If there wasn't sickness, we wouldn't know God as healer. All of those things work together, somehow, for good. We've got to trust Him and not the outcomes that we want for our lives. Right? This is really better preaching than you all are letting on, I think. I have to amen myself up here.
Anyway. Number two here: Living God's will in our lives doesn't imply that we'll always know exactly what to do. Sometimes you're not going to know. You do the best you can. You talk to the people that you can talk to. You pray about it. You spend some time to pray about it. Then you go and make a decision and you just have to do it and you've got to trust God. You've got to trust. Like Mordecai. Mordecai's going, "Hey, go talk to the king. Go do all this stuff. But, I know God's going to take care of everything. Go do this. Go do this. Go do this. I know God's going to take care of it."
Sometimes that's just the way it is and you go, "Man, that's sort of a crazy life."
It is the life of a Christian. We do all that we can. We pray all that we can do. We make all the decisions that we can. But, ultimately, we trust in the sovereign hand of God, that He is a good God and that He has our back. Scripture talks about that all the way through. I've got a couple of people that are clapping like, "Yeah. Alright."
They've been listening to Van Halen out there. Anyway, here we go. Number three: Living God's will in our lives honors the genuine freedom that He's given us to choose, while at the same time submitting ourselves to His sovereign will. It's a balance. God has given you and me talents, abilities, creativity. He wants us to use those things. Your Heavenly Father smiles when you decide that you like a Toyota better than a Honda, because that's what you like. He smiles when I pick a Honda over a Toyota. He's okay with that. We don't have to get jammed up on those things.
You know, when you're choosing for college and there's 40 colleges to choose from, pray about it, look at what's good, study the thing, but then make a decision and trust that God has got your back. You don't have to know everything that's going on. You just use your freedom and then also rest in the fact that He's sovereign; He's God. You and I can risk the future because He doesn't have to. He holds it in His hands.
Fourth: Living God's will in our lives is to ultimately trust in His redeeming power. No matter what goes on in our lives, God can redeem. This is the beautiful trajectory of Scripture. Even though we did all kinds of things that we lost, God can restore all of those things back. He's a redeeming God. You know, you may be here this morning and you may feel like you've made a lot of bad decisions and squandered a lot of things. Let me tell you something: Your Heavenly Father can redeem those things in your life. Your Heavenly Father will redeem those things even if it's into eternity. He will eventually redeem all things. We're told that if we love God and are called according to His purpose, He works all things together for good.
We've got to be able to feel free to risk some decisions knowing that God has our back. I want you to listen to this for a second: On the third day, Esther – they fasted for three days, remember? On the third day, Esther goes before the king and secures deliverance for her people. On the third day, Esther goes before the king and secures deliverance for her people.
Somebody else, on the third day, secured deliverance for His people. Do you believe that? Do you believe that God can deliver you? Do you believe that He's got your back? The beauty of the story, too, is that Haman built gallows to hang Mordecai. He was going to hang him there and he was taking pride in it. Well, the story concludes with Haman being hung in the gallows that he constructed for Mordecai. The enemy that will try to hang God's people, the enemy that will try to hang you, will be hung by God because God has the back of His children.
God has your back. He does. And even when you make a bad decision that you feel you've hung your self, watch God come along and unravel that and work good out of it because it's just the type of God that He is. Let's trust Him. Let's believe that we can walk out God's will in a far different way than when we started this journey. Let's not get seized up and jammed up about it. Let's walk out of here in freedom. We know what to do. We know what to trust. We know that we can make decisions. And we know, ultimately – and it's the greatest thing of all – that God has our back.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the wonderful people here at Grace. I pray, God, that if there's anybody here today that is living their life for You, but for some reason is feeling right now in their heart that maybe they've been living it for themselves but they want to live it now for You, I pray, Lord Jesus, that You would just kindly speak to their heart and let them know that that's what You specialize in; bringing people home.
And I pray, God, that they'd make that commitment. And if they do, Lord, I pray that they'd find a pastor or somebody with a name tag and let them know that they've made that decision. Lord, for the rest of the people that are in here that are on a journey with You that are followers of You, I pray, God, that You would liberate us and get us out, Lord, of the jamming nature, sometimes, of Your will, and let us realize, Lord, that it's a lot more free than maybe we have thought about.
So Lord, I pray that as we leave here today, You would watch over us and protect us, that You would lead and guide us. And Lord, I pray for every one of the moms that are here. I pray, God, that they would go today and just have a fantastic day of feeling loved and cared for and honored, Lord. I just thank You for all the things that You're doing here at Grace Community Church. I just ask that You would continue to lead, guide and direct us to do the things that are pleasing to You for Your glory.
We love You, we praise You and we honor You. In Jesus' name, and everybody said, "amen."
Give the Lord a big hand clap and tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. Happy Mother's Day.