Experiencing God, Week 8
Last week, focused on the turning points of life. These turning points can become a crisis in our life. Crisis meaning decision or judgment. The main point of these crises are will we follow, or not? This week focuses on the adjustments we must make in life.
The book makes this comment “You cannot stay where you are and go with God”.
Adjustments Are Necessary
Adjustments Are Necessary
If “You cannot stay where you are and go with God”, then we must make adjustments in our lives.
But how often have we said “But I can’t do that”? when God asks us to do something? I can’t teach, I can’t lead music, I can’t lead worship, I can’t work with kids, I can’t...
Interestingly, God doesn’t take “I can’t” as a valid response.
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.
Many of us want God to speak to us and give us direction, but then we want to give God excuses when He does…just like Moses. But notice what He tells Moses “I will teach you both what to do”.
God will never ask us to do something we cannot do, or He cannot prepare us for.
We have to adjust our attitude. The book states “If you refuse to make the adjustment, you will miss what God has in store for your life”.
How many blessings have we missed because we are stubborn?
What is the other issues with disobeying God?
3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
Often we see the Israelites described as “stiff-necked people”…and I have to wonder what God uses to describe us today?
Adjustments to God
When God speaks, it is an invitation to adjust our lives to align to His will. Our FAITH is then demonstrated by our actions. God accomplishes His will through us, but it is up to us to be faithful to follow through.
God gives us many examples through scripture:
Noah - left comfortable life to build ark.
Moses - left desert to lead Israelites.
David - left sheep to become king.
Ruth - left home to support mother-in-law.
Jonah - left home to preach to Ninevites.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John - left fishing business to follow Jesus.
Mary - left tradition to be mother of Jesus.
Saul (Paul) - left religion to preach the Gospel.
These people had to make HUGE adjustments in their “normal” life to follow God.
Does God ask us to make major adjustments in our lives today? IF we are to be a disciple - a follower of Christ - we have no choice.
We must make adjustments in our lives to follow Him.
However, the book points out “we tend to want to skip making adjustments and go directly from believing God to obedience”.
Look at the example of the rich young ruler:
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
What did the rich ruler have to give up to follow God?
He desired eternal life, but didn’t want to make the necessary adjustments.
Kinds of Adjustments
Kinds of Adjustments
What kind of adjustments might we be asked to make?
Circumstances, relationships, way of thinking, commitments, actions, beliefs.
Major adjustments will be required if we act on our faith. Remember the crisis of life? The hardest part is adjusting our lives to God and taking the action that demonstrates our faith. Remember, God can accomplish (through us) more than we could ever DREAM of accomplishing.
God requires complete, absolute surrender.
How did the examples in the book make adjustments, and what was their attitudes toward God’s work exhibit?
Livingston - high honor to do missionary work in Africa.
Elliot - Gave up his life for heavenly reward ministering to South American Indians.
Pierce - Was ready to be broken to be more like the Father.
Smith - Willing to be content with any circumstance.
Studd - No sacrifice too great for me to give for Him.
How were these examples showing obedience to God over self? The adjustments are well worth the reward of experiencing God.
Obedience is Costly
Obedience is Costly
Look at the side comment on page 164: “You cannot know and do God’s will without paying the price of adjustment and obedience”.
Obedience costs us something. Don’t ever ask God to do something IF you are not willing to do it, because He just might do what you ask.
The Cost: Enduring Opposition
Many people may not understand the sacrifice or adjustment you are willing to make to follow and be obedient to God.
Paul suffered greatly for His obedience. Lost his status, changed his friend groups, persecuted, beaten, life threatened, arrested, imprisoned, all to follow God’s will for his life. What was his response?
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Not only is doing God’s will going to cost US, but it may be costly to those around us.
What happened to the Israelites when Moses was faithful to the will of God? Exodus 5:1-21 Workload increased.
What happened to Mary when Jesus was faithful to the will of God? John 19:17-37 Suffered watching Jesus crucified.
What happen to Jason when Paul was faithful to the will of God? Acts 17:1-9 Arrested, accused of treason, robbed.
Is obedience saying “I really thing God is calling me to do … BUT… I can’t put my family, friends, etc through...” What has the most impact in our life, following God, or trying to protect our family, friends, etc.?
There will be times where following God will have adverse affects on those close to us. It will cause low times, it will cause times of questioning, it will cause times where bad things will happen. But, what is the gain of being obedient?
Let Christ Communicate With His People
If we follow God’s will, be prepared to accept the outcome. But, also seek advice and counsel of other Godly people in your life. There is nothing like having others pray for God’s will and direction. If there are concerns or questions, listen. Christ communicates through His people also.
Example given by Blackaby was a fundraiser for a new building. Members asked to pray and make contribution to the building fund. One contributor on a fixed income made a sizeable contribution which caused concern. They might have impacted her ability to care for her self. Her daughter responded with “Don’t deny my mother the right to give. She has always trusted her Lord. She wants to do that now too”. Now, the question might have come up, if members are giving sizeable contributions to a special project, will it impact their faithfulness to give regular tithes and offerings? Yes. It could. BUT…we should never prohibit others from following God’s direction in their giving. It is giving honor to God, and allows them the opportunity to sacrifice for Him. And, it might just be the crisis of belief needed to make life-changing experiences in their walk with God.
Total Dependence on God
Total Dependence on God
We have to get to a place in our walk with God that we are totally dependent on Him.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
God will provide, if we depend on Him. He is the vine, we are the branches. The point is, we (as the branch) cannot receive our nourishment from any other source but from God (the vine).
Without God working in our lives, we will never produce fruit for the Kingdom.
How can we be obedient as a Christian and as a church? What is it God is wanting us to produce? Is it a new ministry, a new outreach, a new direction? Now, the next question is…will everyone be willing to follow? Will there be questions? Will there be concerns? Will there be faith?
I love the comment made in the book “It never works, He works!”
The Holy Spirit Helps You Accomplish the Fathers Will
We have talked about the purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the believers life. He is in tune with God, and His will for our lives. He will help show us the Father’s will.
Jesus is the ultimate example of following the will of God. We must adjust our lives to God and consistently live out that relationship with absolute dependence on Him. He will never fail us, and His purpose and will will never fail.
Adjustments in Prayer
God often waits for us to pray and ask, until He acts.
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
We are often quick to pray, but we often lack patience to wait for His response. This verse tells us that what WE name in OUR request and claim it, it is OURS. BUT according to His will.
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
When God gives us a directive, we face a crisis of belief hat MAY require major adjustments in our life.
What is it God requires of us?
When does He expect it?
How do we grow if we are not obedient to His will?