Lord Willing

Published on Jun 29th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Lord Willing

Lord Willing

Maybe it is the season of life that I am in. It could be that I just don’t listen as well as I used to. People may understand the sovereignty of God in a fuller manner and so they accept his control over all things way better than they did when they were young. Whatever the reason it seems to me that I just don’t hear people talking about being in the will of God as much as they used to. When I started out as a youth pastor the topic of knowing the will of God seemed to creep into every discussion we had. Young people wanted to know how they could find the will of God for their lives. Much of that discussion was based on faulty ideas about the will of God but the heart attitude of wanting to do what God wanted them to do was a good attitude. Today there seems to be a subtle shift in heart attitudes. We want to go ahead and make the decisions that we want to make and then we will ask God to go ahead and bless those decisions. It is a subtle shift that may mark a huge change in heart attitudes. One heart recognizes that God is the one setting the agenda and the other heart places us in the driver’s seat.

Maybe I don’t hear these discussions as much anymore because most of the people I hang out with now are pretty settled into life. The major decisions of life are behind them. Their marital status is settled, they have made most of the major purchases in life, they are done raising children, they are not deciding what to do about a career and are just trying to hang on until retirement…ahh, there it is. The next life-changing event where the will of the Lord may take center stage. The next event in life where we have options about what our lives are going to look like. Where we will live, what the purpose of our life will look like, how we will spend our money, and eating dinner at 4:00 p.m. at Cracker Barrel. As we contemplate these decisions we find that we are making these decisions differently than when we were kids. As teens we thought about how we were going to impact our world, how would we provide for a family, and how our decisions would affect the rest of our lives. Now we are making decisions based on how we have lived our lives, what we desire to enjoy, what we have earned and what we now deserve. We certainly desire to make decisions that bring glory to God but are we willing to be living sacrifices with these decisions and ask, “What does the Lord will?” If you grew up as a believer you may have taken those early teen years and asked if God wanted you to be a missionary. Does God want me to spend my life serving him in Africa? How come we aren’t asking those same questions now that we are ready for the next chapter of our lives? Are we too busy planning our Sabbath rest in this life rather than waiting for the rest that comes in the next? Why are those questions only for the young and foolish who don’t have enough sense to be scared of the ramifications of those kinds of decisions. Why wouldn’t God want to use those who have gained wisdom and knowledge through living life and now have much to offer?

It doesn’t matter what stage you are in life. Always in our life we are to be submitting our lives to the one who gave us life and breath. Jesus says in Luke that if we want to be his followers then we must deny ourselves and “take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). It is no mistake that Jesus also speaks about forfeiting the world in those verses. We cannot, at any time of our lives, live for ourselves. James says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:13-17). James is not saying that we should not plan. He is saying that when making those plans we must recognize that our lives here on earth are only for a moment. Make plans with eternity in mind and recognize that none of those plans will come to fruition without the will of the Lord. You are not powerful enough to determine the course of your life. There is great comfort in that truth. I may make plans to stay in a town for a year but if God does not want me there then he will change those plans.

Today’s discussion is not about how you can find God’s will (walk with him and do what he places on your heart). Today was about reminding us that we have been bought with a price and our lives are not our own. Our lack of discussion about the will of God and our desire for him to simply bless the decisions we make may be an indication that we have replaced him as the ruler of our lives with our own desires. “If the Lord wills” should not simply be tacked on the end of each our decisions but should be the driving force of what we discuss and decide.

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