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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Will of God & Our Desires, Passions, and Dreams in Life

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the will of God. Half of the time I hear people mention it, and the other half of the time I do not hear them mention it at all. I believe it is pivotal, in all things, to seek out God’s will for one’s own life, to know whether He is leading you into whatever career or ministry opportunity in your life that you are seeking out. I know some people say that a person cannot know God’s will for their life, but I believe that is an excuse to do as you please. Knowing God’s will isn’t something that should be so difficult we can never understand it. The Bible tells us we can know His will Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2 ESV) I think sometimes though, we have it in our minds that the will of God is a huge layout of our life with its entire path and directions spread out before us and that we should automatically know everything that will happen beforehand, otherwise we cannot follow God’s will. I think that is a misconception. I have noticed in my life that God only allows me to know part of His will for my life, for the time being. I have come to realize I may not be able to know what will happen 5 years down the road, until I complete the will of God for me in this particular season of life. God sometimes gives us a task to be done, whether that be school or a ministry opportunity, and He expects us to complete that before we ever know what His will is for us at a later time. It is okay to not have your whole life planned out. It is only important that we be in His will at this very moment in time and continuously seek out His will for us when other doors open. There is a problem with knowing the will of God that I have noticed lately, and that is the idea of passions and dreams and desires. This is just a selection of what the Bible says about our personal dreams, passions, and desires in life:
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (Eph 4:22)
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1Jn 2:17)
Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness.
Notice how God uses the word “deceitful” in front of desires. Notice how chasing dreams are pointless? Notice how some desires are apparently not God-ordained in 1 John? The Bible clearly establishes the fact that our dreams and desires for life are not necessarily His dreams for our life. We need to be sure we are not deceived into believing they are just because they appear to be good desires. We always need to be looking to God to see if our desires match up with His desires. From my personal experience, I have noticed my desires NEVER match up with God’s desires. My desires were good, not bad, but they weren’t God’s best desires for my life. Once I realized His desire for my life and started walking in it, I realized I enjoyed His dream for my life a whole lot better than my old dreams. Now, I mentioned that good desires may not necessarily be in accordance with God’s will, and I will give a couple of examples of how this played out in my life and Nate Saint’s life. For a long time, about eight years now, I have had a great desire to work at an orphanage in Mexico. I very much long to go there and minister to the children there. There is nothing wrong with that desire. My motives are in check and are not for any wrong reasons, but this desire is not something God has told me to go out and do at this point in life. I feel very strongly that this desire is not God’s will for me right now. He has given me a different ministry opportunity. Some people would ask, “Then why would God give you a good desire that He doesn’t want fulfilled?” Well, I think there are plenty of reasons. Perhaps God is preparing me right now through other ministries to fulfill this desire I have in the future, later on when He feels I am ready. Or perhaps I will end up marrying someone who has that desire, so God has placed it in my heart as well, ready to be used when the time comes. Or maybe it is there because I am to adopt children from Mexico. Or maybe God wants me to minister to orphans in the area. There are many reasons for this, but I do not worry or fret about why this desire to help orphans in Mexico cannot be fulfilled. For now, that desire is quenched, and I try to minister to orphans in other tangible ways. Nate Saint had a great passion for flying before he became a missionary. He loved to fly, and because of this he decided to become a pilot. Even though he had this great desire for flying, he came to the realization that God was calling him to become a missionary, not a pilot. He couldn’t understand why his love for flying was not part of God’s will for his life. Yet instead of going off and doing his own thing, he surrendered his will do God’s will, his desires for God’s desires and decided to become a missionary. Apparently this was a hard thing for Nate, because he had to give up flying. Eventually though, God showed Nate that not only would he be a missionary, but his passion for flying would also be part of being a missionary. They needed someone to hand stuff to the natives by use of a plane, initially. In the end, God allowed Nate’s desires to coincide with His desires, although in a completely different way.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psa 37:4 ESV)
Even Paul did not do as he pleased in life, but only what God pleased as it says numerous times:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God . . . (2Co 1:1 ESV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, (1Ti 1:1 ESV)
Paul even knew God’s will for his own life and obeyed it. I believe that God will allow us, sometimes, to have the desires of our heart that are honorable once we lay down those desires to pick up what God wants us to do instead. Sometimes though He doesn’t, but we still need to follow Him, knowing that our life is really His since he bought us.
for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1Co 6:20 ESV)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Something to think on

I was reading Colossians the other day in my Bible readings and came upon this:
When Christ who is your life . . . .
Where's the rest of the verse? The part above was too convicting that I could only focus on the first part. Think of that. Paul is assuming that Christ embodies our lives. He is to consume our lives, be what we live for, what we breathe for, what we work for, everything we do for. Let that sink in.
Is Christ your life?