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Title: Teach me to do Your will
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Teach me to do Your will
Today’s actually going to be pretty simple.
As I was seeking the Lord yesterday, just spending some sweet time worshiping Him, the thing that began to rise up in my heart was that often when we seek God, we direct our prayers and our thoughts towards Him regarding things pertaining to our natural lives. Now this is not a bad thing. It’s part of being human and God designed us this way.
We’re not supposed to be our own answer. We never were. Even before the fall, it was not inappropriate for Adam to or Eve to have gone to God to be the supplier of their needs because God never made us to be the source.
He made us to look to Him in relational trust as our source. And so our weakness is something that’s intrinsic to being human. Weakness is not part of the fall. In fact, what we interpret as weakness is our inability to do things apart from God, but we were never designed to be apart from Him in the first place! It’s the nature of our relationship. Without Him, we can’t do anything.
Even now under the new birth, as branches connected to our Vine – we’re not the supply. The only way we can bear any fruit at all is through our vital union with Him. We draw our life from Him and He produces through us.
So coming to Him and seeking Him regarding our natural lives and the needs associated with it is NOT inappropriate or wrong. Nevertheless, if it represents the primary reason we seek Him THAT IS inappropriate.
What the Father was impressing upon my heart was the ongoing need to seek Him not for His power alone, but for His character changing presence!
Even Jesus in His humanity could do nothing apart from God and said as much!
In His prayer which even many in the world know, He made request for natural provision. However, not so hidden in the subtext of the words of His prayer was a deeper request. The one I am talking about today.
“Give us this day our daily bread” was NOT just a request for natural provision, but also for hearing the Words of the Father. After all, as I mentioned last week, the lesson of the Mana in the wilderness was “man cannot truly live by bread alone, but by every word which PROCEEDS from the Father”. – Deuteronomy 8:3
This I think is something that is often missing in modern Christianity. An ongoing seeking of the Father. A getting on our face to seek His, in order for Christ to be formed in us!
Not ONLY for those things which meet a natural needs.
Not just for something that has to do with a desire that we have – like healing our bodies, or relationships or for advancement in work or whatever.
Now I don’t want you to get silly with this. These requests are not bad and we are encouraged to come to Him with everything. However, we don’t. The trend I think is to seek God’s face regarding things very rooted in this natural life. Jesus didn’t turn people away when they came to Him for healing. He didn’t say, no, that’s a carnal request. But at the same time, I think there’s a level of our walking in Christ that’s part of our devotion and our passion towards Him that requires that we seek His face for more than just needs.
So that is our focus in reading our verses this morning is seeing in the scriptures a modeling of this type of seeking.
So in my time of worship yesterday some of these scriptures just begin to rise up inside my heart. I just want to read some of them this morning and you just read them along with me.
We’ll make some comments on them as we go and then we will sum up by taking communion. That pretty much all I have this morning. It’s going to be a very, very simple day today.
Our first passage is found in Psalm 143 and I’m going to read on through to chapter 144 verse 2 so as if the chapters weren’t there.
Psa 143-144:2, “(1) O LORD, hear my prayer! Pay attention to my plea for help! Because of Your faithfulness and justice, answer me!
Listen to the basis for his request. It wasn’t because David had been living a good life, not because he had earned this response from God – no! His whole request is predicated on God’s faithfulness and justice. Modern Christianity makes all requests about ourselves, but that is prayer that is out of focus! It isn’t about us… it’s about God!
It’s something I deeply love about the prayers of Israel. They always would pray “not for our sake, Oh Lord, but for the sake of Your righteousness, for the sake of Your great name” please do this or do that. Now THAT’s a proper way to pray!
I’m not saying that you being on the radar to some degree isn’t necessary or you wouldn’t say like Jesus, “give me this day my daily bread”. Obviously we have to be part of the prayer, but the focus is Him!
Does that make sense?
(2) Do not sit in judgment on Your servant, for no one alive is innocent before You.
(3) Certainly my enemies chase me. They smash me into the ground. They force me to live in dark regions, like those who have been dead for ages. (4) My strength leaves me; I am absolutely shocked.
(5) I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishments. (6) I spread my hands out to you in prayer; my soul thirsts for you in a parched land.
Now, you know, we’re a little bit different than David. At the time of the recording of this psalm David was probably running from Saul.
So in order for this to apply to us we have to make some concessions and place it within a New Covenant context. For us our enemies are spiritual enemies. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. People are not our enemy.
Our enemy wants to suppress us and oppress us just like David’s did. Like David says here, the devil loves to try and smash us into the ground and force us to live in darkness. Of course, he can’t force us to do anything once we’re in Christ, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.
I want you to see that the heart of the prayer is a cry out to help and that is something we can certainly identify with I think.
We’ve got to have God’s help so that I can see the methods and the schemes of the enemy because he’s tricky. The devil doesn’t come right at you with a red flag and a neon sign because that would be obvious.
He comes at us through areas that you wouldn’t expect so that we’ll trip and fall. That’s nothing less than simple good tactics. He’s been at this for a while and he’s been largely successful with the human race and deferring our allegiance and our attention and our devotions away from God.
We don’t want to focus on satan, but we cannot afford to ignore that he is seeking to devour. We don’t want to treat him as though he’s not a genuine enemy because he is!
So certainly our enemies chase us, they press us to the ground. They try to force us to live in dark regions like those that have long been dead.
So David does not live in denial, because faith is not denying our circumstances or needs. Faith in fact requires that we acknowledge or weaknesses and needs in order to look to God for strength.
So after stating his problem clearly and presenting it before God, he then truns his attention and faith (relational trust) to God as his only answer!
(7) Answer me quickly, LORD! My strength is fading. Do not reject me, or I will join those descending into the grave. (8) May I hear about Your loyal love in the morning, for I trust in You.
Show me the way I should go, because I long for You.
(9) Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD! I run to You for protection.
(10) Teach me to do what pleases You, for You are my God. May your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
(11) O LORD, for the sake of Your reputation, revive me! Because of Your justice, rescue me from trouble! (12) In Your unfailing love silence my enemies, destroy all my foes for I am Your servant.”
“(1) Praise be to the Lord my Rock Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. (2) He is my loving God and my Fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in Whom I take refuge.”
Psalm 62:1-12, “(1) [ a psalm of David.] For God alone I patiently wait; he is the one who delivers me. (2) He alone is my protector and deliverer. He is my refuge; I will not be upended.
Now, David was a pretty decent warrior on his own. You know, Saul’s killed his thousands, but David is 10 thousands.
Not just 10,000, but 10 thousands plural! Clearly David is a mighty warrior! Yet David embraces his weakness before God and says, “For God alone, I wait patiently. HE IS THE ONE Who delivers me!”
This isn’t false humilty by the way, this was a man who was seeing life clearly!
We are not to look to ourselves. The world’s way is to look to yourself for inner strength, but David who has had REAL enemies to face, knew exactly where his strength and victory came from!
No wonder he was able to deal with 10,000’s because he did not attempt to do it in his own strength!
(3) How long will you threaten a man? All of you are murderers, as dangerous as a leaning wall or an unstable fence. (4) They spend all their time planning how to bring him down. They love to use deceit; they pronounce blessings with their mouths, but inwardly they utter curses. (Selah)
(5) Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For He is the One Who gives me hope. (6) He alone is my Protector and Deliverer. He is my refuge; I will not be shaken.
(7) God delivers me and exalts me; God is my strong Protector and my Shelter.
So David says, “God is the One Who delivers me!“
What’s he doing? He’s encouraging his soul towards devotion towards God.
Notice every single time David acknowledges, “I know what the enemy’s doing and I’m not denying that he’s there. I’m not even denying that he’s a worthy foe. All I’m saying is that Who is with me is MUCH GREATER than he who’s against me.“
The reason for the help he expected to recieve from the Lord was “because He is my God“.
Again, listen to the words here. God’s really not your God if you’re not loving him. He’s really not your God if you’re not following Him. The focus is still on God, but the only reason he’s my God is because I’ve devoted myself to Him.
He’s only connecting with me because there is a relationship there of knowing and trusting. That’s the basis of David’s prayer!
If this relationship wasn’t there, this prayer wouldn’t be here. The prayer would have no meaning.
(8) Trust in Him at all times, you people! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our shelter! (Selah)
(9) Men are nothing but a mere breath; human beings are unreliable. When they are weighed in the scales, all of them together are lighter than air.
(10) Do not trust in what you can gain by oppression! Do not put false confidence in what you can gain by robbery!
If wealth increases, do not become attached to it!
(11) God has declared one principle; two principles I have heard: God is strong, (12) and you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do.”
Remember what Jesus said when He gave the last revelation to His church in the book of Revelation?
These churches were born-again people, right? Yet, quite contrary to the distorted gospel of today, Jesus didn’t say,“I know your heart“. He said, “I know what you have done“!
Now 2000 years later, He’s still dealing with the same issues, in the church!
For us though, and this is the intended takeaway for today, is that He’s not gonna have to come to me. He isn’t going to have to hunt us down. We’re going to be the ones seeking Him regarding these things!
An example of this is offered in Proverbs 7 and 8 when it personifies wisdom as a spirit. It says that the Spirit of Wisdom cries out in the crossroads to the simple of heart, which is to say the simple minded or naive. But later the passage says, “blessed are those who are waiting daily at my door.”
When the spirit of wisdom doesn’t have to go looking for you.
When he wakes up in the morning to get his coffee and walks out on the front porch, and finds you waiting there for him.
That needs to be us!
The Holy Spirit shouldn’t have to come down and say, “Mark, you know what? I need to talk to you about this issue in your life“. I should have been knocking down His door. I should be the one saying, “Father, I need to talk to you about this issue in my life”. I need to commune with you and have Your strength infused into me, that I might be changed and renewed into the likeness of Christ!
So be encouraged in this becuase we have it on the authority of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Himself that “those who seek find“!
So let’s look at an example of this and a warning on HOW to hear when He speaks.
Psalm 139:23-24, “(23) Examine me, O God, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns! (24) See if there is any idolatrous way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way!”
You don’t have to get God interested in a prayer like this – He already there and His answer is the power of the New Covenant and the power of the New Covenant is Jesus’s blood!
Luke 22:20, “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”
Romans 1:16-17, “(16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (17) For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”
The scriptures tell us that the overcoming life of those in Christ is directly linked to their relational trust in the person of the blood – Jesus Himself.
We are told that our end game story reads like this…
They overcame satan by….
- Power of His blood
- By our confession of and submission to His Lordship
- By living both in denying ourselves (if any man would come after Me he must FIRST….)
There is actual power… real, redemptive and overcoming power in the blood of Jesus! But even in association with such a conduit from heaven, there needs to be follow through on our part.
We all love and openly embrace the truth of the New Birth being, at its heart a message of relationship… at least until it requires it to actually BE a relationship. You see relationships are bi-directional. God invests in us, but we also make investments into this relationship and James bores down on one major aspect of that responsibility of investment we must make.
James 1:19-25,“(19) Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. (20) For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. (21) So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. (23) For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. (24) For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. (25) But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out – he will be blessed in what he does.”
As we hear and enter into the
We are to be sure to live out the message and don’t merely just listen to it. If that is all we do we deceive ourselves!
James says that if one gazes at himself in God’s Word and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he is, then there was not use in coming in the first place.
Now, that can have two different meanings and I think both are appropriate.
You know, when I think about looking in the mirror in the morning, I observe many things about me which need help. They need work.
James says if you look at yourself in the morning and you see all the stuff that needs improvement, and you walk away and do nothing about it and just forget what you look like, then you might as well have not looked in the mirror!
In like manner, if you look in the Word of God and it reflects back how we look in comparison to Christ and you walk away unchanged, then you might as well have not come! And that’s true, but its a truth that can turn your head towards yourself instead of Him and thereby encourage condemnation which is NOT in Christ. Nevertheless, such a view DOES have its place if you are mature enough to not allow your heart to embrace condemnation.
So that’s one truth.
I think a greater truth perhaps is this –
When we look in the Word of God we see who we are In Christ and if we walk away forgetting who we are in Christ, we will live contrary to that reality.
It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 3 where it talks about looking into the perfect law of liberty. That a result of this I’m changed into the glory that it reveals by glory to glory, even as by the work of the Spirit of God!
In other words, when I look in the scriptures, I don’t just see who I’m NOT, I ALSO see who I AM. Because in Christ, I’ve been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
If however, this revelation does not effect a change in my walk, then I have forgotten what I saw in that mirror! If I walk away and I forget that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, I’m going to live like I’m not in Him!
When we look in the perfect law of liberty, we see reflected back at us the glory of God. And I’m being transformed into that glory from glory to glory, even as by the working of the Spirit of God. Not by me trying harder, but by Him doing His work in and through me BY FAITH – which brings us full circle back to the primary reason we are to be seeking His face!
Now we are going to take communion where we see ourselves crucufied with Christ AS WELL AS risen with Him. The word communion is from the Greek word Koinonia which means among other things “a shared experience“. Christ when on the earth was crucified outside of Jerusalem and died alone. When WE die, we die WITH HIM!
On the cross of suffering is often where we will experience some of the greatest times of intimacy with our dear Lord for He will never allow you to taste of dead alone! But once we die with Him, all that remains is to rise with Him into new life!