Saturday, February 04, 2006

Divine Destiny...

God has a divine plan, a destiny, a blueprint for life, laid out for every believer. Some find that plan, spend their entire lives in divine fulfillment, finding joy, challenges and contentment in fulfilling the plan of God for their lives. Others spend a lifetime trying to find their place. Some are content to just do what others expect of them, never discovering the higher plan God had for them. Some think they have found God’s plan, and arrogantly climb higher and higher, not realizing it was a plan of their own making. Finding the perfect plan of God for our lives can be a fruitful or a frustrating experience.
When we were children, adults would often ask us, “ What do you want to be when you grow up?” In our childish ignorance, we would answer, “a teacher” or “a circus clown” or “an astronaut.” In our immature minds, one seemed as easy to attain as another. Yet as we grew older, we learned that there was much work to accomplished to become what some of us dreamed of becoming. Statistics have shown us that a mere 5% or less ever fulfill their childhood dream. Most live humdrum day to day jobs that they despise, thinking things will never change and they are doomed to a life of ‘slavery.’ Unhappily, they go through life unfulfilled.
God’s destiny for every believer is so much bigger than we can imagine. It is His plan that you serve Him and find fulfillment and accomplishment in your Christian walk and ministry. At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life, as he sat in jail, writing to young Timothy, he confidently told him, “The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. (2 Tim 4:6-8) He had walked in the divine destiny God had for his life and he had no regrets. In fact he was looking forward to seeing the Lord and receiving his reward.
But the thing most people struggle with in finding their destiny is, ‘what does God want me to do?’ They don’t seem to know where to begin, so they just keep going through the motions, staying in the rut that they call life. God is very clear to us in His Word. Ephesians 5 gives us clear directions on how to find His will.
1. Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love. (Eph 5:1) Too often we follow everyone else’s example, but not God’s. We tend to be anything but loving. We don’t act like His children. We do what we want and don’t even consider asking Him what He wants us to do. We fail to read His instruction manual, the Bible. As a culture, and even as ‘Christians’ we are becoming less like God and more like the enemy every day. Many so-called ‘Christians’ live lives of sexual immorality and promiscuity, and greed, yet God’s word is clear here… in Ephesians 5:3 “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people.” His will is His Word. We tend to apply it to our neighbor and not to ourselves. It’s always easier to see the faults in others that in our own lives.
2. So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. (Eph 5: 15-17) In other words, don’t play the fool, but intentionally take advantage of the opportunities God gives you to serve Him. Walk in daily obedience. Recognize that He is the one in charge of your life, and give Him permission to interrupt you and redirect you. Too many believers walk careless lives, making excuses for their sinful behavior, repeating the same mistakes over and over again. They wonder why God never seems to want to use them and they get poor results. They wonder why their ministry never prospers. They wonder why they always end up in poverty and depression. When we are careless, we tend to walk sinful, selfish lives. When we live like that, we are friends of the world and it’s ways. His Word teaches us that a friend of the world is an enemy of God. God won’t open doors of opportunity for you when you keep going the wrong way. We become enemies of God fighting against what He wants. Some are waiting for a financial windfall before they begin their ministries. God wants you to begin by trusting Him in faith. If you are trusting in uncertain riches, then you are not trusting God. ( 1 Tim 6:17)
3. Let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (Eph 5:18) When we gave our hearts to the Lord, the Holy Spirit was the One who drew us to Christ. He came to live inside the believer. He is continually present in all who have made Christ the Lord of their lives. But the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will never force you to do what you do not want to do. Love is a choice, and when you love God, with all your heart, you will want to choose willingly to do what the Holy Spirit directs you to do. When He speaks, and convicts us of things in our lives that don’t belong, we must choose—–to listen and obey, or turn a deaf ear and do what we want. If we choose the latter, we are walking in disobedience, turning towards sin. It is a reflection of our lack of love. When we make Him Lord, that means we are exclusively His, but it is a relationship of choice. Love trusts. When God loves us, He trusts us. He risks our rejection and disobedience. If we truly love Him, we will not want to hurt Him, but willingly submit to Him, to His love, to His direction, to His correction. He knows what we need. He knows what is best for us. He knows our future. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We must be willing to let Him take the lead. Jesus told his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. (Matt 16:24-25) His divine destiny for your life is in your choosing to put aside your own wants and wishes, your own desires for money, pleasure, immorality and selfishness. Every day as He helps you grow spiritually, He will test you to see if you are willing to walk the road of Christian maturity. When God tells you to go and do this or that… will you? Your obedience will open new doors, to new opportunities, and lead you into His will. Your disobedience will slam those same doors shut, leaving you in frustration.
When the Holy Spirit is truly in control, we sometimes find ourselves testing God, as we discover His will for our lives. Sometimes as we do this, God will say, “Yes….go ahead.” Other times, God will say “No… not now.” How we respond to the ‘No’ is a key to our maturity. Those who buck against divine authority will not be happy. When we say ‘yes’ contrary to God’s ‘no’, we become disobedient children. We can expect discipline. I have met many unhappy ‘Christians’ who have told God “no.” They continually look back at the past, dwelling on the pain and hurt, living in the land of regrets. They tend to blame everyone else for the misery they feel inside. They do not like to take the blame. They have to be right! Sometimes in their anger, they lash out at everyone around them. Peter was that kind of person. In a quiet moment with the Lord, Jesus told them He was going to suffer and die. But Peter had His own ideas. "Impossible, Master! That can never be!" But Jesus didn't swerve. "Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works." Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. (Matt 16:22-24 Message)
When we say ‘No’ to God, He goes to work on us too. He wants to teach us who is in charge. We need to let Him take the lead.
Discovering that God has a destiny for each of us is part of the task of every believer. He wants us to dig deeply into His Word, discovering the nuggets of treasure laying quietly waiting there for us. His plans for you are greater than you could every imagine. Your destiny is in the hand of the King. The blueprints for your future were laid out in the mind of God before you were created. Can you say like Job, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Gold is a valuable commodity by which all other standards are measured. He wants to make you as valuable a gold. Tested gold has come through the fire, had the impurities removed and is ready for practical use. That’s were we need to be with God.
If we are to be a people of God, following His divinely appointed destiny, then we need to yield to the fire, where He will test us and purify us, and then we must yield to the hammer as He molds us into vessels of honor for His glory. If we are seeking the dramatic and sensational in finding his will, wanting signs and wonders, we need to be reminded that His Word already expresses his will to us in so many ways. Until we obey what He has already told us to do, how can we expect any further orders from above? Sometimes we wait until we feel ‘led of the Lord’ before we decide to do something, when often it is just an excuse to keep us from doing what we already know God wants us to do.
It takes great faith and trust to discover our destiny and walk in complete obedience. In our feelings of total inadequacy, if we yield our will to His, He can then take what we have given Him, yielded vessels, fill us full, anointed to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, and use us as channel of divine blessing. He wants to flow His supernatural power through you. Are you surrendered to His will, His destiny?
The secular world around you will tell you to seek guidance from within. The Bible tells me “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right.” (Rom 7:18) I need God. I need to seek guidance from Him. He holds my destiny in His hands.
J. Johnson

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