Is God's will my will?
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification".
1 Thessalonians 4:3.
Doing God's will is the greatest achievement of the
Christian believer. Unfortunately, most of us develop our Christianity along the
line of our temperament, and not along the line of God. Unfortunately, there are
too many real-life stories throughout scripture of misguided characters to
ignore God's concern for our direction.
The message today is not based on the question, "what does
God want me to do", but, "is God's will my will?". The difference
between these two questions is alignment. Most of us cannot really tell exactly
what God's will is in our lives. In fact most people will spend a life-time
searching for what they feel God wants them to do in life. The ultimate result
of trying to answer this question is unfulfilled dreams, insecurity, mistrust in
God because of unfulfilled promises, and discontentment. The reason for this is
because the very question in essence is based on developing our own line of
Christianity that is self-serving. We are aligning God to our lives.
Our real concern should be to know if our will is in
alignment with God's. We must align to God. We must not expect God to
align to us - He has already done this through the life and death of His Son
Jesus Christ. And what is the will of God? Our sanctification. Being identified
and made accountable for Him. God's will must become our will.
To go on even further, it is not a question of whether God is
willing to sanctify me, but rather, is it my will? How much of my life is God
touching? Am I willing to let God touch the most innermost parts of my flesh to
let Christ live in me? Am I willing to let God do in me all that was made
possible at Calvary? It is God's will that we become SSS (Saved and Sanctified
Saints). In order to get to this level, however, we must first allow God to do
this. Don't just pray to be made holy, make yourself available to be made
holy. "Nothing in my hands I bring" - you can't negotiate yourself into
The result of sanctification is "knowing how to possess our
vessels" 1Thessalonians 4:4. i.e. The rightful use of our bodies requires
following the instructions manual - God's Word. Use our being according to its
designed purpose - to glorify God. Once we submit ourselves to Christ, we must
know that our whole beings belong to God - that is our mind, our soul, our
spirit and our body. In actual fact, our whole being is to become finely tuned
toward pleasing God in all areas of life. "...That as you have received of us
how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more".
1 Thessalonians 4:1.
In Hosea, there is a sad story outlining a vine that 'brings
forth fruit unto itself' Hosea 10. Under King Jeroboam II, the people of
Israel experienced the height of economic and political success. Israel as a
nation prospered, gaining military and economic strength. But the more
prosperous the people became, the more they spent on their idols. They
eventually became spiritually bankrupt. The leaders permitted them to practice
idolatry and commit spiritual harlotry against the Lord. They refused to
recognise that God had provided them with the wealth that they possessed. They
attributed their prosperity to idols (Hosea 2:5). The people had become covetous
and greedy, oppressing the poor. The people had developed their own religion
based on their temperament and eventually turned their will against God. They
had become an 'emptying vine' Hosea 10:1, 'bringing forth fruit unto
itself'. Eventually, due to their backsliding, Israel fell to Assyria in 732
AN EMPTYING VINE
What are the characteristics of an emptying vine?
- Idol worship;
- Rejection of authority;
- Divided heart;
- Mistrust and unbelief;
- No fear or reverence of God;
- Making false promises;
The peoples' problem was they lacked knowledge of God's
will and led themselves into destruction (Hosea 4:6).
The King James renders this verse, 'Israel is an empty vine'.
That is not a correct rendering because the Hebrew indicates a vine still
bearing fruit but empty of any real value. Jesus said that He was the 'true
vine' in John 15. Our Lord was using no new figure of speech; it was as old as
the nation itself. The figure emerges in Psalm 80:8. Asaph, the Music Director
wrote this as a song for the temple. He likened the nation to a vine, the song
stuck and the figure emerged. From that time on the vine was the national
symbol. In the days of our Lord the great Outer Gate of the Temple had
emblazoned upon it the figure of the vine. Is it any wonder when Jesus spoke to
people He said; I am the true vine - not the emptying degenerate vine of Israel.
The problem with the people was that their heart was divided.
Their will was not God's will.
We want God but we want to live according to our desires. No
wonder James said; "A double minded person is unstable in all his
ways." I think of the words of the psalmist in contrast to the divided
heart of the people. The psalmist prayed - 'Unite my heart to fear Thy name',
Psalm 86:11. The word unite means to be one or become one - to join, to unite.
It is the divided heart that causes us trouble. Some of us have a battle going
on in our minds that compete for our desires - we begin by wanting God and
something else. God will never agree to those terms. It is at that point we
mislay God - when He is mislaid the vine remains but the fruit changes. Instead
of grapes, sour grapes; instead of justice, bitterness; instead of victory,
failure. All of this is because the heart is divided.
JESUS IS THE TRUE VINE.
'I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in Me
and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do
nothing' John 15:6.
Characteristics of the True Vine.
- Selflessness. 'Greater love has no man than this, that a
man lay down his life for his friends' John 15:13.
- Devotion to God. 'Herein is My Father glorified' John 15:8.
- Obedience. 'If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in
My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love'.
- Unified heart. 'I have kept My Father's commandments'.
- Free from guilt. 'Now you are clean through the Word which
I have spoken to you'. John 15:3.
- Complete faith. 'Abide in Me and I in you' John 15:4.
- Fear of God. 'My Father is the Husbandman'. John 15:1.
- Enduring, faithful promises. 'I have chosen you and
ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit
shall remain'. John 15:15.
- Assurance. 'You shall ask what you will, and it shall be
done unto you'. John 15:7.
WHAT IS GOD'S WILL?
God's will is for us to respond to His call of salvation.
God's will cannot be questioned because it is final. God's will is desire
backed up by action.
God's will for us is to DO HIS WILL, to be sanctified and
cleansed from our sins through His Son Jesus Christ. Our destiny is to become
able to bear lasting fruit through loving one another as Jesus loved us. It must
be our aim to 'abide' or remain alive in Christ, and He in us. Accept Him
unconditionally into your life, then let Him have His way with you. Work out the
salvation He has worked in by knowing and keeping His Word.
God's will for us to be able to freely love one another as
He was loved by His Father. He wants us to know Him and establish a relationship
similar to the branches on a vine, to be dependent on Him for life. "Come let
us return to the Lord...Let us press on to know Him and He will respond to us as
surely as the coming dawn or the rain of early spring". Hosea 6:3.