What Will It Be
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Sep 1, 2000, 19:17
A man is sitting in the waiting room of his eye doctor. His hair is frazzled, his eyes are wild, and his legs are trembling. He looks as if he has been through a terrible experience. When his name is called, he sits in the examining room and tells his doctor, "Doc, I'd like to see things a little LESS clearly!"
Let's be honest for a moment. This world we live in is not the easiest place to survive in. Life is tough and it isn't fiar and that's the truth. And in the midst of this tough existenceyou listen to preacher types like me tell you that the call of Christ is to touch and change the world.
"You are kidding!" you yell back. "Theo world doesn't want to change."
And then I respond, "I didn't say the world wanted to change, I said that you are called to change it. If it wanted to change then it would be easy!"
Remember we are still being honest. The question that I want you to deal with for a few moments is, Are you willing to do what you need to do to be effective in impacting the world for Christ? Can it be said more easily? I'll try, in very simple terms the question is What will you be?
Out backdrop is Philippians 4:8-9. (Shown below from the NIV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I'm going to use the passage plus a few others to give you an entrance ramp thoutht, a rest area principle, and three points. Don't panic or stop reading. Ill keep it moving along...I promise.
Let's look at the entrance ramp. Notic how Paul encourages believers to model Christ. In verse 9a we read "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice." Don't think that Paul is being arrogant or prideful here, he is just saying, "I am trying my best to give you the truth that I have experienced." Paul is modeling, the very best he can, the theings that he has been teaching.
Think about the life of the apostle Paul. He is a teacher, writer, missionary, and church starter. Now that's impressive, but remember where he has come from. He was a murderer, slanderer, and an enemy of the early church. Paul is a living, breathing model of forgiveness in the first century. It would have been easy for him to be embarrassed, but he gives us some encouragement. You and I, like Paul, are aware of our weaknesses, faults, struggles, and insecurities. Yet, God knows them as well and its o.k. Allow Him to take them and use you anyway.
This brings us to the place where I need to share with you a principle. It is a rest area in the middle of the study, but put on your tingking caps with me for a second. I call this principle th "what will be" principle. It comes from the idea that each one of us has a great amount of control over what we will be spiritually. Heare is the principle:
Your mind controls your actions and emotions
Your will controls you mind
You control your will
In other words, you have a choice spiritually!
Romans 12:2 teaches not to be conformed, but be transformed by the "renewing of you mind." You can Choose to be different than you are. What is frightening about this is that once we know we can choose to be different, then we are responsible for what we are.
So heed this warning...if you don't want to be responsible, skip to page 8. There is a space before the next paragraph begins. Don't move beyond this point of the study.
First point: You are what you have decided to be spiritually.
Remember when Joshua said, "Choose this day who you will serve, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" You have a choice! There are always people who want to blame who they are on someone or something else. as a result people dance around responsibility all of their lives. One day they will stop dancing and realize thay have a choice...what will it be? This point has a very close tie to the next point.
Second point: You can be different than you are spiritually.
There were two caterpillars crawling along the ground. One looked up, as a butterfly flew past, and said, "You couldn't get me up in one of those things for a million dollars." They weren't different yet.
In Ezekiel we read about a "new heart and a new spirit." You not only have a choice, you can be different.
Understand the implications of what I am saying. If you want to be deeper spiritually, if you want to have a close walk wiht Jesus, if you want to have a richer prayer life, if you want to have meaningful times of study in God's Word, if you desire to know Him better...you can.
The choice to be different is entirely up to you. The call and commands of Christ are not always easy but they are simple..."follow, love, forgive, and tell." But teir clarity teaches us that we can choose to do them.
Third point: Your decisions and actions are never made without falling under the grace and forgiveness of God.
That is fantastic news! Philippians 4:13 says, "I cand do all things though Christ who gives me strength." I was told once and I believe it to be the truth, if you take the first step, he will take the second and by the time you get to the third step you realize it was God who took the first. In other words, you have a choice, you can be different and now you also have the Freedom to try becuase of the grace and forgiveness of God.
A pastor's child and his mother had been to a shopping mall. It had been a long day and the boy had been terrible. He had whined and cried. He had wanted everything he saw and driven his mother crazy. The boy knew that his mom was mad. As they drove home the young child decided to bring spirituality into the trouble he had already figured out he was in.
"Mom, when we ask God to forgive us when we are bad, he does, doesn't He?"
Yes, son, He does," replied the mom.
"And when He forgives us He buries those sins in the deepest sea, doesn't He?"
"That's what the Bible says."
The boy was silent for a moment and then said, "I've asked God to forgive me, but when we get home you are going to go fishing for those sins, aren't you?"
God has taken you sins and cast them into the depths and put up "No Fishing" signs. He already knows that you won't be perfect. He has taken care of that, but He does expect you to try. What will it be...what are you going to be...it's up to you.
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