March 3, 2021 Midweek Lenten Message
Lenten Sermon Series: Crosswalk- faith at the intersections of life
“Yielding to God’s Will/Plan”
(based loosely on online devotion by Kayode Adegbehingbe 2/25/13)
Yielding to God means letting go of your own will, to embrace His will. But the will of God does not necessarily fall in your laps; many times it requires purposefully seeking it out. The bible says it is the prestige of God to conceal a matter; and it is the prestige of kings (and you are one Revelation 1:6) to search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2).
Christians, in their “crosswalk” need to continually and consistently be committed to finding out what the will of God is for our life because ignorance is no excuse. A Christian who claims it’s okay to be ignorant of God’s will for our life is claiming it’s okay to be saved by Christ’s grace but there is no need to be sanctified by God’ Holy Spirit. Which actually means it’s only a matter of time before the Devil comes by and reclaims his victim.
A story I like to remember about my dad (and he’s gone so I can tell this) was one time we were on vacation and he was driving with mom navigating. In the 70’s there was no GPS only maps that unfolded and blocked half the windshield. And we were coming up to one of those spaghetti junctions. You know the type where’s there’s multiple layers of off ramps and flyovers and such. And we actually got off going the right way on the first try! Mom and dad were so proud, that is until he failed to move all the way over and ended up on an off ramp that dumped us right back into the spaghetti junction again! (paul says be careful not to fall back into old pattern)
It is the premium that you put to knowing the will of God that will determine your level of commitment to finding it out. How much of a priority and value are you willing to put on seeking out and finding the will of God for your life? David is an example of someone who put a high premium on seeking out God’s will. Despite all his flaws he was most of all known as “a man after God’s own heart.” This doesn’t mean God would just come to him and tell him stuff concerning how to execute a battle strategy or in making a political move. David had to continually ask God for direction, seek God’s heart in the matter.
The bible says “ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7-8). You have to do something to get direction. Do your part, which is asking, seeking and knocking. Set apart some time; take a break from the hustle and bustle of life to hear from God. You need to lay down your preconceived notions at the feet of the cross, as you are called to die daily to your own will (Luke 9:23), taking up your cross and following Jesus. You are called to follow Christ, called to yield to his will, because to be full of self will, empties us of God’s will.
The temptation of the devil that Jesus Christ faced was an examination of his readiness to yield to the will of God (Luke 4:1-15). It may not be too farfetched to say that all the temptation you have faced was to measure your level of yielding to God. Satan asked Jesus to turn stone into bread, but the will of God was that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
The devil wanted Jesus to fall down and worship him, to receive the kingdoms of this world, but the will of God says that it is better to worship God that to take over the whole world.
The devil asked Jesus to jump down from a high place to test if the word of God is true, but the will of God says we are not to test God, but we are to submit to him.
In all these, what Satan wanted to stroke in Jesus, (to find out if it’s in him) was self-will, at the end of the interaction, if was discovered that there was no self-will to speak of in Jesus. I am not saying that Jesus does not have an opinion. In the experience in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46), just before he was arrested to be crucified, he expressed his opinion wanting the cup of the punishment to be taken away from him. But eventually what was in him or was not in him was shown: he had no self-will in opposition to the will of God; he has no agenda he wants to pursue apart from the agenda of God. He has no purpose that he wants to accomplish except the purpose of God.
Talked Sunday of faith is not the absence of doubt but a greater sense of trust in God than our fears. Yielding to God at the intersections of our life requires greater trust in God than the power of our fears or the desires of our hearts. Peace making book- says this is a key part of making peace and finding peace. Yielding to God allows us to operate out of God’s will for our life instead of our fears, instead of our selfish desires.
Yielding to God helps us not succumb to what I call “Thought- lock” or what can also be called the “monkey trap”. Put shiny object, nice fruit inside a hole in a tree just big enough to fit the object but not big enough to fit the object and a hand around it. Monkey interested in it grabs it and won’t let go, until it’s too late. I call it “thought lock”- must have this item from my dad’s estate- its just things, its not God. Oh okay. Hey, before I had anger, frustration, fear…now I have peace. Thanks God.
Lenten journey is a reminder to yield to God’s will, not only will that make the intersections smoother, and life’s direction more clear. It also will provide a tremendous amount of peace… something in short supply in this topsy turvy self-centered world. Now may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus this Lenten season Amen.