Last week in my bible study we talked about our chief responsibility. My co-leader reminded us Jesus told the disciples to “go out a make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28-19)
As moms it is our privilege and responsibility to disciple our children and “train up a child in the way he should go so that when he is older he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) We love these babies and want them to have the best! Jesus is the best so let’s do it!
As Christian we should consider it a privilege to get to share the Gospel – a message of hope and salvation – to a lost, hurting, angry, and lonely world. After all He came to give us an Abundant Life!!!!
Abundant in Joy!
Abundant in Peace!
Abundant in Hope!!!
Abundant in Laughter!
Abundant in understanding of others, strength in kindness, Mercy, and forgiveness! Abundant in patience!
Do we feel like we are overflowing with abundance in al these things?
But, we are still supposed to share so there is an easy way for us to remember how to.
The ABC method.
A – admit you’re a sinner
B- believe that Jesus is the Son of God and can forgive your sins
C- confess with your mouth that you need him as a Savior.
Romans 10:9 says that if we do this we will be saved.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says – If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation – the old is gone and the new has come.
When this happens an amazing spiritual thing happens. Something so wonderful and new that we sense God’s peace, our burden is taken and we are filled with a new and unexplainable joy! Sometimes people experience major change and deliverance when this happens.
Elijah experienced the holy magnificence of God when He saw Him and immediately saw his need for change.
Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Isaiah saw his complete sinfulness in light of a holy God.
He was completely undone.
Unfortunately we do not always get that amazing and life changing encounter.
Most of the time we only are told what the Bible says we should do.
We are taught that we should, “Be holy as I am Holy”.
When we hear this we think that it is a tall order. We start to compare ourselves to others and think, “Well, I’ve never killed anyone so I’m doing pretty good. Nobody’s perfect.”
But God tells us everyday that we have to choose.
Deut. 30:19 – “So choose life in order that you may live.”
Joshua 24:15 – “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served.”
Isaiah 64:4 – “Choose what pleases Me.”
1 Kings 18:21 – “How long will you hesitate between tow opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”
Let’s look at four things that can get in the way of the experiencing the Abundant Life and complete joy that Jesus came to give us.
We were made to worship. Sometimes we worship God but sometimes we worship the false gods that place themselves in front of us as what will make us happy in the moment.
God has given us free will.
Mary had good character and chose on three separate occasions to sit and worship the Lord. On the other hand, Martha thought it was better to get things done. Both loved Jesus.
So, why do we choose certain things and scoff at others?
In her book, “Idols of the Heart” Elyse Fitzpatrick states “The will follows our thoughts and desires by choosing whatever we think will please us or afford us the best chance of happiness.”
That’s a great explanation. Sometimes we choose the healthy food because we think it will make us feel better but sometimes we choose the smushy chocolate cake because THAT will make us feel better. We make the schedule because we think that will make our houses run smoothly and make us feel better, but when it’s not being followed and things are out of control we yell at our children because that makes us feel like they will obey us and THAT will make us feel better.
Both are our choices yet don’t honor God.
They are the things that we think will lead to our happiness in the moment.
Ephesians 4:17-20 says “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Fitzpatrick says, “Even though God has given us new hearts upon which He has written His law, our hearts are still contaminated by the lies and allurements of the world. That’s why we say one thing and do another. If you wonder why you choose to worship other gods rather than wholeheartedly devote yourself to the Lord you love, examine the thoughts and desires that captivate your heart. That’s where you’ll find the answer to every sin and failure in your life. Don’t be deceived into thinking that you need to develop more willpower. We need to develop godly thoughts and desires.”
So what are we thinking about?
Another person’s faults?
What is at the forefront of our mind everyday?
Did you know that in Joshua 24:19 he told his people, “ You will not be able to serve the LORD for He is a Holy God.”
He knew what people were like.
We were made to worship God but our environments and choices have clouded our ability to choose His perfect ways over our selfish desires.
So how can we “be Holy as he is Holy?”
How can we follow the command to “work out our salvation?
Thankfully, Philippians 2:13 has that answer - for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Fitzpatrick boldly states that, “ God places holy desires in our hearts so that we will choose them. God gives us holy desires. He gives us the desire to worship Him. …If we believe anything other than God’s sovereign rule over our hearts, then we are left without hope for change. If Mary chose the way she did because she was a better person than Martha, then what hope is there for the rest of us, who know that we’re not that good? What’s to become of those of us who know our worship is polluted and we don’t hate our sin? What about those of us who have never consistently worshiped God? Who were reared as unbelievers or who have habitually ungodly desire that dominate us. If we rely on anyone other than God, including ourselves, then we’re doomed to a life of continual defeat. As His beloved children, we can rest in the glorious truth that God can so work upon our hearts that we will yearn for Him more than anything else. He can direct our hearts to worship Him, just as surely as He directed Mary’s heart. “
Don’t you love this?
Just like Proverbs 21:1 states that “the King’s heart is like channels of water in the Lords hand” so is ours. He turns it where ever He wishes. We truly can rest in Him and His love for us.
But where does this leave us today? What’s next? That seems too easy.
It is, but just like Jesus tells us, in the world we will have struggles.
We still have our old habits and an enemy.
2. Resist your idols
As we make the choice to Love God by turning away from our old mindsets and habits and things we choose before Him we can be assured that our enemy will jump right in and try to make it too hard for us.
He did it to Jesus and he will do it to us.
What did Jesus do when he was in the desert for 40 days and Satan came to tempt Him? He answered with God’s word and we can too.
Satan knew exactly Jesus was about to live out after he finished fasting. Satan tempted Jesus with food, a shiny kingdom, and the ability to perform a miracle by jumping off the cliff. And Jesus knew that even though He was really about to do all those things over the next few weeksHe would have to wait for His Father’s perfect timing and ways to do them. Most of all, He knew the joy that would only come from obedience to His Father’s perfect will. He had such a joyful, satisfying relationship with the Author of perfect love that no temptation could compare. Everything less than His Father’s perfect will was an attempt to be a counterfeit replacement.
Satan knows our desires and weaknesses too. If we approach everyday asking, asking like Psalm 139 says “Lord show me where there is any offensive way in you and lead me in the way everlasting” we can be sure that God loves us so much and wants to help us overcome them that He will show us! And He will give us the grace to bring them to Him and release them.
After we see where we fall short we can bring these things to our loving Father with full confession and surrender. Psalm 103 says, “He remembers that we are dust and does not repay us according to our iniquities.” He knows us already and loves us anyway.
What a relief and sweet gift.
So what happens after confession?
3. Put On Obedience -
Proverbs 19:22 says “What man desires most is unfailing love. To say otherwise proves he is a liar. Unfailing love. Perfect acceptance. No pressure. No expectations. Have you ever felt this way?
If Jesus was able to resist Satan because of a relationship like this with His Father then how can we when we don’t feel these ways?
Who is filling us with unfailing love?
Who is satisfying all our desires?
It’s easy to see why we make the choices we do.
We are constantly looking to be satisfied in someway.
But what about the command in Ephesians 4?
Put off the former way of life and Put on Holiness?
How do we do that?
Can we do it completely on our own?
Paul says in Romans 8:13 -For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Again, we don’t have to!!!
Let’s get to the best part. How do we do it?
3. Delight in God.
We’ve all heard that David was a man after God’s own heart. Back when He was a shepherd boy and there weren’t any other distractions he was worshipping God, because as we saw earlier God has made our hearts to be inclined to worship Him. David did started this early on. And he continued to His love for God grew. Then God made Him a King and used him to fight great battles and ultimately bring back the Ark of the Covenant.
2 Samuel 6:14-16 tells us that while ”Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord.18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
Wow. She despised His joy and she had the consequences. David chose to choose worship and celebration over dignity and he was rewarded!!!
David was thinking about, focusing on and rejoicing in the best thing that had just happened!
Have you ever felt that way for the Lord? Sometimes it’s only those exciting and seemingly impossible feats that bring us that great joy! But my day usually only consist of cooking, laundry and being a referee, not the amazing things like David got to experience. Even though these are all good things, they pale in comparison to David’s exciting accomplishment.
If we read all the great things in Colossians 2 we would see what all we have been given by the LORD and should overflow with thankfulness!
We’ve heard them before.
But do we overflow?
Again, we are back to a choice.
Everyday we live the seemingly mundane tasks that in and of themselves don’t create a joy and excitement that we long for.
Because of this we get to choose to set our minds on what brings us the most joy.
Psalm 34 says, Glorify the Lord with me; let us magnify his name together.
What are you magnifying?
What are we worshipping everyday that is magnifying itself more than the one true God? Our problems?
Or are we living a day that is delighting in God?
Matthew Henry writes that “ we should live and behave ourselves in such a manner that His rich grace might be magnified and appear glorious, and worthy of the highest praise.”
If we remember, think on and truly start to believe that we are really Adopted through Christ as an heir to the throne something in our hearts will change.
Peter reminded us that we were adopted so that we might “proclaim the excellency of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 peter 2:9)
That in itself if worth becoming undignified like David! And we didn’t even have to go to battle!
As I’ve said before our brains are trainable and we can change our thoughts. Science has proven that we can rewire our brain, and form new habits in 21 days. This is how God has already made the way for us to make the change in our brains that will facilitate the direction of our worship!
God has given us so many verses of praise in His Word.
As we choose to start our day with focus on and worship of Him, His goodness, His faithfulness, everything that Psalm 103 and 145 says, and so many others, our brains will change and He will be magnified!
Not our list. Not our problems.
There are so many!
Here are some more so you can see how the choice to read and fill your atmosphere with God’s praise will change your emotions, your heart, and probably the atmosphere of your home!
Psalm 28:7; 30:11-12; 63:4-5; 68:3-4; 71:23; Isaiah 61:10
One of my favorite verses that explains abiding in God is Psalm 89:14-18 –
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.
Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
This is all good for itself, but why does God want us to worship Him?
Is he that conceited?
Is it for His own satisfaction?
We have to understand, first of all that God is love and there is no selfishness in Him. (1 John 4:8- God is love; 1 Cor. 13:5 – love does not seek it’s own way)
He knows how He made us.
He knows what we need.
We need His joy to give to others.
Psalm 16:11 says “in your presence is fullness of joy”
He knows that we will ONLY be satisfied with a relationship with Him because that is why we were created. We can see that our longing for a good relationship with our parents and our children’s desire for a close relationship with us is a mere reflection of the relationship we were designed to have with our Heavenly Father. Our children in their purest, youngest form want to be with us all the time. It’s a reflection of our original creation. In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve walked with God. It was only after Eve’s sin were they separated.
We still have that same longing that, unfortunately, we sometimes choose to fill with other things.
4. Making disciples and conducting ourselves according to Holiness.
Since we have seen that our desires come from a deep longing to be loved and satisfied only by God we can look at what to do when we are tempted to make a choice that leads to sin.
Hopefully the next time we are tempted to pick up the old habit, whatever it is (impatience, selfishness, anger, laziness, immorality), we will take it to Jesus and ask Him to bury it first. Then we can remember that He already lived the perfect way and made a way for us to live it to – by His Holy Spirit living inside us.
So we thank Him that He already made the way and we are already changed.
We speak the truth that we are a new creation and we don’t live the old way anymore. Galatians 2:20 tells us “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
That is the miracle that we get to live out.
Last week Amy read 1 John 3:9-10 - ”No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.“
We are reminded us that as Christians this is what we should do.
Love your brother and sin no more.
Pretty easy huh. No.
Just ask a mom with small children, little sleep, and too much to do.
Jeremiah 17:9 God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
We can not live out 1John 3:9-10 until we learn how to John 15 – Abide in His Love
Do you see what a process this is? If we as adults have to go through all of this this how can we expect our children to “do good” when there is no good in them?
They have to feel our love!
We are in the place of Jesus until they meet them for themselves.
Rules without relationship = rebellion.
And as mothers that love our children we long for them to feel loved and know they are loved! We can do this! We know we don’t do it perfectly, but God can and will fill in the gaps where we fall short.
So, I hope this encourages you that Holiness is possible when we set our affections on God and His majesty.
As we do this He will fill us and we WILL overflow with His love and joy and have the ABUNDANT LIFE HE CAME TO GIVE US!
So rest in His promise from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 –
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
Because of Him,