When we take stock at the end of each year, what is the basis for our evaluation? What would constitute a good year for us? An author wrote these words, "God did not spend His grace, in the precious blood of Jesus Christ, to redeem and adopt children, who would merely enjoy this natural life, without spiritual growth or fruit for His pleasure." The word, "Grace" is not about blessings, but closely tied up with the person we are to become by the grace of God.
A SIMPLE OUTLINE OF THIS PRAYER
- ONE REQUEST
- ONE PURPOSE
- FOUR OUTCOMES
2. ONE PURPOSE: God is pleased with us already because we are in Christ. Just like any parent who beams with pride when their 4-year old son/daughter performs at a school concert. It doesn't matter if the notes were wrong, but for that parent, it is a proud moment. But there is another sort of pride that comes when one's son or daughter accomplishes some great goal and bring honor to the family name after years of hard work and dedicaton. That is what Paul had in his mind here. It means to live so that God is pleased with us.
We all have our personal failings, yet here, we are called to something higher: walk worthy of the Lord so that you can hear him say, "My child, I am pleased with you in every way." This purpose is said to be fulfilled when we come before the Lord and say, "God, let your will be done." What does that mean? Too often we mean something like this: "O Lord, show me your will so I can carefully consider it to see if it fits into my plans."
BUT to truly say "your will be done in my life" means
- Lord, let your will be done in me whatever it costs, whatever it takes, wherever it leads.
- Let your will be done even if it means that my will is NOT done.
- Let your plans go forward even if it means changing mine.
Only one will can be accomplished at one time: either you control your life or God controls it. In the covenant prayer inserted in the bulletin this week are words desiring to know God's will in such a way that we are willing to yield our agenda to hsi control, that his purposes become our purposes. When that happens, our lives are radically changed from the inside out.
To seek the will of God is more about who I am on the inside than what I am to do on the outside.
3. FOUR OUTCOMES:
- A life that bears fruit (v 10b):
- A life that grows in the knowledge of God (v 10c)
- A life that endures in hard times (v 11)
- A life that gives thanks continually (v 12-14)
- Jim Elliot says, "Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!" and "forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God."
- John Ortberg: In his book, If You Want To Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg wrote, "The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort." Just like Peter who ALONE understood the glory of walking on water, you will realize that the only God is He, Jesus. "once you've walked on water, you never forget it - not for the rest of your life!"
- Hudson Taylor, "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply." We either know this as his quotation or apply it and experience God's providence, deeply convinced that He is indeed Jehovah Jireh.
So here is the prayer that Paul prayed for the Colossians and also the prayer that I prayed for you, Charisians. "That your life is never mundane; that all of you be filled up to overflowing with the knowledge of God's will, and surrendering our agenda to his control so that his purposes become our purposes. When that happens, our lives are radically changed from the inside out: A life filled with good works, an ever-growing knowledge of God, the ability to endure hard times with joy, and a thankful spirit for all that God has done for you."
- What decision of risk can you make before the Lord?
- Look over the ticks you've placed in the pledge card, pray for yourself how you may give in honor of God?
- On giving
- On serving
- On praying for the community of faith