Thursday, March 22, 2007

One Great Task of the Christian Life

Verse of the Day:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” (2 Peter 1:3-8

Had Mom's' Coffee Break today. 2 dear friends showed up!!!

Once again there were various topics discussed, but the one topic that stood out in my mind was a verse that one dear friend brought up. She wondered what the Bible meant about God giving us everything we need for life. In response, our other dear friend said that God will give us everything we need, but he doesn't necessarily give us everything we want.

This topic came about because DearFriend1 is experiencing a lot of anxiety about a situation she's in. She has a deep desire to fulfill a dream in her heart, but in her first attempt of accomplishing this desire, the end result was quite tragic and very emotional. She truly believes that to accomplish this dream is a call from God, but she is worried and afraid because if after this second attempt to accomplish this dream fails, she has decided that she will no longer try again. She truly desires this dream to come to full fruition, but she is also worried and afraid that her dream will not come true. Therefore, why is there such a deep desire to fulfill this dream and if it is a call from God, then wouldn't he provide everything to make this calling a success?

This topic was mainly discussed between DearFriend1 and DearFriend2 as I needed time to digest the situation and the question. What a difficult question to answer!

John Piper wrote an amazing article entitled "What is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?" In it, he establishes 2 wills of God: God's Sovereign Will and God's Will of Command. God's sovereign will is defined as "his sovereign control of all that comes to pass." God is in control of all things and it will always comes to pass. God's will of command is defined as what God commands us to do. A good example given in the article is from 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” John Piper points out that the will of God is our sanctification and in this particular verse, it narrows it down to abstaining from sexual immorality. "This is his will of command. But, oh, so many do not obey." So, on the one hand God is in control of everything, his sovereign will, but on the other hand, God doesn't always approve of what is ordained to happen because though his will of command for us is a life of godliness, not many obey it. "God is sovereign over all things and yet disapproves of many things. Which means that God disapproves of some of what he ordains to happen. That is, he forbids some of the things he brings about. And he commands some of the things he hinders. Or to put it most paradoxically: God wills some events in one sense that he does not will in another sense."

By understanding these truths about God's will, how would I now address DearFriend1's concern?

First, there is the comfort I can give that God IS in control of everything and that even a tragic ending to this dream is ordained by God for "[her] good and the good of all who love him."

Second, there is the encouragement that I can give that God's will of command for us is to flee from corruption and to run towards godliness in ALL that we do AND He does provide us with everything we need in this life to empower us towards this godliness in His Word. What would make this calling a success is the "discerning application of the Scriptures to...[this] situation... in life by means of a renewed mind." DearFriend1 has been desiring God's Word more and more lately and therefore, I must encourage her to follow that desire all the more because it is by the renewing of DearFriend1's mind that she will receive the hope and peace concerning this situation by understanding the will of God in his Word.

"Is it not plain therefore that there is one great task of the Christian life: Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We need new hearts and new minds. Make the tree good and the fruit will be good (Matthew 12:33). That’s the great challenge. That is what God calls you to. You can’t do it on your own. You need Christ, who died for your sins. And you need the Holy Spirit to lead you into Christ-exalting truth and work in you truth-embracing humility.

Give yourself to this. Immerse yourself in the written Word of God; saturate your mind with it. And pray that the Spirit of Christ would make you so new that the spillover would be good, acceptable, and perfect—the will of God."

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