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Friday, May 28, 2010

My Desire

By Justin Edwards

What is our purpose? What are we here for? I believe when one comes to understand this fundamental truth, they will be ready to fulfill all the good things God has intended for them according to His will. Ephesians 2:10 says,

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

"That we should walk in them." That is our purpose - that we should perform the good works He has prepared for us from the beginning. How do we do this? How does one know what God's will is and how does one know the works prepared for him to do?

The answer is simple, quite frankly. There are many who struggle with this perceived mysterious work God has planned for them. They often ask, "What is God's will in my life?" I know, because I used to ask that question myself. Understanding God's will for you begins with the foundational, fundamental, and essential surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Without complete and utter surrender to God, you will forever be searching and never come to the knowledge of His perfect plan and will. Jesus says in Luke 9:23-25,

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
This is the heart of the Gospel. This is repentance. To totally deny and give up on yourself and turn toward God for salvation. To realize you are a lost sinner in desperate need of a Savior. To deny your own will and relinquish control over to God. Steve Lawson says it like this,

"You must transfer ownership of all that you are and all that you have to all that He is...your life is no longer your life, it is His life. Your time is no longer your time, it is now His time. Your possessions are no longer your possessions, they are His possessions. Your future is no longer your future, it is His future. Your treasure is no longer your treasure, it is His treasure. And you have transferred all that you are and all that you have to all that He is. That's what it means to meet His terms of peace."
 This is the essence of surrender, and without it, you cannot be a follower of Jesus Christ. You cannot be a disciple. You cannot be a Christian. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, 

"Repentance means that you realize you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world and its mind and outlook as well as its practice. You deny yourself, you take up the cross, you go after Christ. Your nearest and dearest and the whole world may call you a fool, or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, it makes no difference. That is repentance. (From gty)

Once you have come under the grace and mercy of the almighty and sovereign Lord over all creation, a process of sanctification will begin in you.  In Philippians 1:6 we learn "...that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" and in Hebrews 10:14, "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." Sanctification means to be made pure, to be made holy, to be renewed unto conformity in Christ. This work of God conforms you to the likeness of Christ for you to be used by Him for His glory.

How is it that God sanctifies us? He purifies us through discipline, trials, afflictions, service to others, prayer, and revealing Himself to us in His Word. We have the responsibility to diligently seek after Him through studying the Scriptures. Everything we must know about God's character and will for us is found there. The Holy Spirit reveals these truths as we carefully search for Him in Scripture. And by the leading of the Holy Spirit, God's will can then be applied to our lives and we will be changed from the inside out. The Apostle Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:1-2,

 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

As born again believers, we will never be able to repay Christ for what He did on the cross. At least on this side of eternity, we will never understand the love He has for us in laying down His life, bearing the weight of sin of the entire world, and shedding His blood as the sacrificial Lamb to forgive those who receive His gift of salvation. We can, however, offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him. As we draw closer to Him, shedding off our fleshy desires, we begin to set our minds on heavenly things and no longer on things of the world. We begin to store our treasures in heaven and come to loathe the deceitful attractions of the world whose only purpose is to distract us from an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus. Our hatred and tolerance of sin increases as our love for God increases. We no longer love the world or the things of the world because there simply isn't any room left in our hearts as our love for Jesus consumes us. In Philippians 4:8-9, Paul tells us,

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

We must put on the mind of Christ. That is our calling - to become more like Him in all that we do and in all that we are. And that is my desire.

My desire is to be used by God no matter where that takes me, no matter the hardships in getting there, no matter the sacrifices required, even if it means suffering for Him in death. The Apostle Paul counted it joy to suffer as Christ suffered, to suffer in His afflictions, and so should all we who profess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. My desire is to be used by God. My heart cries out for His will to be fulfilled in my life and to perform the good works according to His purpose. My desire is to make His name known, to not be ashamed, and to proclaim His Good News to those closest to me and to the ends of the earth while there is still time. My desire is to look back at my life should I be given opportunity to live many days, and say as Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:6-8,

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

To hear the Lord tell me one day, "Well done, My good and faithful servant."

That is my desire, and I challenge you to examine the priorities in your life to see if your desire is to be used by God for His glory. Is there anything holding you back? Is there anything in the way? I pray you consider these things and are challenged to seek after God like never before. I believe the Midnight Hour is upon us and we must use our time wisely to fulfill His will for our lives - to love and to make His name known. It is not how you started the race that matters, it is how you finished. 

How will you finish?

I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain - Jesus in John 15:16

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