He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Living with Jesus

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Tonight, the youth group with which I am involved will meet to discuss this topic. These are my thoughts, pre-meeting, influenced in some measure by these articles.

Some ideas on the will of God. Is it:
  1. Individualistic, referring to you and to you only, unique, in that respect?
  2. A matter of fate, God doing His will regardless?
  3. An almost psychic phenomenon, a blue-print for your life, your mission being to uncover it and live it?

In some ways, yes to all three. But mostly, no.

  1. God's will is not just for you. Indeed, it is the same for me, as it is for Joe round the corner. '... of all things...' we are told in Ephesians 1. Further, it our privilege, a gift from God, to know this!
  2. God's will has been done; on the cross God won the victory. As with any question of fate or free will, God desires our free involment in His world, rather than robotic conformation.
  3. The Bible is relatively silent about the future. Indeed, Matthew 6:33-34 reads, '... seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'

The will of God then, is about living today, in the day to day, the ordinary, mundane, banal, exciting, fulfilling, satisfying things of life, your next move either being in accordance with His will, or in conflict with it. As Jesus did, this is what we ought to live on. John 4:34:

My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

The will is in our present, built on the love of God. The will is to redeem, renew and restore all creation in Christ, through the power of His Holy Spirit.

How do we live this will?
  1. Imitate Christ. (Ephesians 5.)
  2. Walk every day. (Colossians 1:9-10.)
  3. Be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2.)

What are some ways of living this will?

  1. Be grateful for what you have. Cars, clothes, money, even fame - other people aren't as well off as you are.
  2. Be people of truth. No gossiping. Don't lie if you break the speed limit, don't evade tax, don't bend the truth. Keep your promises.
  3. Seek integrity. Don't steal. Don't burn CDs or download music illegally. Don't 'borrow' pens from the office, or make personal phone calls from work. Be honest at the till. Don't insult God's generosity.
  4. No adultery. Guard your minds.
  5. No murder. Show self-respect and humility. Forgive, and be in control of your anger.
  6. Accept and appreciate your parents.
  7. Use your time wisely. Show that God is Lord.
  8. Don't misuse God's name, it is our privilege to know it. Don't swear. Don't use the name of God to get your way. Be on God's side, don't say that He is on yours!
  9. God is not in New Age religion, money or the perfect body. Keep Him in focus and in the centre.
  10. Remember there is one God who made and keeps us, who revealed Himself to us through His Son, who rules over all, who redeems us, and so much more. Respond to Him: praise Him, read His word, confess to Him in prayer.

In doing all this, we will live for Jesus right here and right now. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 sums it all up:

And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!

Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.

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