Summary: Sermon ten in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
The Father loved the Son and showed Him everything He was doing. Jesus did not have to guess what to do. He did not have to dream up what He could do for the Father. He watched to see what the Father was doing around Him and Jesus put His life there. The Father could then accomplish His purposes through the life of our Lord.
This is what Jesus wants to do with His Lordship in our lives. We see what He is doing in the midst of our circumstance and adjust our lives, our plans, and our goals to what He is doing. To be in position to do this, however, we must completely place our lives at His disposal.
This is the kind of single-minded surrender we must give to the Lord daily if we are going to be in a position to recognize what He is doing through the circumstances of our life.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Note what Paul tells us will characterize the single-minded surrender necessary to enable us to "test and approve what God’s will is."
A. Keep the cross before you -
“I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy"
This is the basis of all single-minded surrender. When I think that Jesus suffered like He did at Calvary for MY sin, that makes me think twice about giving into temptation. It motivates me when it comes to dealing with sin in my life. It moves me to want to give myself wholly to Him out of a heart of love for how He gave Himself for me!
"Were the whole realm of nature mine that were a present far too small: Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all!"
- Isaac Watts
B. Focus on God above you -
"offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship"
The reason we call it a "worship service" is that worship and service go together. True worship always motivates for service and true service always creates a desire for worship.
C. Resist the world around you -
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world"
On the Today Show program, reporter Ann Curry informed viewers about how the Japanese were growing watermelons in square containers so they would better fit into refrigerators.
The world wants to squeeze you into it’s mold. But God has more in mind for you than that - He made you to be a unique individual, and you will never “find yourself” outside the context of His will! The world works to “conform” you with pressure from without; but God seeks to “transform” you through His presence within.
D. Let Christ be formed within you -
"but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’’’
These are the characteristics of a single-mindedly surrendered life; and single-minded surrender is a prerequisite to my being in a position to discern God’s will for my life!
All this having been said, how do I evaluate my circumstances in seeking to know and do the will of God for my life? Well, in considering what God might be saying to me through my circumstances, I need to keep two things in mind:
1. Evaluate your circumstances from God’s perspective.
Consider the circumstances that Job found himself in. He did not know what was happening when everything he owned was destroyed, when his children were killed, and when he developed sores all over his body. Job wrestled with understanding what God was trying to say to him through his circumstances. The entire book of Job is about Job being brought to see life from God’s perspective.
Job’s wife thought she had the right perspective on the situation. She thought that Job’s God was weak and had simply let Job down. Job’s God was not worthy of devotion. That’s why she told Job to "Curse God and die," (Job 2:9).
Job’s friends thought they had the right perspective on his situation. They told Job that he was obviously guilty of some sin for which he was being punished. That was the only reason they could conceive of why Job was suffering as he was. Up until this time in his life, Job thought the same way they did.