Summary: In the midst of transition, it is better to keep our priorities on God’s will rather than our own.
“It’s All About God…Not About Me”
Making the Most of Transition
Romans 8:1-5 (quotes taken from The New King James Version translation unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ May 22, 2005
Theme: In the midst of transition, it is better to keep our priorities on God’s will rather than our own.
Introduction – “It’s not about you…”
For the last two months, we’ve been talking about transition. Back in March when we started, we didn’t know if I would be moving or not, now we know that we are. Back in March when we started, we didn’t know who my successor might be, now we know that Pastor Nelson Hall will lead Wakelee starting July 1. Back in March when we started, many were still in denial, struggling with this process, now we know and have moved toward final acceptance.
I am one who believes that change is almost always good. It gives each person a fresh start, a chance to make amends, an opportunity to refocus a vision…a chance for recommitment.
As we look at the last two sermons of this series, we move into the last two stages of making the most of this transition. Next week we’ll talk about acceptance. Today…our focus is on setting priorities.
Priorities…some people have them…some people don’t. Some people claim to have them but don’t use them. Others don’t claim to have them but how they go about living their lives speaks volumes.
Rick Warren in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, started the book with these words, “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”
It’s a matter of priority. I suppose that most people if asked would list their families, their career, their security, their child’s education and so on in their top five. But when Paul wrote this letter to the congregation in Rome, a predominately Gentile crowd, he wanted them to know that God and his will for their lives should be ranked #1.
If we claim Christianity, then we walk according to the Spirit.
If we claim Christianity, then we accept God’s ability to do things we cannot do.
If we claim Christianity, then our #1 priority is to “set our minds” on things Spiritual.
Paul wrote that if we claim to be Christian, we cannot continue to live our lives as anything but. We can either walk through life focused on ourselves, our wants and supposed needs, or can we walk according to the Holy Spirit with God’s will in your sights.
How do we do it? Let’s take a look at God’s Word…
I – Walking according the Spirit – vs. 1-2
You heard Mary Ann read in Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
We really like this verse, don’t we! Time and time again I’ve heard people say “there is therefore now no condemnation…” but that is not the full message of that verse is it. There’s a priority statement which follows…the whole no condemnation thing is for those for walk according the ____________ (Spirit).
Which way we walk, determines our priorities.
Anytime we put our will before God’s, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we intentionally turn a deaf ear to God’s instruction, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we flood our minds with poor television and movie choices, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we seek to divide instead of unite, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we think we’re better than someone else, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we envy others, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we even think about sexual unpureness, we walk in the flesh.
Anytime we hate…anytime we inappropriately use anger…anytime we become selfish…
When we spend more time with what our stuff, compared to time spent in God’s Word,in prayer, in worship and in praise…we walk in the flesh.
Now, we need to be thankful that we have a loving and merciful God…Amen? Things could get ugly if we didn’t!
But the message is this…there are only two priorities…
either we walk in the Spirit or we don’t.
If our focus in on anything but God, condemnation, sin, death, is the result.
But if the focus is on God, then we walk, not with fear of condemnation, but free from sin and death! Which way we walk is the first determination of priority.
II – What we couldn’t do, God did – vs. 3-4