Summary: God has specific plans for your life, but our priority is following His broader will which reflects His desire for every believer. Paul informs us that is is God’s will that we practice three habits; when we do, they have positive consequences on our
Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful
1. A young fellow by the name of Sammy liked to hang out at Mom and Pop’s Grocery Store. Pop didn’t know what Sammy’s problem was, but the other boys would tease him all the?time, calling him Slow Sammy, and punching him on the shoulder as they passed.
To mock him for being slow, they would offer him a dime and a nickel, telling him he could?have just one. They said he always took the nickel because it was bigger.
One day after Sammy took the nickel, Pop pulled him to one side and said, "Son, don’t you know they’re making fun of you? They think you don’t know that the dime is worth more than the nickel. Are you really grabbing the nickel because it’s bigger, or what?"
"No," Sammy said, "but if I took the dime they’d quit doing it!"
2. For my last three weeks, I have been preaching mighty slow. I preached on one verse per Sunday. Today I am up to three verses, but there is a catch: put together, these three verses have fewer words than the last single verse I preached about.
3. These verses are like bottles of food coloring: extremely concentrated.
4. God’s will for us sometimes comes to us in concentrated form. It varies with the individual, but most of our struggles are about the will He has for every one of His children, not His specific guidance in our lives.
There are some eras of life we just have to “get through.” There are some deserts that seem unending and our thirst grows worse and worse. There are some clouds that simply will not budge.
MAIN IDEA: God has specific plans for your life, but our priority is following His broader will which reflects His desire for every believer.
TS--? Paul informs us that is is God’s will that we practice three habits; when we do, they have positive consequences on our lives.
I. Three Habits That will CHANGE Your Life (16-18)
A. The Habit of JOY
1. Not an escape, a FOCUS
• If something is bad, say it is bad; if you are angry, say you are angry; if you are disappointed, admit it
• But note that we can choose joy by focusing on our sovereign God
2. Not always a smile, but an ATTITUDE
God wants us to learn to adjust to things beyond our control:
Job 1:20-21, " At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
Freedom: We do not have to let our circumstances always determine our mood…we can choose our attitude…at least most of the time
3. Part of the MIX of life
Can be mixed with grief:
• I Peter 1:6, "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…"
• 2 Cor. 6:10, " “sorrowful yet always rejoicing”
• John MacArthur writes, "Christian joy constantly flows from what the believer continually knows to be true about God and about his eternal, saving relationship to Him—regardless of circumstances."
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
• Does always mean always?
No, it is used in similar fashion as we use the term in English. He is always complaining. She is always late. It expresses the typical, the routine and should not be pressed beyond normal use.
B. The Habit of PRAYER
1. Not merely a RITUAL, a conversation
2. Not simply REQUESTS but much more
• Sharing our thoughts with God
• Requests for ourselves
• Intercession for others
• Spiritual warfare
• Praise and Adoration
• "Greek writers used the adverb translated ’without ceasing’ to describe a
hacking cough. Paul did not expect his readers to be in prayer every
minute but to continue praying whenever possible." Thomas Constable
C. The Habit of THANKFULNESS
1. Thanks is something you GIVE to God
• God doesn’t need us. Everything we have comes from God, so can we give Him anything? Yes, and one thing we can give Him is our thanks.
• When our kids were little, they had no money of their own; but I would give them money so they could buy their mom a birthday present as a way to show her love.