Ask some of the kids to put the worship leaders chair in some small boxes. Boxes are behind the stage door. None of the boxes are big enough.
I am always perplexed by the fact that so many Christians always try to take God, who is bigger than anything or anyone, He is the Supreme Creator of all things, He is all knowing, all powerful and everywhere at all times, and they try to put Him in a box.
When we put God in a box we limit what God can do in us, for us, and through us.
This does not happen so much in places like South America, Africa, and Asia where people see God move in miraculous ways every day. But here in America. It happens far too often.
The church says that it believes God can save, heal, provide, restore, touch, strengthen and so many others things and yet when it comes down to the rubber meeting the road, when we really need to depend upon God, we tend to limit Him and put Him in a box.
When we put God in a box we restrict His work in our lives.
Remember, it is not that we do not believe that God can do it.
How many of you believe the Bible is true?
Can God heal?
Can God provide?
We believe it but at times we don’t thing that God will do it for me. He will do it for so and so but He won’t do it for me. That is putting God in a box.
Or we believe that God can do it but we get tired of waiting for His perfect timing.
Or we believe that God can do it but we put Him in a box by placing limits on Him by saying things like God I will do this if you do that.
And then when God doesn’t come through like we wanted Him to because we put Him in a box, we get mad, stomp our feet, throw a little temper tantrum and pout for a while.
We put God in a box by not going to Him first with our need whatever it may be.
We restrict Him when we take on an attitude of defeat.
We put Him in a box when we live like we cannot be healed.
We limit Him when we allow the enemy to steal our joy.
God cannot be limited in what He can do because the Word of God is clear, Jesus declared it in Mark 10:27 when He said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
So what is the problem? Have we not read it in His Word?
Some of us may have even seen God move miraculously in the past.
And yet today, so many put God in a box because even though they know better they fail to trust in the Lord 100%.
So many times it is easier for us to let others trust God for every detail of their life and have no trust for God in every detail of our life.
We need to trust God. This is truth is in the very center of the Word of God.
What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? Psalms 117
What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalms 119
There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118.
There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118.
In Psalm 118 we read, 5 I called on the LORD in distress;
The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
6 The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
8 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.
10 All nations surrounded me,
But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
11 They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
But the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
How many chapters before and after Psalm 118? 594
594 + 594 = 1188 which happens to be the very center of God’s Word and it says, 8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. Psalms 118:8 NKJ
Many of us, like the writer of the Psalm have been in anguish, we have been plagued by situations and temptations that have left us feeling pushed back like we were about to fall.
There are times we have felt surrounded and condemned by our past and even by our future and we have wondered how we can make it from day to day.
In the middle of God’s Word we find hope.
In the middle of God’s Word we find sound advice and instruction.
In the middle of God’s Word we find that we should put our trust in God. Why? Because everything else we put our trust in can fail us.
People, technology, science, and anything else will all fail but God will never fail us.
Nearly 170 times we are told in the Holy Scriptures to trust God.
So why is it so hard to trust God with the everyday things in our lives?
Trusting in God is one of the hardest things to do as a Christian.
Life seems like a mystery and as we observe life around us…sometimes we wonder if God is even involved with us at all. It’s not easy to believe and trust Him with everything going on with us.
We want to know if He is really listening to us.
We want to trust in Him, but why is it so hard?
Trusting in God is vital to our spiritual lives. But Houston we have a problem. Our faith tends to be weak.
If we only knew the amazing way that the Lord would open up to us if we would just open up to Him in trust and belief.
And the Lord has done an interesting thing…the more we trust in Him…the more He pours Himself on to us and reveals Himself to us.
But when we doubt Him and don’t have faith, nothing ever happens.
He will not try to prove Himself to us or surprise us with a revelation to show us that we’re wrong and we should have trusted Him. That is not God’s style.
You see the point is…it’s all up to each of us to determine if we are going to trust God or not.
If you don’t trust that God will do anything for you then guess what… He pretty won’t.
You’re life will likely stay the same old way for a long time.
But if you trust in God to come and make your life new, be ready for Him to come in like gang busters.
Be ready to see God move in your life. Be ready to see God do miraculous things.
Do you want to see miracles? We need to believe in miracles.
Do you want to see God move in your life. You have to trust Him to move in your life.
It is simple…yet very, very hard.
God asks the hardest thing from us. He asks us to suspend our common sense, to close our eyes to everything around us, put aside our knowledge of earthly reality and logic…and TRUST HIM.
Now let’s be honest. How many times have we trusted God and nothing happened?
Well guess what? Something did happen and something is happening.
God wants to see if you will still trust Him even if your prayers don’t turn out the way you want. He is trying to help us grow in our faith, and in order to do that He continues to raise the bar little bits at a time.
As we grow spiritually, He asks us to believe more, and when things become difficult…He wants us to believe EVEN MORE.
God is not a genie or Santa Claus. He really can’t be manipulated to do just anything you want. There is no formula, or button you can push for God to perform tricks for you.
Many of the things we go to God for require our submission to Him, our humility and our obedience to His Word.
Many times God wants us to participate and become active in our situation rather than just waiting for something to happen.
God has His plans and we have our plans and they are usually different from each other.
How many of you have ever had a prayer go unanswered?
What did you do when that prayer went unanswered?
Did you decide that God could not be trusted after all and give up completely?
He may not have answered your prayer right away and He may never answer your prayers the way you want, but do you still believe and trust Him to do what is best?
Here is the key: Belief and trust...and keep on trusting regardless of what is going on around you, even if things seem hopeless.
Why? Because God is real and is very aware of what is going on with you, all the time. He knows that sometimes we doubt Him.
His desire that we take a leap of faith to trust Him with our lives because when we take that leap, then He is finally able to wrap His arms around you like a father asking his child to jump to him.
I would do that when my kids where younger and more easily handled. I would back away from the ledge at the pool and have them jump to me. It took faith on their part that I was going to catch them.
Jesus asks us to have the same kind of faith, faith as a little child.
Releasing our faith is a hard thing for us to do. But when we do trust the Lord with all our hearts, we finally give Him permission and freedom to minister to us without us getting in His way.
That is why Solomon said, “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
And that is why Isaiah said, “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.”
Isaiah 26:4 NIV
When we refuse to trust God with every aspect of our lives we are retaining our control over all our situations and thus we end up living in the flesh.
If we are doing that then we really are not allowing God’s kingdom principles to work in our lives.
He told us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. That is true trust.
So how can we be sure that we are completely trusting God and not putting Him into a box?
The answer is found in Romans 8:5-17…
If our minds are continually lead by our flesh then we will never be able to completely trust God.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:5-17 NIV
If we are to completely trust God we must be led by His Spirit.
His Spirit is with us the moment we give our hearts to God through Jesus Christ. He is present in our lives.
If we are going to be led by the Spirit then we are going have to stop letting the flesh lead us. This is a battle that rages in every person.
It is a battle that must be won by God’s children. The risk of not winning this war is too costly and the rewards of winning this war and too important.
There is no middle ground here. The works of the flesh will always quench the works of the Spirit thus leading us to a life that fails to trust God completely.
It is the flesh that causes us to put God in a box and limit His work in our lives.
I am not sure about you, but I do not like letting the flesh win. I am tired of the flesh controlling our lives. I am tired of seeing people who have been promised God’s glory to be released into their lives held back because we failed to trust Him.
Today I challenge you to stop putting God in a box.
I challenge you to trust Him with every aspect of your life.
I challenge you to be led by His Holy Spirit.
I challenge you to stop allowing the flesh to win.
Each of you have been given a piece of paper that says, “the desires of the flesh.”
On that paper, I want you to write down those things in your life that are the desires of your own flesh that have been holding you back and have been causing you to not trust God and put Him in a box.
Once you have those things written out. I invite you to come up to the front and place those papers in this big box.