Summary: This message is about discovering God's will for your life
The Only New Year’s Resolution That Matters
One Sunday while serving at Aldersgate UMC, we had a guest speaker from GA in town for an Evangelism Conference. His message could be summed up as this: to be an effective servant of God, you have to discover God’s will and participate in it. At the close of the service, as I was greeting people at the back door of the sanctuary, one of the members came up to me and said, “What ship did that guy just get off of? How can he stand up there and say what God’s will is. I just turned 50 and I have never known God’s will or would I ever pretend to be able to speak what God’s will is.” I knew this man well. He was one of our most active members and servants around the church. He was in church every Sunday, involved in a Bible study and served in several ministries. He was a good man, and a good husband and father. He had been a faithful Christian all his life. And yet somehow he thought he could never know God’s will for his life. My heart hurt for him that day because if we can’t know God’s will then what’s the point of being here.
My experience is that you can know God’s will for your life. It’s why I stand up before you every Sunday and serve God full-time as a pastor, because of His calling and will for my life. The yearning to know God’s will is one of the deepest yearnings of a person’s heart. And God seeks to meet that hunger and need in your life. The reality is God does have a plan for your life just as He has a plan of salvation for the world. So what is God’s will for your life? This is THE question of life. And it’s at the heart of our relationship with God because we want to do what’s right. We want to please Him and give him honor and glory with our lives. That’s what it means to love God. Anyone who loves God wants to know His will for their life. And yet it seems that the majority of Christians cannot say what God’s will is for their life.
This time of year, we begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Lee Dye writes, “It’s that time of year again when we resolve to get off our duffs and run around the block more often, maybe even cut back on tall of those things which we know we aren’t supposed to eat, or drink or smoke. Ah yes, New Year’s Resolutions which for many of us should be called New Year’s Dissolutions. If you are one of the backsliders who breaks the first rule on your annual list before breakfast on New Year’s Day, you won’t find a lot of comfort in a new study by psychologists at the University of Washington. In a survey, the researchers found that most people keep the promise they put at the top of their list, at least for awhile. But here is the most interesting result of the survey. People are more willing to do something they know is right than give up something they know is wrong. 84% of those surveyed vowed to start doing something like exercising, which was the most common resolution of all. Only 14% vowed to give up something.” Then he offers these tips for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions:
Make only one or two resolution
Choose resolutions you’ve been thinking about for awhile
Choose to adopt a new good behavior rather than trying to shake an engrained bad habit
Choose realisitic goals you feel confident you can meet
If you don’t succeed, determine the barriers that blocked you and try again
Now I want to help you make the most important New Year’s Resolution you could ever make: to discover God’s will for your life. This morning I want to give you 5 words which will not only help you discover God’s will for your life but do it. The first word is process. In our fast food society, you need to realize that discovering God’s will is a process. It’s not something that just comes to us in a one-time event. We usually go through a 5 step process in discovering God’s will. First, we decide what we want to do and then tell God about it. A door may open or an opportunity arise and we take it without ever consulting God. The second step is that God responds by giving us a growing unrest within us and a lack of peace as you live into this decision you’ve made. Step three, I beg God to let me do it anyway. Step four, we finally give up, humble ourselves and begin to listen to God. We finally get to a point where we yield our spirit and our lives to God. Step five, God begins to reveals his will. Even when this happens, we have a tendency to test God. Claiming God’s will is a daily and life process.