Summary: Whatever God’s Word says you MUST do, God knows you CAN do!
WHAT MUST I DO?
Big Idea: Whatever God’s Word says you MUST do, God knows you CAN do!
So I am having my daily devotions – just minding my own business in private worship when I stumbled upon Matthew 19:16, “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’”
As I read it my routine devotions changed. God stepped in and took me places I was not anticipating. At first glance this simple verse just appears as the basic question that all men must ask of God if they wish to be saved. It is asked and answered more than once in the New Testament and many of us have asked that same question. But there was one simple word that stuck with me for days to come afterwards … “must.”
Sentences with “must” have a simple impersonal verb (dei). It is a tiny word but it has huge significance. It makes all the other words connected into an urgent need or expectation … even a demand. It can also be translated “It is necessary” or “It is binding” or “It is obligatory” or “It is required” or “ought” or “shall.”
It was in this that I sensed God telling me something. “Ken, think on this … there are things in my Word that I tell God’s people they ‘must’ do. THEY MUST DO! These are pretty important, Ken, you might want to explore them a bit.”
It took me on a personal journey and now a journey for us as a people.
In the weeks to come we are going to work our way through the New Testament and consider the things that God’s Word says we “MUST” do. But, in the midst of it all, I want you to see a very powerful and guaranteed promise.
• This promise applies every time.
• This promise has no exceptions.
• This promise is very very simple.
• This promise is so radical it changes everything.
Here it is.
Wait for it.
“Whatever God’s Word says I MUST do, God knows I CAN do!”
Not in your own strength mind you – in His! God not only gives you His expectations but His Spirit also gives you His grace to accomplish the task. When God gives you a command – He also gives you a promise. God’s word says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
By the time this adventure is over that is one thing that I pray His Spirit drills into you. “Whatever God’s Word says I MUST do, God knows I CAN do!”
Please understand, this was first of all a lesson God had to “re-teach” me. For that last few months I have been in a rather “dark” place. I know it is a “spiritual winter” and that God is doing something deep and life changing; but it is also very difficult and, at times, lonely. When God takes you through the winter season you always seem to go “alone” don’t you?
Well, to make a long story short, about 2 months ago I came to a particularly solemn moment; I was feeling the enormous weight of my calling. I was seeing rather clearly the shepherding responsibilities that were placed upon me and were entirely out of my ability and control. Let’s face it, you cannot make another person (much less a congregation) love God more, obey more, serve each other more, or love their neighbor more. It’s like pushing a rope.
I was driving down Lawrence Avenue praying a simple prayer, “God I cannot do this! I cannot do this!” It was then that God’s Spirit drove this truth home to me. It was as if God said, “Think about the study you have been doing on ‘must?’ There is a truth that you are missing and the same truth applies to the calling I gave you. If you miss this truth, Ken, then any obedience you bring to me is brought in the flesh. That truth is ‘Whatever I tell you you MUST do, I know you CAN do!’”
That moment, on Lawrence Avenue, I felt set free! I felt empowered once again to serve Him faithfully. I am still in a spiritual “winter season” and my Father has had to remind me of that truth even recently, but the truth has indeed changed everything.
Listen, the enemy knows that defeat is all but certain when you begin to think that defeat is all but certain. That is why the enemy whispers in your ear. That is why he tells you lies all the time.
There is a little poem that says:
If you think you’re beaten, you are.