“Urges…and how to overcome them!”
Promise: My will is better than your way!
Love Link video clip. The video we just watched created a series of questions in my mind. All of the questions relate to God’s will. Here’s the first question…Is it God’s will that children in Haiti and Honduras should live in poverty? While you think about for a moment let me offer this illustration. Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. I think “God’s will is like an umbrella.” This covering over me is God’s universal or revealed will. What do I mean be revealed? It’s what is revealed to us through the word of God. There are no doubts. Now again I like the umbrella illustration, but I think the message is better if you put your umbrella down like this and then just step into God’s will. You see, I want to be IN the will of God. Do you? It’s a choice. Look at these verses.
Paul said to Timothy. 1 Tim. 2:4: who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Paul writes. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always;  pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:3: It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.. I’m married and if I step out of God’s will in regards to sex I bring great heartache to Tricia, to my children, to me and to God. According to God sex is between a man and a woman together forever.
Now I wish the Bible gave us answers on every specific problem we encounter or decision we have to make. It doesn’t. Dad, what do you call a BEE that can’t make a decision? A maybe! Maybe you should go this way, maybe that way! Why? Because “God’s will is not a formula to be figured out but a life to be lived.” And we’re all different. Knofel Staton uses parents as a great example. Would not every parent desire the same for every child? Each parent wants their children to be holy, happy, healthy, and wise? Kids, typically, are not dressed in the same style of clothes. Why? Because they have different personalities. Teens choose different sports – go to different colleges. One child might grow up and get married. When another child wants nothing to do with marriage, but both decisions can honor God.
Let’s get back to the original question. Is it God’s will that children should live in poverty? No, but children are often the recipients of bad choices made by either parents or leaders. Was it God’s will that Major Nidal Hasan[i] murder 13 people at Ft. Hood on November 5? No, but free will stinks sometimes. Hasan made a willful choice to murder. And God allowed it. Was it God’s will that Noah, Mrs. Noah and six other family members be the only human survivors of a world wide flood and all other humans would drown? Yes. (Genesis 6:5) Was it God’s will that Judas Iscariot become an apostle? Yes. Was it God’s will that Judas would betray Jesus and hang himself? NO! Is it God’s will that the Cleveland Browns be perennial losers? I don’t think he cares. But he does care if you bow down to any sport as a false god. German national soccer team goalie Robert Enke apparently committed suicide by stepping in front of a train.[ii] Is it God’s will that you marry? NO. Was it God’s will that you marry your spouse? No, but God does want married couples to experience oneness and that’s not possible without fearing God and following Jesus. Is it God’s will that no follower of Jesus should ever suffer. NO! Peter gives us the ultimate example. Turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 4. If you need a Bible today raise your hand. You’ll find 1 Peter 4 on page 841. Once you locate 1 Peter 4 make this observation. Verse 1 starts with a “therefore” What do you do when you come to a “therefore.” You go to the preceding verses. Those verses could be a few - a chapter or several chapters. Chapter 3: 8 through 22 all relate to this therefore. Find verse 9. (Guy gave me the finger!) Now drop down to verse 17. (Read 3:17&18) Now – in light of this truth let’s read verse 1 in chapter 4.
There’s Peter’s ultimate example. Jesus suffered before the cross and on the cross. What do you say? Let’s take a few moments and remember what Jesus did on the cross for each of us. Ushers would you now prepare for communion! Don’t forget what the bread and the cup represent. Suffering for Jesus. Salvation for us! (Prayer)
It’s difficult for me to think that God’s will would include Jesus’ suffering and death! God’s will should only include nice, pleasant things. But this world is often the opposite of nice and pleasant. The people in Peter’s day are being persecuted. Physical persecuted because they chose to trust the one who rumors said – “died and came back to life.” They are not arming themselves to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. They are arming themselves with this attitude – Jesus died for claiming to be the Son of God and we might die too because we believe he is the Son of God. But suffering does have its benefits! Find verse 2! Here’s now a fourth promise from God to Peter and from Peter to us. If you want to overcome urges, desires, lusts, longings for the forbidden – that war against your soul - claim this promise! My will is better than your way! Hands down. Every time. No matter what! Let me bring my umbrella back. It’s better to be in here with God, than to be out here without God. It’s better to be in the will of God and suffer temporarily, than to ignore God and suffer both now and later.
I blame John Chilcote and Joe Edwards for this. Here are few awkward family photos. How would you like your daughter to bring him home one night? Do you know who this is? This is Brian Welch. Better known as Brian Head Welch the former lead guitarist for the band Korn! Brian joined Korn in 1993 and they opened for bands like Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne and Marilyn Manson. Brian said that playing on the road always included lots of drinking, crack and other pills. But the drug of his choice was speed. Speed controlled his life for 2 years. Brian was married at the time and had a 5 year old little girl named Jennea. He really started to get desperate. He did not want his 5 year old daughter to watch him waste away from drugs. So guess what happened? Some friends of his took him to church! Would you want him at this church? The pastor said that day, “if you want to get rid of things from your life, you have to talk to Jesus…” So he decided then and there to accept Christ. Then he went home and snorted a line of cocaine. Not the right move but he continued to pray to God. He forced himself into his own rehab. After three days of no drugs he said he hadn’t felt this clear headed in years and his desire to do drugs was gone. At that moment he knew what he’d have to do – Brian writes, “As much as I loved my band mates, I had to try to do things God’s way and be obedient to Him.”[iii] Brian Welch who is making more money that most of us combined quit the band. He leaves Korn because in his own words, God’s will is better than our way! Brian is the poster child for what Peter says in verse 3. Man, talk about some powerful urges. When I read these words they do not sound fun. But sin often is fun which is why our urges often get the best of us. Go back to verse 3 and notice the five words Peter uses. These all refer to excesses and the two main arenas of excess where more humans get into trouble are sex and alcohol. I don’t care what you say! I am a free spirit. I will have sex with anyone I want to have sex with. Hey, make no mistake. Sex is great! But only when it’s within the confines of God’s will. And when you take sex out of the will of God it will create broken promises and deflated dreams.
“Greg, drinking is like a rite of passage. Everyone I know drinks and if I say no they will make fun of me – or worse – I will no longer be included! God’s will over our way it isn’t what we lose but what we gain! Brian Welch has a solo album out now called Save Me from Myself. And never forget but God does the saving. More and more signs like this are popping up in New York, Chicago and even parts of Ohio. Authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have helped give visibility to an “atheism awakening.” The largest atheist promotion was staged in Britain with ads that said, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Another billboard in the Dallas Fort-Worth area says “Don’t believe in God. You are not alone.”[iv] Here’s why I believe in God! Go to verse 19 in 1 Peter 4. This world just didn’t happen! There is a faithful creator. Suffering for good is better than suffering for making stupid choices. Stupid choices are often made because we can’t overcome our urges. Never stop doing good, but understand why we do good. We are grateful to God, like Brian Welch, for saving us from ourselves. We cannot overcome urges on our own – we have to claim a promise from God. Whether God’s will brings you good or bad, pleasure or pain, life or death – his will is better than your way! Are you here today?
[iii] Andrea Bailey Willits, Kicking Drugs, Leaving Korn, Outreach Magazine, September/October 2009
[iv] Jennifer Lee, Good without God, October 19, 2009