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I'd Be Thankful If I Have What God Want's For Me

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What Do You Want?

Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Season filled w/ attitudes and emotions.
Being thankful is an attitude.
Often times it’s driven by having what you want.
So, what do you want?
Not a simple question.
What do you value? Consider important?
There are things we naturally want, immediately want this year. But, a few years ago and in a few years we want something else.
Which can lead to regret which causes a problem being thankful.
Regret is not being able to get what you want b/c you got what you wanted.
Too often, getting what we want now prevents us from getting what we want later.
That’s b/c we get consumed w/ what we naturally want over what we ultimately want.
So, the question is, what do you really want? What do you value?
What we immediately want is in conflict w/ what we ultimately want.
So, what do you want?

Eulogies

Stephen Covey, in his book, 7 habits of highly effective people gives this assignment.
Into a funeral home see your friends and family.
It’s you in the coffin. In 3 years you’re going to die.
4 eulogies: Family, friend, co-worker, church.
What do you want people to say about you?
What difference will you have made in their lives?
What do you want people to say about you?
Accomplishments, collections, or character?
Character traits over accomplishments.
If you nail down what you want these people to say about you at your funeral you will discover what you value and that should drive your choices today.
These are the things you really want.
I can tell you one thing right now we all want.
You want your adult children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to respect you.
Which would be reflected in how they talk about you after you’re gone.
No thing or fling is worth losing the respect of you family.
Decisions that you make today will affect what they say about you at your funeral.
You’ll have it if you think ultimately.
You’ll lose it fi you think naturally.
What you want people to say about you then will tell you a lot about what you value now and what you ultimately want.
Getting what you ultimately want will lead to being characterized by others as being thankful.
Why? B/C it’s true. You will be. Your attitude toward life will reflect that you have what you really want.
You may be surprised to to realize that what you ultimately want for yourself is very similar to what God wants for you.
So, the question is, how? How do you get what you really want?
We have to deal w/ a fear.
A fear that if we completely surrender to God He’ll make us give up something we want.
But, is it something we naturally want, or ultimately want?

Afraid to Surrender

Who is God?
Jesus was asked how to pray.
It starts: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven...”

Our Heavenly Father

He is the perfect parent.
Good, earthly parents: What do they want from their children?
Nothing.
Not-so-good parents need their ego fed and want things from their children.
Good parents don’t want anything FROM their children.
Good parents want things FOR their children.
And, God, being the perfect parent does not want anything from us. But wants things for us.
Is that consistent or conflicting w/ what we want?

Consistent or Conflicting?

We assume a competing agenda.
What I want is at odds w/ what God wants for me.
But, then, I realize that what I naturally want is at odds w/ what I ultimately want.
Still, surrendering to God scares us b/c we think God’s going to require something from us and leave us unhappy, unsatisfied, unfulfilled.
But, it’s what we naturally want, immediately want that will leave us unfulfilled.
We are closer to wanting what God wants for us than we may realize.
We are not that far apart.
So, what is it that God wants for us?
If we were to surrender completely to God, what would we get that would be satisfying, fulfilling?
We talked about Paul last week and what he had to say on the subject of getting what he wants.
We looked at a passage in Romans and Galatians. Both books written by Paul and very similar in subject matter.
Today, we are going to both books again to look at how we can get everything that God wants for us.
.
What would our lives look like if we surrendered to God completely?

Characteristics of Complete Surrender

Galatians 5:22–26 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
If God were to suspend our free will and impose His will on us, that is impose His decisions on us, this list is what would characterize our lives.
But He doesn’t impose His will. He offers it for us to choose.
Therefore, if we did...
Let’s look at the first 3

Love, joy, and peace

Love. Committed to someone and forgiving them even though they don’t deserve it. Sacrificing your own desires for theirs.
Joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Typically, when you see someone who can stay positive during the worst of times you wonder what they’re on.
Joy reaches the deepest parts of our lives and is genuine even in hard times.
Peace. An internal sense of contentment.
A disconnection but not denial of the stressful circ’s around you.
Some people pay a lot of money for a prescription or subscription for peace.
These, and the rest, are products of a person who is in lock-step w/ God.
These characteristics will solve all of your relational problems. Therefore, almost all of the highest priority problems you have.
This is what God wants for you.
When you discover what you really value, what you really want, you will discover you are not that far away from what God wants for you.
You are not that far away from God
Aren’t these the crux of the eulogies you hope your children and close friends say about you?
How?

In lock-step with God

One of the main things Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow Me.”
Okay, Where? You’ll see when we get there. Just follow closely.
And, along the way you will receive the list from the Fruit of the Spirit.
Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.
So, if you surrender to God are you sacrificing accomplishments or collections? NO.
Kindness does not get in the way of collecting things.
Self-control does not undermine accomplishment.
It is possible to have things and do things and still be following Jesus.
Think of all the energy you spend worrying about losing something you’ve have or failing at something you try.
Spend that energy in pursuit of Jesus and don’t worry about your stuff.
It’s no longer just about you and what you naturally want.
Your ego is removed as you move closer to Jesus and get from Him what He wants for you.

No more ego

No conceit. No provoking. No taking sides. No jealousy.
No celebrating others problems. No win/lose mindset.
There is enough of God to go around. Everybody has the opportunity to get all they want and more.
You don’t have to fight for what you get. There’s plenty.
Like your Thanksgiving meal. So, much for everyone.
So, what do you want?
You’re closer than you realize.
What’s most important to you?
What is in your eulogies?
Don’t be afraid to surrender completely to God.
When you discover what you really value and how to get it you’ll be less likely to settle for what you merely want.
Don’t settle.
The challenge is to move from the deeds of the flesh to the fruit of the Spirit.
Move from the natural to the valuable.
From the immediate to the lasting.
In Paul gave us a ‘to-do’ that will keep us in our lane, in step with God to go after and get what we ultimately want.

Get Changed

Romans 12:1–2 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Therefore…Surrender

Therefore: What’s it there for?
Theme of the book: Accept one another as Jesus has accepted you.
The first 11 chapters Paul lays out how Jesus has accepted us, explaining God’s grace.
“Since all this is true now do this...”
How do we get what is most important? Stay here. Live here. Do this all the time.
“in view of God’s mercy” I want you to do something.
Mercy: God is so good not to smite us even though we deserve it. (1-11)
In view of this that’s laid out in 1-11.
Notice what he doesn’t say.
What so many preachers and teachers do say.
“In view of Hell.”
“In view of God’s judgment.”
“Be very careful how you act.”
It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Not fear of judgment.
“A living sacrifice”
They were all very aware of animal sacrifice.
String it up, cut its throat, bleed it out, it dies, burn it.
Instead of sacrificing an animal, you climb on the altar and kill your will.
Surrender your behavior to God.
You live. But your will dies.
Offer God a blank check of your life. To do whatever He sees fit. His will, not yours.
Seems unreasonable, illogical.
It’s not.
It’s the most logical thing you can do.
“This is your true and proper worship.”
“Logikos” Where we get the word “logic”.
IOW: B/C God is so merciful to us the most logical thing you can do is surrender your life to Him.
Go where he wants you to go. Do what He wants you to do. Say what He wants you to say. No more. No less.
It’s the most rational thing.
Surrendering is logical, not fearful.
He goes on, v.2

Transform, don’t Conform

Every stitch of clothing we’re wearing came from a pattern.
Everything is the same. Uniform. Different sizes but all from the same patter.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world that provokes you to get what you merely, want. Immediately.
Be different. Be unique. Be changed.
Greek word; metamorphos
We are immersed in our culture. 12, 16, 20 years of education. Media. Peer pressure. All these conform us to a pattern in our culture.
You have been pressed into a mold.
Like a Christmas cookie.
There is a process, if you engage in it, in the process you will be changed.
The process?
Have your mind renewed.
We can’t just go out an change behavior. Just try harder.
“Don’t covet. Don’t coven. Don’t covet.”
That didn’t work for Paul. It won’t work for us.
We are not transformed by the commitment of your will, but by the renewal of your mind.
Your mind is your evaluator.
Your will is your chooser.
Your will will choose what your mind evaluates to be your best option.
In order to make better choices you have to evaluate your options differently. Therefore, your mind has to be changed.
The only way your will will choose the option to sacrifice is if your mind evaluates it as your best option.
Since when is sacrifice your best option?
Since Jesus did it for you.
It’s the best option for your marriage, family, friends, for all those people who will be eulogizing you some day.
We can’t renew our own minds. It’s done to us.
Passive phrase.
God does it to us.
And, when God renews your mind it becomes more like His.
“May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling all I do and say.” (v.1)
Then we will see things the way God sees them and be more likely to do what He says.
That puts us in lock-step, walking closely w/ Him.
The result is fruit.
If you want an apple, plant a seed and what comes up?
An apple? No, a little stem.
5-7 years before the first crop of inedible fruit on the tree.
8 + years of cultivation will yield the first edible, usable fruit.
Love, joy, peace take time to cultivate as our minds are renewed by God.
When I said I know you want the respect of your adult children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews I didn’t need to give you a list of behaviors.
You know what needs to be done. I don’t need to make you behave. I need to remind you to earn their respect.
You know what to do and you know you want it.

God’s choices, not your own

Can you know God’s will for your life?
Paul says you can right here.
God’s will is His chooser for your life. Replace your chooser w/ His chooser.
In a situation where you need to make a good choice. Your old mind would choose one thing. Your renewed mind would choose something else.
Take off the old things, put on the new character.
Take off the immediate, put on the valuable
Take off the natural, put on the important.
Just like refinishing old furniture you have to strip off the old paint before you can apply the new and expect it to look like new. (Or old of you antique it)
I’d be thankful if I made better decisions.
In order to make better decisions than I did before I have to evaluate things differently than I did before.
Test and approve. Make a critical examination.
What is God’s will. Just follow. Where? Relax, I’ll show you.
It’s good: Good for you and what you want.
It’s pleasing: Deeply satisfying and fulfilling
It’s perfect: Grown up, mature.
It’s what God would choose for you. And, what results is the fruit of the Spirit, Love, Joy, Peace, etc.
Don’t be afraid to surrender every area of your life.
Don’t be surprised when you realize that what you really want for yourself is virtually the same as what God wants for you.
I’d be thankful if I got what I want.
I’d be thankful if I made better choices.
I’d be thankful if I have what God wants for me.
What do you want?
Make your pursuit of Jesus your highest priority and you will get everything you really want.

Applications

Eulogies

Take the time this season to write several eulogies from the perspectives of different people that you want said at your funeral.
You will discover what you value.
Then, choose your life’s priorities accordingly.

Stay in step

Stay in step with Jesus.
The only way is to stay in constant communication w/ Him.
Study His word, pray and listen, spend a quantity of quality time w/ other believers who have the same priority.
Follow, don’t try to lead Jesus.
When we pray it’s easy to slip into the habit of telling Jesus what you want Him to do.
Listen for what He wants for you.

Peace, Joy, Love

Peace on earth.
Joy to the world.
1 John 4:8 NIV
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
If you know Jesus, you know peace, joy and love.
At Christmas, Jesus didn’t come to bring them, He came to be them.
As we enter the Christmas season don’t lose Jesus in all the stuff.
Make Him and Keep Him the priority this season and you will be as fruity as fruitcake.
Don’t be afraid to surrender every area of your life.
Don’t be surprised when you realize that what you really want for yourself is virtually the same as what God wants for you.
I’d be thankful if I got what I want.
I’d be thankful if I made better choices.
I’d be thankful if I have what God wants for me.
What do you want?
Make your pursuit of Jesus your highest priority and you will get everything you really want.
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