2 Corinthians 4:7-10,13-16 – “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
We are the jars of clay – fragile, breakable and disposable – containing the treasure because the power of the gospel is what matters. If otherwise, the jars may regard themselves as more important. It must be clear that the great and all surpassing power we need to endure all things is from God and not ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, help us to embrace our weaknesses so that your power is manifested through us. May we go from weakness to weakness, to remain as vessels of your power, so that we are ever weak and ever strong in Christ.
John 15:5 (NLT) – “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) – “But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“He, the strong, works in me, the weak. I, the weak, abide by faith in Him, the strong. And I, in the self-same moment, know myself to be weak and strong.” – Andrew Murray
“The error of this mode of thinking is that people estimate their weakness, not too highly, but too meagerly. They would still do something by the exercise of all their powers, and with the help of God. They do not know that they must be nothing before God. You think that you have still a little strength, and that the Father must help you by adding something of His own power to your feeble energy. This thought is wrong. Your weakness appears in the fact that you can do nothing. It is better to speak of utter inability, for that is what the Scriptures mean by the word ‘weakness.’ ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ ‘In us is no power.’” – Andrew Murray
Prayer: Father, I come to you and first acknowledge my utter inability to do anything in my own strength. In my inability, may I receive Your strength– the power that comes in fullness with the resurrection power already living inside of us and say, “For when I am weak then I am strong” in Christ.
John 15:12-13,16-17 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.17 This is my command: Love each other.”
Jesus’ central purpose and desire was to do the will of the Father, which was and still is to love us, this world, and bring everyone into his salvation. Love is central to the will of God. Love, love one another, lay your life down for them…this is the will that Jesus chose us to experience and live out.
Love changed us and gave us life, and this is the love that will continually change us and draw us deeper into the will of God, our loving Father. When we are loving God (and this is the ultimate outcome of our worship), and when we are loving those around us, we will find that we are much more in the will of God, we are walking deep in the adventure, learning the wonder, and the power, and the beauty of living God’s will for our lives.
Love and loving is central to the will of God. Loving is clearest way of knowing that you are in God’s will. Worship and love. These bring us into the adventure of the Spirit-filled life, walking with the Spirit into the will of God. These are some of the primary means through which we can walk, live, and experience God’s will today. And as we press on to the things that lay before us, the things to come, the future direction that God has planned for us. His will unfolds right in the midst of these decisions and moments to worship and love.
Today, let’s simply pray through each of the passages from the last five days: Jeremiah 29:11-13 ; Galatians 5:16, 25; Romans 8:26-29a ; Romans 12:1-2; and John 15:12-13,16-17. And let’s ask the Spirit to fill our lives with worship and love.
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. 2 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.”
As we offer our lives to the Lord in worship, as we center our lives on knowing God’s heart and His ways we, “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2). The Holy Spirit is at work in us making this our reality!
In and through a life of worship we are transformed. When we begin to live out each day as worship to the Lord – our work is worship, our classed are worship, our raising of kids is worship-filled, etc. Being in God’s presence, living in worship will change us. That is how wonderful and powerful God’s Presence is. And it is in His presence that we know His will more clearly and more deeply.
Let’s that the Lord for His mercies in our lives and the many ways He has rescued us, forgiven us, and changed us. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to increase His activity in the area of worship in our lives, reminding us to live worshipful in all that we do. Let’s scan our days and tasks today and decide to make them all worship unto the Lord.
Romans 8:26-29a (NIV) – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…
As Christians who are filled with the Spirit, it is the Spirit that is fully engaged and working in us to live out God’s will for our lives today, now, in this time and task for our lives. He is the one leading into the adventure of the Christian life. The decisions we make today to walk in the Spirit, to submit to His leading will profoundly affect our next year, our next steps in life, and the future to come. These affects will have Divine impact on our tomorrows, and that is the only true impact that will give us life – life to the full.
Romans 8:27 says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in ‘accordance’ with the will of God. Another way to see this is that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us to come into the will of the God. That not only is there agreement with God’s will, but that we are living and being conformed to the image the One – Jesus Christ – who perfectly lived out God’s will. As the Spirit cries out, our heart and lives are brought into that reality. In some sense because of the Spirit’s cries and passion for us, we find our hearts agreeing and walking in step with this cry and passion.
As we learn to discern the Spirit’s voice, His desires, and His ways in our lives, we will be more and more able to follow Him into the right/best way, at the right time, for the right reason that will most glorify God, to enjoy Him, and enjoy his ways for our lives.
Let’s us spend time in prayer asking the Lord to teach us to listen to Spirit’s cries, promptings and ways in our lives. Let’s ask that we become all that the Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
Galatians 5:16, 25 (NIV) – “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
As Christians, our understanding of God’s will is much more ‘dynamic’ than ‘static.’ Static means just pursuing an outcome or desire we believe we are to have or be or do or accomplish. Whereas dynamic implies that our lives are moving with the Spirit and the immediate plans of God in our present circumstances. In this dynamic understanding of God’s will for our lives we “seek to always being open to what God is doing…now.”
The Christian reality, this Spirit-filled life of love, is not necessarily set on a destination, it is lived out in an hour by hour relationship with the Lord and His people. It is dynamic by nature because the will of God is relational at the core. Seeking the will of God is first and foremost realized in walking, living, and keeping in step with the Spirit.
Understanding God’s will for our lives in the framework of His direction doesn’t imply that we don’t seek destination or a particular outcome. We should pray and wrestle with the future plans or decisions (or outcomes) until we find the deep Spirit-led resolution in our hearts. For in those honest and vulnerable moments before the Lord, perhaps with the encouragement and care of His people, we will be more clear and able to live fully today, making the most of every opportunity that Lord has planned for us now. May we never sacrifice the precious experiences and steps of the Spirit today for the sake of our unresolved worries and dreams of tomorrow.
Today, let’s do spend time in prayer for the decisions/outcomes we need or desire to have God’s resolution in. Seek the Lord, pray continually and be open to His answers, changes in us, and desires.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
God has plans for us…and they are good. And one of the ways that the Spirit impacts our lives is by guiding us and teaching us God’s will. And let’s face it, God’s will doesn’t always turn out the way we wanted it to be. In fact for all of us, what we plan or think is God’s will for our life now, probably won’t be exactly what we think it is going to be, and as counterintuitive as it may sound, that is probably a really good thing if your life is in Christ and you are seeking His will.
We were never promised a ten-year plan of action; instead, God promises over and over again in the Bible that he will never leave or forsake us. God also promises in Jeremiah 29 that as we seek Him, as we pray in this way for our lives, He will answer, He will invite us into all that He is doing. And this isn’t just an intellectual understanding or knowing, this is a Biblical ‘knowing,’ which means to be relationally known, to know through experience. This is God’s heart for us to know Him and His wonderful or wonder-filled plans and will for our lives each moment.
Frances Chan wrote, “God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions.” [Francis Chan, Forgotten God.] It’s our hope that instead of always searching for “God’s will for my life…future tense,” each of us will learn to seek passionately after “the Spirit’s leading in our life today.”
Let’s seek the Lord in prayer today asking for a renewed passion for seeking the Spirit’s leading in each moment and task in our days. Let’s ask for hearts that our open to letting go of our ‘will and agenda” and being resolved to embrace God’s purposes for our next five days. Ask for love and obedience in what God desires for our lives.
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) – “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 8:28 (NLT) – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV) – “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
“The reason Paul gives for saying that this hope will not disappoint us is that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. It is because of ‘God’s love made palpable in the experience of the Spirit (v. 5b)’ that we have confidence and do not lose hope.” [Colin G. Kruse, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: Paul’s Letter to the Romans, page 231]
Because we have such assurance of God’s love being testified in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we can walk through whatever difficulties or challenges in life with much hope. We know that God causes everything to work together for the good, which is for his glory in our lives. And, our troubles are momentary as we look forward to the eternal glory that “far outweighs them all.”
Prayer: Father, as the Holy Spirit testifies of your love in our hearts, we trust that the hope we have in you will never disappoint. No matter what we are facing or have to walk through in life, we place all of our hope in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Anchor” written by Ben Fielding, Dean Usher (Hillsong). Link: https://youtu.be/87GYkLfQQ-8
Romans 5:6-11 (NIV) – “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
“And why not rejoice in God? His people have been reconciled to him by the death of Christ and experience daily deliverance from evil through Christ’s resurrection life, while the end to which they confidently look forward is no longer the outpouring of divine wrath but the unveiling of divine glory. And from first to last they ascribe their blessings to God’s love. It was because of that love that Christ laid down his life for them when they were weak, sinful and totally unattractive. Human love will go to death itself for those who are its natural objects, but hardly for the unlovely and unloving. Yet this is where the love of God shines most brightly: God confirms his love to us in the fact that Christ died for us while we were in a state of rebellion against him. So entirely at one are the Father and the Son that the self-sacrifice of the latter can be presented as a token of the love of the former. The death of Christ is indeed the supreme manifestation of God’s love. What a perversion of the divine character it is to imagine that Christ died for human beings in order to make God love them! That a change in their relation to God is brought about by the death of Christ is clearly taught here and elsewhere; but no change is involved in the reality of God’s love.” [F. F. Bruce, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: Romans, pp. 125-126]
Prayer: Father, how great, how supreme is the love you displayed through Christ! Thank you that through the death of Christ, I have been reconciled to you and now confidently look forward to the unveiling of your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“No One Like Our God” written by Ed Cash, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman. Link: https://youtu.be/gTc5s4DqEDo
Romans 5:5 (NIV) – “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 8:15-16 (NIV) – “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.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
“The NIV’s ‘God’s love’ may also be translated as ‘the love of God’, and this may be understood in two ways. First, as our ‘love for God’ — the presence of the Holy Spirit then creating in us a love for God. Second, it could be understood as ‘God’s love for us’ — the Holy Spirit filling us with a sense of God’s love for us. Two considerations support the latter: (i) In the immediate context Paul goes on to describe the outstanding nature of God’s love for us (Romans 5: 6-11, esp. 5:8: ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’); (ii) In Romans 8:15-16 Paul says, ‘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”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children’. In this case the Holy Spirit creates within believers a sense of their filial relationship with God, a sense of God’s love for them as his children. “ [Colin G. Kruse, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: Paul’s Letter to the Romans, page 231]
Prayer: Father, thank you that Your Spirit testifies in my heart that I am your child. Would you fill me once again with your love through your Holy Spirit? In Jesus’ name. Amen
“No Longer Slaves” written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case, Jonathan David Helser. Link: https://youtu.be/f8TkUMJtK5k