MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Who You Are, Not What You Are

August 1st, 2006 Visited 2133 times, 1 so far today

Which WayWho was better equipped than David to teach us about God’s leading? (I guess you could answer “Christ”– being very God Himself, but I mean of the human with the capability to sin variety.) David started out on the fields of his father Jesse. From there he was chosen to be king of Israel, but only after all of his brothers were passed over. From there, he conquered Goliath at God’s leading, and then spent years being chased by Saul. He went into battle and expanded the empire, and even after he sinned and was paying the penalty, the Lord was still leading.

It is obvious that no man can be lead of God without a saving relationship with Him. That’s why Jesus came– so that we could have fellowship with the Father. Apart from this relationship, we wander in darkness. Ephesians 4:17ff talks about how Gentiles (or those without a relationship with God) walk in blindness, in darkness. Why are they such? Because they only have their internal feelings to guide them. What is right in their own eyes is what is right to them. Tell me that is not what we see a lot of today!

The next concept that we must master when seeking God’s will according to the passage is that of being submissive to that will once it is made known. In Psalm 25:9, David underscores this point. Why would God want to respond to a call for His leading when He knows you won’t follow it. J. B. Phillips, who is the author of a commentary on Psalms has this illustration:

A young believer comes to a counselor for guidance as to whether she should marry Sammy. The counselor asks: “Is he a Christian?” She says: “Oh yes. He’s a wonderful Christian. He never goes to church or reads his Bible but he’s a wonderful Christian.” The counselor says “If he’s not a born-again believer God says that you should not marry hi. The Bible says you are not to be unequally yoked together with an unbeliever.” But that is not what Maggie wants to hear, so she goes off and marries Sammy anyway. Maggie might be saved herself but she certainly was not submissive to the Word of God. Any guidance in her case is not only useless, it is incriminating.

In verses 10 and 11 we see two basic principles of guidance. A lot of times we have our priorities backward, and that is why we have trouble seeing God’s will as it is presented before us. In verse 10, David emphasizes what is important to God– that we keep His covenant and His testimonies. There’s a powerful truth here, if you’re looking for it.

You see, God is not really all that interested in what you are as He is in who you are. God is working His will in you for His purpose– to bring glory to Himself. He uses instances in our lives as trials, as times of testing and proving, and as times to bring glory to His Son. Look back through the Old Testament and you can see time after time where a circumstance was brought into someone’s life for the purpose of testing their character, and molding them into what they should become.

You can see it in the life of Job– where Satan challenged God about Job’s character, and God proved that Job was of upright heart. You can see it in the life of Abraham– God tested him first with the promise of a son and when Abraham failed that (to an extent) He tested him again with the life of that son. Look at the band of disciples that Jesus gathered unto Himself. People from all occupations, from all walks of life, all banded together by what He saw in them– their character and who they would be.

We get very focused on the decision that is at hand– what should I do with my life? Where should I live? Whom shall I marry? God’s asking instead for us to be people of character, people waiting on Him. He’s given us a blueprint for living a godly life– that’s part of the yoke that is references in Matthew 11:29 where Christ says that we are to take His yoke and He’ll take ours. You see, God is basically saying, “You concern yourself with living a life pleasing to me and let me worry about all the things you used to concern yourself with.” (Of course, he probably wouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.)

Part of this is making sure we are right with Him. We need to confess and get any sin out of the way between us and Him. If we want Him to lead– if we want to take advantage of the promise and to live a right life so He will guide– we have to get that sin out of our lives.

We need to have a right attitude toward the Lord. We need to fear Him (Psalm 25:12-13). David states that it is the person that fears the Lord that God will guide. When Israel was in the wilderness, the Lord guided the people with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. That guide was useless when the people did not have their eyes affixed on it, though. It was also that cloud that covered the Mount where Moses ascended to gather the Ten Commandments– and the people trembled as the lightning and thunder crowed around it. They had a fear of the one who was in that mountain.

We also must be willing to spend time in the Word (Psalm 25:14). There will not a chapter and verse that will tell you your street address no matter how you parse it, but the Word will contain direction and how to please God. Phillips again states, “There is no situation we can face in life which is not covered by some specific word of God.

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  • Mary says on: August 1, 2006 at 9:54 am

     

    That’s the thing about seeking God’s will. Most assume if they have “enough faith” their dreams will come true. (‘Expanding their territory’ by claiming it for instance) God’s will is for us to be like Jesus, which most definitely involves testing, as we’re refined and purified. Of course He wants to bless us, but we’re sometimes not in the word enough to know what His will looks like.
    Rejoice in everything?
    Be anxious for nothing?
    Count it all joy?
    It’s like the Jews who couldn’t accept Jesus’manhood. They expected a King to take over and sit on an earthly throne. We may not want to accept what God’s will is for us, and like Jonah, we set our own self-directed course and a result is that we miss the blessing altogether.
    Thought provoking post!

  • DLOGAN says on: June 9, 2007 at 11:07 am

     

    You see, God is not really all that interested in what you are as He is in who you are. God is working His will in you for His purpose– to bring glory to Himself. He uses instances in our lives as trials, as times of testing and proving, and as times to bring glory to His Son. Look back through the Old Testament and you can see time after time where a circumstance was brought into someone’s life for the purpose of testing their character, and molding them into what they should become.

    And as I tell my son, God’s more interested in how we respond when we mess up then he is that we do everything right. David is a great example. He messed up a lot, yet he was “a man after God’s own heart”. Every time he messed up he turned towards God. You could easily say that Saul messed up less than David… but he never turned back to God, and as a result he lost his throne. His only claim to fame is his relation to David.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 11, 2007 at 10:37 am

     

    Ok I think I will have to comment twice on this one. Because before I could even read the post I noticed this statement “I guess you could answer “Christ”– being very God Himself, but I mean of the human with the capability to sin variety”. Do you believe that Jesus COULD NOT sin??

    I have serious issues with that statement. Jesus COULD have chosen to sin. Otherwise He could not have been the second Adam. It was the fact that He was both God AND fully man, that He could pay the price for our sin. He was “tempted in every way” as we are, and yet was without sin. If He could not sin, then there is absolutely nothing spectacular about that.

    Perhaps, you don’t really believe what you said, and were merely trying to point out that David was not “very God of very God”, but ONLY a man.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 11, 2007 at 11:02 am

     

    I agree Mary, these days people think that being “in His will” means life is hunky dorey! That is just not true at all. Jesus was tested and tempted. Paul and EVERY apostle was tempted and tested, and had to endure severe trials and afflictions. The walk of a Christian is not supposed to be easy, but it IS supposed to be God honoring. God receives glory every time we succeed in the face of trials. Everyone, even the sinner will suffer trials and temptations, the promise for the Christian is that we can have victory, and that we can have joy during those times.

    Our pastor was just speaking on this on Sunday. One thing he said was very true and yet funny he said, “We should not be surprised to find ourselves in the midst of a trial, instead we ought to be surprised to find ourselves without a trial.” I turned to Doug and said “Hunny! Why is everything going right?!” But of course everything isnt going right. It has taken me a while to really learn that when things are going “wrongly” that doesn’t mean we aren’t following the Lord’s leading. I can think of two times when this was the specific test of our lives.

    When we were first married we were clear that the Lord was asking us to remain in NC and attend the church we were currently at. We didn’t have jobs, I was pregnant, Doug spent almost a year finding a decent job. But we knew that was what the Lord wanted. We were obedient. We have since reaped many blessings. Currently, we are following the Lord’s leading regarding moving again. It required us to renovate the house. Was that easy? Did it go smoothly? No. We kept looking at each other and asking “are we sure this is what the Lord wants?” I think that the answer remains “yes”. We shall see how it turns out, but it sure is a lesson in obedience.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • MInTheGap says on: June 11, 2007 at 2:12 pm

     

    The question of whether or not Jesus could have sinned is not as easily answered as I think you want it to be. 🙂

    On the one hand, how could He really have been tempted if there was not the possibility of Him actually sinning?

    That’s a good question. The only problem is that it all depends on what sin actually is.

    Sin, as we know, is missing the mark. What’s the mark? Holiness. God-likeness.

    If Jesus could sin, that means that He would not have been a perfect sacrifice, He could not have accomplished God’s Will– in fact, He would fail at being God.

    Yes, He did become sin for us on the Cross– but that was placed on Him. He had to be a perfect sacrifice. He could not sin, because it was not God’s will for Him to sin.

    This is one of those complex problems like election vs. free will that I don’t know that we’ll completely understand this side of glory.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 11, 2007 at 2:49 pm

     

    No no, I COMPLETELY disagree. If Jesus COULD sin but didn’t He would still be a completely perfect sacrifice.

    I think that Jesus being BOTH man and God, could do as He pleased, as we know the Lord could do anything He desired. What is sin? Is it missing the mark of holiness?? Or is it disobeying the will of God? This is the most important question for this conversation. We need some scripture that explains it. You know any??

    Respectfully,
    Mrs. Meg Logan
    (gotta take the kiddos outside to play for a bit and will return)

  • MInTheGap says on: June 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm

     

    Check out this page asking Could Jesus Sin. Basically, He could not sin because He was God. Let alone the fact that if He did sin, He couldn’t be the sacrifice for our sins that was predicted in the Old Testament, He couldn’t save us, and that would me the Bible was false, and it goes downhill from there. So, in essence, He could not sin because the Bible could not be false, and He had to die sinless.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 11, 2007 at 4:39 pm

     

    MIN,

    “Let alone the fact that if He did sin, He couldn’t be the sacrifice for our sins that was predicted in the Old Testament, He couldn’t save us, and that would me the Bible was false, and it goes downhill from there.”

    This is really a moot point MIN. No one is disputing that IF Jesus were to have sinned He could not have been the Christ, and the whole Book would be a crock. It makes no sense to logically deduce if Christ COULD have sinned, by saying that IF He had the whole thing would be a lie. That is backward logic.

    Then you say “So, in essence, He could not sin because the Bible could not be false, and He had to die sinless.”

    This is also backwards logic. The Bible COULD be false, it is a book after all, we know it ISN’T false because Jesus DIDN’T sin. But just because He didn’t doesn’t mean that He couldn’t.

    Ok, on to your link….

    Ok I agree with all the opening (pretty much), until we come to this “Could Jesus have sinned in his humanity while being God in the flesh. We need to understand that he was one person. If his humanity was separate it could have willed to do just as Adam did. While He had the choice to sin He did not have the ability.”

    How can one have a choice without ability? To have a choice and no ability is no choice at all. When we witness Jesus in the Garden sweating blood… why was this choice so hard to submit His body and will to if He had no ability to sin? Jesus was born without a sin nature. Absolutely agree. He was born with the sustaining force of God, and God WOULD NOT sin, but COULD NOT, no I just don’t see that.

    “He was not able to go against God’s will because He did not have the nature of sin to have that possibility.” This statement is false because part of it is false. Let me clarify, the first part is false, therefore the whole thing is false, even though the second part is true. A> “He was not able to go against God’s will.” (FALSE) because B>”He did not have the nature of sin” (TRUE), to C>”have that possibility” (FALSE because A is False).

    I’m going to have to pick this up again later. I have more I would like to reason out with you regarding this link. But I have wifely duties to attend to now.

    I look forward to your response though!
    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • MInTheGap says on: June 11, 2007 at 5:11 pm

     

    How can you say “God WOULD NOT sin, but COULD NOT, no I just don’t see that.”? They are close together. For example, I could jump off the Empire State Building. I won’t, but I could. Is it truly a temptation for Christ then to yield to a temptation that is against His very nature, is contrary to God’s Will, and was against the prophecy regarding Him (since all of God’s prophecies must come true)?

    You accuse me of backwards logic, but it’s just because you don’t have a stronger argument. The basis that you’ve given is nothing more than you believe it and “How can one have a choice without ability?”

    I have to agree with an earlier statement that you made where you said it is a question of God’s will. God’s sovereignty. This relegates your thesis to the questions like:

    – Could Judas have chosen not to betray Jesus?
    – Could Peter have not denied Christ?

    Things were prophesied about these people, and since there were prophesies they had to come true.

    Can someone learn something from being given a choice that they will not take? Certainly. There is a line somewhere between cannot and will not. Jesus was close to that line, but did not cross over.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 12, 2007 at 1:01 pm

     

    I think that it must have been a very large temptation to do His will, otherwise we would not have seen Him praying in the Garden and sweating blood. If it were no real temptation He would not have had to wrestle with it. Neither would He have said “nevertheless not my will but thine be done.”

    I don’t think that prophecy is a good example of bending free will. God knows all… does that mean we don’t have any choices? When something is prophesied that doesn’t mean that we never had a choice, it just means the Lord knows ALL it is a demonstration of His power, especially in foreknowledge.

    Are there times when we have no choice? I think yes. Because the Lord says He hardened the heart of Pharaoh and so I don’t think he really had a choice. But did God the Father compel obedience in Christ? I don’t think so. I think it must have been a very hard thing having both the perfect character of God and the flesh of man. It must have been hard, or else Jesus would not have struggled as He did in the Garden of Gethesame.

    Jesus said “no one takes my life from me, but I freely give it.” God didn’t take Jesus’ life from Him, Jesus freely gave it in obedience to His Father.

    Regarding the temptation of Christ, God the Father knew He (Jesus) would not sin. Just as he knows I will. Jesus still had a choice to make, and so do we. He could have used His Godly power to do His own will. But He didn’t He made Himself low, humbled by being in the flesh of man, submitting Himself unto death. Submission implies will, He chose to obey, He was not compelled to.

    I hope I’m not upsetting you. I don’t mean to come across rudely. This is a fascinating discussion and study btw.

    MML

  • MInTheGap says on: June 13, 2007 at 8:54 am

     

    Do you think that Jesus was actually afraid of what would happen to him physically while praying in the Garden, or is it more likely that He was fearing the separation from God. I would think that, for God the Son, the thing that was more terrifying than the way that He was going to die– which would surely be physically painful– was that in a few short hours He would be separated from God. Remember His cries from the cross– one of which was “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

    Was there a temptation not to do the will of the Father? Was it a real temptation? As Christ would say “for this reason was I born.” He came to do it, and yet realized what it meant. How an infinite Being relates to a moment in time, I don’t think we’ll ever know, but there is no way that Jesus was not going to the cross.

    The problem with prophecy is this– regardless of whether you believe in foreknowledge, election, etc.– if God saw it and prophesied it, it will happen. Therefore, since it will happen, there is no choice for any person to do anything but what He saw. This is where the conversation veers off into whether any of us have a choice…

    Don’t confuse Jesus’ flesh with mortal man. Jesus did not have a sin nature– He was fully God and fully Man. He may not have liked what He had to do, He may have agonized over the task ahead, but at no point was He not going to do it– which is where the question of temptation comes into play. He was not going to do it– just like there are some things that are thrown your way that you’re never going to do (or at least won’t at this time).

    Again, back to the line between could and would and how close they are.

    Jesus said “no one takes my life from me, but I freely give it.” God didn’t take Jesus’ life from Him, Jesus freely gave it in obedience to His Father.

    I don’t know if the context of this quote would bear up to your interpretation. I think that the more accepted analysis reveals that He is saying that no human agent takes it.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 13, 2007 at 11:07 am

     

    hmmm… ruminating over here…

    Mrs. Meg Logan

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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