This weekend in worship, we concluded our Game Plan sermon series. Over the past several weeks, we have been talking about discerning God’s plan for our lives. From the fundamentals of the game, to being on the team, to running plays, to learning to hear the coach’s voice, to making ourselves available and teachable, we walked through very personal and very practical applications of our Christian faith.
And praise God, it has been personal! We have heard story after story of God using this sermon series to stir hearts to action. Amazing! God is at work in our church, friends!
While we probably all wish God would simply and audibly tell us what to do when decisions have to be made…who we should marry, where to live, which career path we should follow, which course of study to take in school, and how exactly to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to us by God, it is rarely…if ever…that simple.
But God does speak to us. Constantly.
God speaks through Creation. God speaks through his Word. God speaks through Jesus, the Word that became flesh. God speaks through the history of the church and her people; through the history of the world. God speaks through the oppressed and the voiceless. God speaks through our own experiences; our mistakes. God speaks through our intellect and our ability to make sense of the world around us. God speaks…
However, our ability to listen and make sense of God’s message is where things can and do become difficult. We are wanting God to simply tell us what to do, but I have never known God to be that forceful. That demanding. That simple, even. God wants us to willingly follow; to choose his will over our own. It’s a mystery if there has ever been one. God gives us many tools to help us discern the Way, such as scripture, revelation and godly counsel. But again, we must choose to look in God’s direction. We must choose to listen. We must choose to put down our nets and follow.
To complicate matters, there are conflicting voices we hear. Our own voice, for one. In addition, the world oftentimes offers a message that is contradictory to God’s. Oh, and the world can be oh-so-enticing. Packaged in prettier wrapping with the promise of instant gratification, lifelong security and all the happiness we could ever want, the world markets and sells its message. Money, power, lust, possessions, pride, clout, etc. All ours for the taking. And when we buy in, we often receive that instant gratification. That immediate high. But then, the letdown. The crash. Almost as immediate as the gratification itself. Because that gratification is an unsustainable high. A lie. We were deceived.
On the other hand, God reveals a plan for our lives that includes true purpose, harmony and unity. It allows us to take our rightful place in the Kingdom of God on earth; a kingdom that summons us to participate. God’s game plan requires our entire being. It requires all of us. No one is on the bench or redshirted. We are all in the game, needed on the team. God’s game plan requires faith, sweat, discipline, hard word, dedication, and the constant promise to live into our end of the bargain. We are told to run with perseverance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Christ…the perfecter of our faith.
So while it may be confusing and painful even to figure out what God’s plan is for your life, there is joy to be found in the journey of discerning what God wants from each of us. When we decide to look in God’s direction and start moving that way, they mystery becomes a tangible reality for us. We know in the depths of our beings we are on the right track, in God’s groove, as Pastor John stated today. Words cannot do this realization justice, but our spirits leap with joy.
As we conclude this series and move forward in 2014, I have no doubt God is stirring in your heart. Have you given much thought to God’s plans and purpose for your life, wherever you may be? Do you struggle to figure out where God is leading? Do you doubt that God has a plan at all? Wherever you might be, God is wanting to work in and through you. Will you let him?
- Perhaps God is calling you off of the bench and onto the field. (Yes, you are good enough! God is bigger than any past mistake or perceived shortcoming.)
- Perhaps God is wanting you to change positions. (Change is scary, but God is faithful! Pray and seek guidance.)
- Maybe God is even asking you to change teams. (Remember: scripture, revelation, and godly counsel can be sought. Life’s big decisions are made easier when we don’t go at them alone.)
- God could even be asking you to back up and try again. (God keeps a plentiful supply of forgiveness and mercy.)
- God could simply be wanting to maximize your potential right where you are. (Are you being the light and the salt? Can others see the love of Christ and God’s goodness through you?)
Our coach…our heavenly Father…wants nothing short of the best for each of us. Just like any loving parent, God does not linger on our past mistakes. God doesn’t focus on our shortcomings. God looks into the depths of our hearts and calls us to be the very best person he created us to be. God coaches with compassion, love, accountability, consistency. God calls us to be part of a team for his glory in the world around us.
What do you say?
Have you made yourself available for the game at hand? How has God used these messages to speak to your heart? Is God revealing a game plan in your life? Are you faithful, available and teachable?