Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wanting To Be Someone Else

Tomorrow morning at DPC we'll be considering the third petition of the Lord's Prayer: "your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

The original plan was to consider this in two aspects: OBEYING GOD'S WILL & ACCEPTING GOD'S WILL... but the part about obeying God's will kept growing & growing, until it pushed the part about accepting God's will right out of the sermon.

So... I thought I'd mention a few things on the subject of accepting God's will here on the blog...

Just last weekend our conference speaker made some humorous references to how he always wanted to be like two of his older brothers, who were big college football stars.  But he himself was simply not built in the same manner as his brothers.  It was a dream that just wasn't going to materialize, Rudy notwithstanding.

Have you ever felt like that?  Why can't I have his height?  Her skin?  His build?  Her hair?  His humor?  Her intelligence?  His personality?  Her parents?  His athleticism?  Her eyes?  His voice?  Her nose?... the list goes on & on, world without end.  Even those people whom we are tempted to envy have their own lists like this, believe it or not.

But part of what we mean when we pray "your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" is a gentle correction to this corrosive, cancerous spirit of envy in our hearts.  God could very well have made me with that height, that skin, that build, that hair, etc.

But he didn't.  It was not his will to do so.

Will we accept that?  And gladly get on with faithfully being whom God made us to be?

Or will we continue to pick ourselves sore?

Submitting to God's good, acceptable, and perfect will (Romans 12.2) means—among other things—accepting how God designed us, physically.

We have dozens of strengths!  And we also have dozens of things we are tempted to regard as weaknesses.  But have the courage and faith to cast off the world's shallow ideals for beauty and image.  Embrace God's good, acceptable, and perfect will for who you are.  You were wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139.14).

Robert Coles, a Harvard sociologist, tells of meeting a little girl who scribbled out a self-portrait in crayon.  She pointed to it and said, "That’s me, and the Lord made me.  When I grow up my mama says I may not like how he made me, but I have to remember that he did it & it's his idea!"

Take another look at how the Creator made you.  Your features, your talents, your personality, your limitations, your body.  "Lord, this is who you made me to be.  Your will be done.  May I honor you fully and wholeheartedly, as the person you designed me to be."

Of course, if you are sinning in a way that's deforming whom God made you to be, turn away from that with all your heart.  Venture everything on the full, frontal assault against your own sin habits.

But as to your created, divinely-designed features... you were wonderfully and fearfully made.  God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect.  Worship.  And be thankful.  Do not complain about God's design—what is included, what is not included.  Be humble, be meek.  Be you.

There's an old Christian covenant renewal worship service in which believers would pray the following prayer together.  Pray it and grow wise.  It can be applied in a thousand ways.

"I am no longer my own, but thine.  Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.  And now, O glorious and blessed God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thou art mine, and I am thine.  So be it.  And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.  Amen."

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