Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Big Words: Will

"Our Father, in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debtors,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

What's the Will of God?
"God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to have a family of children conformed to the image of his Son." - John Piper

Many of us, when we think about the will of God have a vague idea of what this means. We think of specifics that God might want us to do - what college should I go to, what career does God want me to pick, or what sport does God want me to play? I think that type of thinking sometimes misses the point. 

What I mean by that is that it may be true that God wants a specific thing for us: a job, school or something like that. But what is always true is that God always wants us to be conformed to the image of Jesus.

The quote above says this really well - God want a family that is being conformed to be more like Jesus.

It's Not a Fight
So many times, I grew up thinking of the will of God as a fight with my own will. And so I didn't pursue God's will. 

Here was my thinking, just an example... I really like Courtney. I wonder if God's will is for me to be dating Courtney? What if it's not? What if God wants me to dump Courtney? Well, I don't want to do that! I think I'll just hope that's not God's will...

Beyond sounding a little bit silly, there's so much wrong with that line of thinking. First of all, I was so scared of what God's will might be I never actually talked to God about it. I never really searched to see what God's will was, either in prayer or with others.

But more importantly, I missed the chance to actually do God's will, which was never really against me. I imagined that it was a fight, between my will and God's will. But IT'S NOT A FIGHT...


Relationships are all about learning how to join your will to another's. And so, when we pray "Your will be done" we can think about that as a question. Or a set of questions leading us into relationship with God.

What Question Should We Be Asking
Well, here are two great questions to start with:
          1. Can what I want help conform me and others to the image of Christ?
          2. How can my circumstances help conform me to the image of Christ?

For the first question, if the answer is no, then we'd be best served to drop whatever we're doing. If what we want is going to hurt others in some way, or if it is going to lead away from peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc. then we'd be acting in our own best interest to not do it.

But if the answer is "I think so..." to the first question, then the second question becomes a great prayer. Take that prayer to God. Talk about it with your community of faith. As you do, you'll find you become more like Christ.

So, Tennis...
Certainly tennis has the potential to help us become more like Christ. There are situations, frustrations, and more that can give us opportunities to respond with love, joy, and peace. So, since the answer to the first question is yes, then let's spin the second question in some interesting directions.

- How can your that forehand that you consistently spin into the net help you become like Christ?
- How can a challenge match that you've won help you become more like Christ?
- How can an overhead smash into your opponent's shin help you become more like Christ?
- How can a lost 40-love lead help you become more like Christ?
- How can a frustrated and cursing opponent help you become more like Christ?
- How can a long, hot, humidity-filled practice help you become more like Christ?

A Prayer
Our Father, you are good and you bless us in all circumstances. You allow us to partner with you to find ways of hope, joy and love. We ask You to form us, to take each disappointment and each highlight and give us the perspective of Your love.  We ask that as that happens, we will have the disposition of Christ more and more, and become a servant to the world. Thank You. In Jesus name, amen.

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