Quit obsessing about God’s will for your life.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2022
Quit obsessing about God’s will for your life. Okay? Let’s talk, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, you’ll want to open it to the 16th chapter of Acts. We’re in the process of a rather long study of this particular book. And we’re looking at verses six through 10, where the apostle Paul is led directly by the God or the universe. If you were listening yesterday, we went through the four of five ways that God leads. He leads through the Bible. He leads through prayer. He leads through circumstances. He leads through other Christians. And finally, sometimes he leads directly. And you get this idea, I can remember Bill Bright, and I miss him a lot. When Campus Crusade for Christ, now CRU was out in California. And Dr. Bright invited a number of us to come to California and spend some time planning some of the future events in which Campus Crusade, then called, would be involved. And, I heard him say no less than three or four times, I was praying last night and God impressed me with… And then he would say something that would blow you away. In other words, Dr. Bright was saying, God is moving in my heart and in my head in a particular direction. And I need you guys around me to make sure that the voice I heard was the voice of God. How do you know God’s will? Well, that’s the way, generally God reveals his will, but mostly through circumstances and other Christians and Scripture. I was one time and it was insane, invited by the board of a large seminary to be the president of that seminary. I thought, well, they have good taste, very fortunate to have somebody like me. And that’s when I started thinking about what it would be like to have the prestige of being the president of a large seminary. I mean, I was going down all kinds of roads. And you need to know that I ran away from kindergarten, an academic situation like that was not something that God had in the cards for me, but I was dreaming and I was doing a speaking engagement somewhere and Rusty Anderson, who’s now in heaven, my closest friend, found out where I was speaking and what I was thinking and he called me, and the phone rang in the hotel room. And Rusty didn’t say, how you doing brother or he didn’t say I’ve got something I need to tell you. He said, he opened with these words, who in the world told you could be a seminary president. Are you a fruit cake? Are you crazy? You’ll make a fool out of yourself. You can’t do something like that. And I brought two letters, one saying, go ahead with it to the board and the other withdrawing my name. And I said, Rusty, thank you, I don’t want to talk to you anymore. And I hung up the phone and then walked down the hallway, put that letter in the letter box, withdrawing my name. Did I do the right thing? Yes, I did the right thing because circumstances and God speaking through my brother gave me the truth of what God’s will was in my life. Okay. If you’ve gotten all that material, let’s go back to that text, that’s Acts 16: 6 through 10. And you might want to keep your Bible open, as we refer to it. And I’m going to make some observations on God’s will, from that particular text. Observation number one, a lot of worry Christians have about doing the will of God is superfluous. God is sovereign and his will is going to be done, no matter what you do or what you don’t do. I don’t know, well, throughout this text, you don’t find Paul wringing his hands and whining about not knowing God’s will. Why? Because Paul assumed, presupposed, if you will, that God was in charge and that he belonged to the God who was in charge. You, can know that too. I remember when my friend, Ken Nanfelt and I were doing a conference together, Ken was the singer and I was going to be the teacher. And I said to Ken, I said, Ken, I’m not prepared. I’m going to have to, I’m going to have to wing this. I, didn’t have time to prepare, so I’m going to have to just do the best I can. And then Ken started laughing and he put his hand on my shoulder and he said, Brown, are you worried that you have to depend on God, that’s horrible. God may just mess this thing up. And then he said, let me tell you something I want you to remember, if God is going to mess things up, he’s going to do it with the Pope or Billy Graham and certainly not with a peon like you. That was some of the best advice I ever got. And as a matter of fact, that evening when I taught, God used it in an amazing way and all of the worry and the anxiety and being upset about not being prepared was wasted because God is God and he does as he pleases and he does it right well. I spend a lot of time speaking to seminary students and at conferences where religious professionals go. And one of the things I love to tell them and they wince as do I, is this, the first thing you ought to remember is that God doesn’t need you. He was doing fine before you came along. He’s going to do fine long after you’re gone. And when you’re gone, you’re not even going to leave a hole. So, go and get a milkshake, lighten up, trust that God’s will would be done. And a man called me one time. In fact, our receptionist was in tears and she said, Steve, I’ve got a man on the on the phone and he’s really angry. I don’t know what to deal with him. Would you, would you talk to him? I said, sure, send him through. So, I picked up the phone and the voice on the other side said, Dr. Brown, do you realize millions of people are in hell because of you? And I, you know, I didn’t know what to say. I said, you’re kidding? I didn’t know I had that kind of power? And that made him angrier. And then one thing led to another. And he eventually hung up, but I’m not responsible for one person going to hell. I’m not responsible for one person going to heaven. I’m not responsible for history. I’m not responsible for politics. I’m not responsible for God doing his will. I’m not God. I’m not anybody’s mother. And I don’t have to feel that the weight of the world is on my shoulders and you don’t either. So, you make a mistake. You think you surprise God, your plans, and you’ve heard this so often it’s become a cliche. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. That’s true. And, you can relax a bit. It’s going to be okay. God’s will is going to be done. And when Jesus returns, everything that was important, that needed to be done will have been done. Every soul who was supposed to be in heaven will be in heaven. Those who are lost and you were not responsible, will be lost. And so, just be who you are. Be faithful to the place where he has planted you. Be a Christian who smells like Jesus. And let God worry about the rest. Let me give you, well I’ve got to move on or we’re never going to get through this material. Observation number two, Christians who want to know God’s detailed plans for their life are wasting their time. God always gives you enough to take a step, but not to make an entire journey. We used to teach a principle in our Born Free seminars. You take the first step, God will take the second step. And by the time you get to the third step, you will know it was God who took the first step. And the reason he doesn’t reveal the detailed plans of the future is because he wants us to learn to trust them in the present. To say, I don’t know the future, but you do. And I can trust you with my future and the future of the place where you have called me, but I know enough to take the first step. I know enough to keep moving in this direction. I know enough, as Paul did in this text, to not sit around and wring my hands, but to begin to move. You take care of the rest. You think about that. Amen.
The time just goes by fast, right? Thank you Steve for that freeing message. We’ll resume our tour of Acts 16 tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us then. What do you do for a living? Well, that’s a common question. We ask it of strangers because someone’s job, we think, goes a long way in defining who they are, but the problem of defining ourselves by what we do instead of who we know means that our self-worth is tied to our performance, instead of who we are as a son or daughter of God. Well, our good friend, Justin Holcomb wrote about this in a special mini-book called appropriately enough, What do You do for a Living? If you ever struggle to understand your identity and value apart from what you do, we would love to put this mini book in your hands, for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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