With the new year upon us, maybe you have made some deals with yourself: going to the gym, getting up early, not eating chocolate, etc. But when we make deals with ourselves, it is easy to find deal breakers to justify breaking our promises.
We can look for loopholes in our promises to the Lord as well. We may hear from Him and decide to be obedient, yet we then look for deal breakers so that we dont have to do what God has told us to do.
In 2011, let us put our deal breakers aside. Let us either be committed to God or not committed. Pastor Ricky examined four things that challenge us to break our deals with God.
1. A race against time. John 6:16-21
In 2011, we can decide that time is not going to be a deal breaker.
In John 6:16-21, Jesus disciples are on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee in stormy weather. Though they row, and row, the conditions are such that their boat seems stuck. Then suddenly, they see Jesus walking on the water. When they take Jesus into the boat, suddenly they reach their destination.
It could be that Jesus miraculously made the boat reach the shore in an instant, but it could also be that once Jesus had stepped into the boat, the disciples had a change come over their perspective. Suddenly, in the presence of the Lord, they were no longer afraid and their traveling time no longer mattered.
Like children in a hurry to grow up, sometimes we just need to slow down. We may be in a hurry for things to happen, but God isnt. If He steps into our boat and reassures us, then time is irrelevant.
2. Location. Location. Location. Mark 8:27-30
In 2011, we can decide that location is not going to be a deal breaker.
Have you ever used a GPS? Its funny to think that sometimes we think we know better how to get somewhere than an amazing device that sends and receives signals from a satellite in space. Of course, machines can be wrong, but the point is that the GPS can see every street and every route some that we dont even know exist and yet we often think we know better. We can be that way with God as well. It is sometimes too easy for us to trust our own tunnel vision than His broad and eternal perspective. In whom would you rather trust when you are lost?
In Mark 8:27-30, Jesus and His disciples are on the road to Caesarea Philippi. As they walk, they are most certainly passing places of pervasive pagan worship. In passing these, Jesus does not even mention anything about the idols or false gods that are worshipped in these places. Rather, He focuses on the questions that are most important to Him: Who do men say that I am? (v. 27) and But who do you say that I am? (v.29)
Jesus doesnt want us to be concerned with every stop along the way to our destination. He wants us to trust that He will get us there even when we are in the darkest places. He wants us to declare Him as our Savior and continue to follow Him.
3. Dont be so sensitive. Luke 9:57-62
In 2011, we can decide that our emotions are not going to be deal breakers.
Luke 9 tells the story of three men who desire to be Jesus disciples, but their emotions prevent them from following after the Lord. One turns away because Jesus has no one home base. Another feels he must honor his family by taking care of the burial traditions for his father. The last wants to say goodbye to his family members. Jesus meets these emotions in a way that may seem harsh, but we know that Jesus character is not cold and unfeeling. Actually, in this time, there was no greater honor for a Jewish man than to be called to be a student of a Rabbi. But these men allowed their emotions, rather than Christ, to lead them.
4. Pleeeeeeease, God! Mark 5:1-20
In 2011, we can decide that our desires are not going to be deal breakers.
If we pursue sinful desires (contrary to Gods Word) that pull us away from Gods plan for our lives, they will destroy us. But what about our good desires?
In Mark 5, Jesus casts out a legion of demons from a man in Gadarenes, who was completely cast out of his society. In his overjoyed gratefulness, this man begs to go with Jesus as He departs, but Jesus refuses. Instead he tells the man, Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.(v. 19)
The mans desire to follow Jesus and be His disciple is a good one, but Jesus has other plans for him. As readers, we can discover that though the people in this region were originally frightened by Jesus and pleaded with Him to depart (Mark 5:17), this same town is mentioned again Mark 6 with a completely different reaction to Jesus presence:
And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. Mark 6: 54-55
Gods desires are always better for us than our own desires. Because of the mans obedience in doing what Jesus wanted instead of seeking his own desire, he evangelized his hometown and many people came to believe in Christ.