Operating in the Lord's Will

On our last blog post (Understanding the Lord's Will), we taught what His will actually is. As scripture states in 1 Corinthians 15:24 (NASB), "Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to ourGod and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power." We found out God is working through time to restore the Heavenly Community to Himself; through purification and sanctification, that is brought through the Lord Jesus Christ. To state the ultimate Will of the Lord plainly, it is this: I will be your God, and you will be my people. That is what our Heavenly Father wants and is working to accomplish. We, as the body of Christ, and believers should be cooperating with Him in His goals. Knowing that God has a greater will, that is His main focus, allows us to be able to understand how the finer points of His will work together; and, how we fit into that role. So, in other words, what His Will is for healing, for salvation, etc. Christians or believers should know or understand what the will of the Lord is, so that we can come into alignment with His Will and cooperate in carrying it out; which is the focus of this teaching: Functioning, cooperating, or operating in His Will. Looking at the human element; or what is our role in His Will.

So the question is: How then do we function, cooperate, or operate in His Will and begin to flow with Him? Psalm 40:6-11 (NASB) describes Jesus as our pattern and example and His heart's desire to be obedient to our Heavenly Father. [d]Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have [e]opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is [f]written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O Lord, You know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation. You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; [g]Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. Jesus lived out his time on Earth with a single desire: To do His Heavenly Father's Will. Phrased another way, or In other words, I will be your God and you will be My people; and in turn, bringing the Lord glory, completion, the Will of the Lord, and doing it in the way that God says that He [The Heavenly Father] wants it done. Functioning in that way (Total obedience) brings Him glory; instead of doing what we want to do, and then saying, hey, Lord bless it. Or, in other words, get in line with us and our plan.


Now, the Apostle Paul encourages us and explains this exact principle, Jesus' desire or delight to do the Will of the Lord, and the restoration of the heavenly community in Philippians 2:5-11 (NASB), when he [Paul] exhorts us to, "Have this attitude [a]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [b]grasped, but [c]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [d]on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." So one thing that we must do in operating or cooperating in the Lord's Prayer perfect will, is to empty ourselves of self will.


If we seek to save our own life, or the things that we value or are important to us, then we will lose it. Jesus clearly states that for us in the gospels. Think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, and what words He spoke. He acknowledged the agony He was feeling concerning the pain and the suffering He would experience. But, then He also quickly dealt with his flesh by submitting Himself to the Father, vocalizing and saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done" Luke 22:42 (NASB). And, He did that as often as He needed to; to make sure He stayed in alignment with the Father.


Every event or incident in our lives is an opportunity to seek our Heavenly Father for His Will in the situation. We should be seeking Him, being instructed by Him through His Holy Spirit throughout our day. Even as we are doing seemingly mundane things, because we are developing Godly habits or patterns for when extreme or serious situations arise. It's just as important in the small things, in the small details, as it is in the great things. Whether it's in our lives or concerning the lives of the people around us, or as parents, the lives of our children; we should always be listening, seeking, and desiring to hear the opinion and the perspective of the Father through the Holy Spirit. Also, we should choose instead of focusing on what we want to focus on his will, and how he wants to accomplish it. God is very specific about His goals. He doesn't make random choices. He wants us to ask Him, not only what He wants to do; but, how He wants to do it, and His timing for that thing as well. Which means: we should ask the Holy Spirit for his help in knowing or perceiving what the Will of the Lord is in whatever situation or circumstance that we face. And, we should ask him first, before we do anything else; not after we've tried everything else. Asking Him or seeking Him first, makes those things sure in our life. And then once we ask Him what He wants to do, then we should obey Him. It doesn't make any sense to ask a question, and then ignore the answer that He provides. Even if it's not an answer that you particularly like or want to hear; make yourself obey, make yourself come into alignment. Paul talks about how he discipline's his flesh that after he has run, he won't be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 NASB). God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit only see things accurately. So this means only their judgment is accurate, and absolutely the truth. We never have to be afraid that if we listen to them we are going to be wrong, disappointed in the outcome, or that some aspect of what needs to be taken care of is going to be missed or ignored. He is perfect in everything He does; and in all His ways. So we should just listen.


Now let's look at a situation which that came up during Jesus' time on earth. And, the story we're going to look at is is Lazarus found in the Gospel of John. We're going to look at that story, because many know it's Lazarus being raised from the dead. But, in it we are given an example of how these exact principles that we were just discussing looked in Jesus's day to day life. And, He [Jesus] is the pattern or example of how we should approach every situation in our life. So, beginning in John 11:1-3 (NASB), "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” Now in these first few verses, we are made aware of a dire situation; the full extent of which we don't actually realize until verse five. Nevertheless, it's a situation that we all either have or will inevitably face at some point in our life. A situation when someone very dear to us isn't doing well; and through some sequence of events, they've become ill. Eventually, we're made aware of that point or circumstance that they find themselves in. Typically, when these times occur in our life we're busy trying to process the information coming in our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions; and wrap our minds around it, in order to be able to provide a response in line with acceptable societal norms, on par with the severity of the situation. However, as we look at the next few verses, we find that that was not Jesus's response at all.


So let's take a look at John 11:4-11 (NASB). But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Then after this He *said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” Christ responded with insight concerning the outcome of the situation, insight which could only have been revealed and provided by God through the Holy Spirit. It wasn't something that he reasoned, or plan or came up with on his own. This is what he got from the Lord concerning the situation. And, this could only happen because Jesus was listening to the Holy Spirit and seeking guidance for every moment of every day from the Lord, His Father, God the Father.


Jesus only lived to do the Will of the Father, so that the Father would be glorified. He knew the situation would be used for the glory of God, after the Lord told him that. And, Jesus remained in God's perfect Will, at all times, by choice. That was His choice, to do the Will of the Father. It's not something that was just easy for Him, or just automatic because He was God in the flesh. It was something that He learned in practice; and willingly and faithfully did. It was Jesus' Will to obey the Will of the Father. He was so focused on the Father's Word, He didn't even have to fight the natural response to run to the aid of someone who was in dire straits; demonstrated by waiting for two extra days, because that's what the Lord told him to do. How many of us would have run to Lazarus, the moment we heard about a situation? And the next question I would ask is this, what would we have done if we did run there immediately? What would anyone do besides sit there taking up space, seeing people go through a range of emotions, and going through a range of emotions yourself? How could the Lord possibly be glorified by this? Jesus stayed where he was. Because, that's what the Lord asked him to do.. And, He completed the task assigned to Him by the Father.. He didn't stop early, or come shy of completing the objective and the goal, that was, dedicated in purpose by the Father where He already was. But Jesus waited until He got the answer about his role from God, concerning Lazarus in that situation. And, when He received it, there was nothing that could stop Him from completing the next phase of what the Heavenly Father commanded.


The the example we see in Christ Jesus perfectly demonstrates our role in carrying out the Lord's Will; what the Lord is seeking to accomplish, and how he has chosen to go about carrying it out. I know that, in the flesh, it might seem like we have a better idea, and a more convenient plan that's faster. And, maybe you feel like it might get the job done better. But, I believe that's a trick of the enemy, because it's bound to fail. Everything that we do and carry out in our flesh can only fail. But, when we abide in Him, when we abide in The Truth, in Jesus Christ, we can't help but be successful and succeed. The perfect will of the Father accomplishes everything,


And, we see exactly what we're just talking about here. The example in Christ played out in John 11:12-16 (NASB) says, "The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [a]recover.”13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of [b]literal sleep.14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”16 Therefore Thomas, who is called [c]Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”


Now when we look at the situation with our natural eyes, or what's staring us in the face, and give those things higher authority, we are unable to see what the Lord is directing us to do; which is His Will in the situation. And, we can see that laid out here. The disciples ask if Lazarus was actually sleeping; and the paraphrased response is: No, no, he's [Lazarus] is actually dead. But, He [Jesus the Christ] knew his role in the perfect Will of the Lord, which was to go raise him from the dead. Again, Christ never went by what His eyes saw, or by what His ears heard; that's plainly stated in Isaiah 11:1-3 (NASB). "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear."


Christ also knew or understood the purpose, of the Father. And, that's important as well, Yes, you got the big picture. And, He came in line with it; always. That's exactly what again, was stated in Isaiah 11. Jesus received everything, guidance and direction concerning what to say and what to do, from God, His Heavenly Father, through the Holy Spirit. That is how He knew and understood his role, and what was required of Him. He never substituted His Heavenly Father, or the given purpose or role, for what anybody else thought He should be doing. This applies to each and every one of us. And, we can trace this all the way back to Adam.


In Genesis 2:19-20 (NASB) God gave Adam instructions concerning his role, and his purpose. "Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the [p]sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the [q]sky, and to every beast of the field, but for [r]Adam there was not found a helper [s]suitable for him." Included in those instructions was naming everything on earth. Whatever Adam called, it was its name. The Lord didn't correct Adam, or go behind him [Adam] and change the name. Much in the same way this applies to Jesus; because He, Jesus, is the last Adam. And, as we read in Romans 8:29, "He is the firstborn among many brethren." Paul continues to tell us throughout Scripture, Christ is the last Adam (Romans 5:12-14 NASB). "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— for [h]until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a [i]type of Him who was to come." 1 Corinthians 15:45-47, also says, "So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, [n]earthy; the second man is from heaven."


Now you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with me? And here's the answer: We are to bring everything, everything before the Lord. Everything must be brought before the Lord. And, whatever He calls it, or what He says about the situation, that is what it is. Jesus did this exact thing with God, the heavenly Father, which is why Jesus repeatedly stated throughout his ministry that he didn't speak of his own initiative. We can look at John 12:49-54 (NASB), "For I did not speak [s]on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” What about John 14:31 (NASB)? "But so that the world may know that I love the Father, [d]I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here. So, whatever He says to speak or to do, that's exactly the thing that you and I must say or do.


Marry Jesus's mother recognized this exact principle, as fact, when she brought the concerns of the wedding party to Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter five. She told them to do exactly what He [Jesus] says. This is the same principle that we need to live out (apply) in our lives and trust Him. Trust the Lord as He's only way we can accomplish that. That's right. Hebrews 11:6 (NASB) says, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Trust that He knows, and can and will do exactly what needs to be done, to get the job done. Completed in a way that is thorough, and entire, and not lacking in any way.


John 11:37-44 (NASB) says, "But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, [i]have kept this man also from dying?” So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus *said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, *said to Him, “Lord, by this time [j]there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the [k]people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done". Something to know about God's character, and Jesus, is that it bothers Him when we don't trust Him. It wasn't pity for the family; it was their unbelief that troubled Jesus. Why would you cry over someone that you know was going to be raised from the dead? It doesn't make any sense. And, the All Knowing God knew that; and Jesus, who had come and spent time with the Holy Spirit and the Father, before ever even coming to Lazarus's grave knew this as well. Jesus plainly stated the purpose of the trip to the disciples before they embarked on the journey. But, if we don't understand His purpose, we won't be able to trust Him.


It is so important for us to spend that time with the Lord. And, it doesn't always take a long time to get the information. But, there has to be a development of knowing his voice, development of that intimacy that comes in true relationship; where we are anticipating Him speaking to us, anticipating the sound of His voice, and we recognize Him immediately. Getting to the place where we truly know Him, and love to hear the counsel that he provides to us; as opposed to seeking our own will and trying to go about things in our own way. Because, only when we do that, follow His instructions to the letter, will we see the results. The God kind of results that we so desperately want to see in our lives. And we can look at this situation and ask ourselves; well, what what were the results? Or, the fruit of obedience to the perfect will of the Lord? And yes, Lazarus was raised from the dead. Absolutely. But, there was way more fruit than that. Especially in the lives of the people that day, if we jumped ahead to John 12: 17-19 (NASB) we can see some of that; when Jesus is entering into Jerusalem. It says, "So the [e]people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. For this reason also the [f]people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this [g]sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.” This section of scripture occurs, when Jesus was riding a donkey into Jerusalem; before He was crucified. But, Jesus, because of his total obedience to the Father's perfect Will lead people to follow the Lord.


There's two other things that should to stand out to us: First, the people who witnessed the miracle are still following Jesus, they left their homes and all they had to follow Him and continued to testify of the miracle that the Lord had performed through Him, which in turn caused other people to want to meet Jesus. Second, the Pharisees, along with their plans to mitigate the impact of Jesus's earthly ministry, were completely turned around. And, the situation was used to showcase the glory of the Lord. The crowds that followed Jesus and proclaimed His Name, grew to the point of the Pharisees stating the world has gone after Him. In other words, as a result of Jesus's obedience, others were able to come into their own personal relationship with the Lord. More people were drawn in, and had the chance to believe in Him, because He followed the plan and perfect will of the Lord. He [Jesus] didn't approach the situation from a human or fleshly perspective; which is limited. The human perspective is always limited, because it does not account for or include the things of God. The humanistic approach can only at best, provide limited results. That is why we are to let God direct our paths; because, with Him limitless results is what will be achieved. Limitless results that changes people's lives, actual and lasting change for the better; that only comes from the Lord. And, look at how many people were impacted. All because Jesus listened only to the Father through the Holy Spirit, and did what was pleasing to God in His Heavenly Father's sight; not what everyone else thought Jesus should do. And, that's the patter and example set forth throughout His ministry. How many more people's needs were met during Christ's earthly ministry, with the plan of God, than what would or could have been met if Jesus had done things according to what He naturalized saw, or by what others were trying to direct his actions toward, or even how they desired Him to handle Lazarus' urgent situation? As it pertains in our own lives; if we really love someone, Christ, but also others, then we should do what God tells us to do, or say concerning them. That is the only way you can be sure things will work out for them.


When we're concerned for people, don't take matters into your own hands. Let's practice putting everything into the Heavenly Father's hands, and ask the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Captain of our Salvation; what needs to be done, what He would ask us to do, and what our role is to manifest His outcome and the best concerning the people that were concerned about. We want them to be received and welcomed into His arms because He's their Lord, He's the only one that can keep them; and we want God's best for them as well. So that's a habit that we should practice lovingly. Jesus saw incredible results during His earthly ministry, and we too, can have the same kind of results that He did; results that are to the Glory of God, our Heavenly Father. Results that are unstoppable. This can only be accomplished by remaining in God's perfect Will. Not His permissible will. Not his Okay, or goodwill. Because, when you're in His permissive will, it can be a dangerous place due to the proximity of to being outside of the perfect Will of God. Which means that we've departed His leading and guiding in our life, and have been left to the flesh to accomplish things; and, that's definitely not what we want in any circumstance. We want God to intervene for us and say only the things that He tells us to say and doing only those things He tells us to do, nothing more and nothing less; not adding to his instructions, or taking away or halfway doing any portion of the instructions He's given us. And, definitely not trying to overlay our plans or our will, over His Will.


As it pertains to us concerning Jesus being the last Adam and the firstborn of many brethren; allow everything in your life to pass before Him, so He may call it or name it, whatever it is. He [Jesus] is only going to tell us the truth. So bring it to him to receive insight, wisdom, and understanding; as well as guidance. Know that the outcome and results will look like what He wants them to look like. And most likely, it will not be what you thought it was gonna be; or turn out the way you thought it would. Because, we're limited in our thinking as humans, and our perspective is often very small; while Jesus sees all, He knows all, and He is everywhere - all at the same time. And, the best part - He never fails. So just know it's not going to be what you think it should be, or how you think it should be carried out, and is not going to go according to your plan; and begin to be okay with that. Trust Him and be okay with it being what he wants it to be. He said, I will be your God and you shall be my people. Be assured for certain that if you follow Him, His way and His will, He will get the glory out of our life. He will be pleased with the outcome of the situations; and he'll be pleased with you. And the glory of God is what it's all about; right? That He would be glorified. Amen Lord; bless Your Name, Jesus.

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