2011-09-23 - Livin' 24:7
Part 1 ~ Orginally Preached 2008-10-08 ~ Updated
There are two basic philosophies on how to live your life. A lot of people have a live for the moment mentality. This life is lived for yourself - for all that you can get out of life. But the scriptures offer another way.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This second way is a life lived by faith for God. There are many differences between these two ways:
Living for the moment may bring to mind words like pleasure, short-term, temporary, self-serving, and 24/7 (as in I want to do what I want to do 24/7)
Living for God may bring to mind completely opposite terms like fulfillment, long-term, eternal, others-serving, and 24:7.
Living life for the moment gives no thought for the consequences. Living for the moment sounds pretty good so why is it important to live for God? Why should we care to live for Christ all the time? Scripture contains the answer.
John 10:10 - I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly
Living for God gives us this life - the abundant life - that Jesus is talking about. You may notice that I have 24 colon 7 included in the living for God. It's because I have found four verses that all have this number in common that I think form good principles to live our life by.
I once read, "It's impossible for a worthwhile thought to enter your mind through an open mouth." Please quit talking amongst yourselves and pay attention to these four points. I really do believe they are solid pricniples to live our lives by.
Jeremiah was preaching to Israel after Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and had taken away people like Daniel. From one of those sermons, comes our first principle verse.
Jeremiah 24:7 - Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
Ask God for a heart for him. Be his people. It all starts with the heart. God works from the inside out though we often work outside in. The first principle is Have a willing heart. "Life does not consist in what a person possesses, but in what possesses him." David was a man after God's own heart and when he was busted about his affair with Bathsheba, he confessed and wrote Psalm 51. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) To develop a heart for God means to fall in love with God. Get to know him. How do you do that? Read your Bible and pray. Don't be an idiot because an idiot can't understand squat (Proverbs 24:7a - Wisdom is too lofty for a fool).
Even Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the need to follow something when he said, "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how." Unfortunately, he followed the wrong why of pleasure and spent his final years insane from complications of an STD. Let God be your why. Like Paul said, "To live is Christ" - live your life for Him.
On Mount Sinai, God writes the Ten Commandments on tablets. After he spells out the law Moses brings it before all the people.
Exodus 24:7 - Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient."
Read the Bible and obey it. The second principle is "Choose to obey". It is not enough to have a heart for God if you don't let it guide your actions. Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22) I spent a handful of years living for the moment, trying everything that I thought would make me happy. My life was chaotic and unstable but obedience to God creates stability. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus says those who hear his words and obey build a house on solid rock that stands up to all life's storms.
How many know who William Booth is? He is the founder of The Salvation Army. When William Booth was in his 80's a man named J. Wilbur Chapman asked him for his secret to success. "He hesitated a second," Dr. Chapman said, "And I saw the tears come into his eyes and steal down his cheeks, and then he said, 'I will tell you the secret. God has had all of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, men with greater opportunities; but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart, and a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with the poor of London, I made up my mind that He would have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.'" Dr. Chapman said he went away from that meeting with General Booth knowing "that the greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender". Get a vision for what God can do through you and run with it. To gain your life you must lose it. To keep your life you must give
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted