“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
Lewis Carroll (Author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”)
This quote is similar to another quote that I have used by Zig Ziglar, “if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” We would all like to know where we are going and why. Whatever direction we choose to take or whatever we’re aiming at in life comes from our own desires, wishes, will, or our “why” if you will. “Why” may be the shortest question ever invented, but it is the most important. Our “why” drives everything that we do and are. It is our identity, our state of consciousness, and our existential reason for being. I really just wanted to be able to use “existential” in a sentence. Our culture is driven by a host of “whys” or reasons for being, but for a Christian God is our reason or “why” for existing.
Last week, we discovered that God has “given us everything we need to live a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). While he may not specifically tell us who we are going to marry or what career to choose, He has given us everything we need for a godly life or a life that pleases Him. Everything we need is found in our “knowledge of Him”. Our “knowledge of Him” comes from His word, the Bible, and our relationship with Him.
One of our main reasons for being is to worship Him. According to Jesus in John 4:24, “his (God’s) worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The Greek word for spirit in this verse is πνεύματι or pneuma. It’s also used as “wind” or “breath”. It is alive and moving. When we breathe or exist we are communicating with God. One theologian explains that when you say the name of God, Yahweh, in Hebrew, it sounds like breathing. There is a living relationship with God at the core of our being and is expressed even when we are breathing.
We also worship God in truth or ἀλήθεια (alétheia) as it is written in the Greek. We can interpret that to mean the truth that we speak when communicating with God, but it also means the truth that we have received from God. This is the “knowledge of Him” from 2 Peter. This knowledge of God or truth is revealed to us in the truth of His word and from His spirit or being. It’s more than just a book or words on a page.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV
God’s word or truth is a living thing and is actively speaking to us as we read and study it. The word for “active” in this verse is ἐνεργής (energēs) in the Greek and it’s where we get our word “energy”. When we read and study God’s word there is spiritual activity and energy that flows from it. That energy flows from the Holy Spirit who teaches and communicates with us.
This gives us greater understanding when we go back to 2 Peter. When Peter says that God has “given us everything we need to live a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”, it’s more than just academic instruction from a book. It’s also spiritual. God is actively communicating with us with every breath we take. When the wind blows, the spirit of God is moving. Billy Graham when talking about faith used to say that he couldn’t see the wind, but he knew it was there because he could feel it.
“What are you saying Robby? Every time the wind blows that’s God moving around? Every time I breathe God is there?” Uh, well, yes technically since He created it, but I’m not trying to freak you out. God is omnipresent. He is in all places at the same time. He is everywhere all at once, so why wouldn’t He be in the wind.
That all sounds great, but how do we get there? How do we harness all that and discover God’s will for our lives? How does it help us make the right decisions and choices?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV
This is just one example of how we get tuned in to God’s will for our lives or discovering “everything that we need”. If we want to find out, test, and prove what God’s will really is then we will:
- “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”. Why, because it is “true and proper worship”. It’s worshiping in spirit in truth, the way God wants. It pleases Him.
- Not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Our minds will be transformed and renewed by the truth or knowledge of God bringing us closer to discovering His will for our lives.
If we really want to discover God’s will for our lives, we have to know God. Psalms 46:10 says, “be still and know that I am God”. So, He wants us to be still, get quiet, and close enough that we can really hear Him. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is in a bad place. He has just won a great victory for the Lord, but his enemies want him dead. He’s exhausted and stressed out from his struggle against the enemies of God. The Lord comes to him and says, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV)
The Lord wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. He was in the “gentle whisper”. The King James Version says, “still small voice” instead of whisper. In order to hear a whisper you have to lean in, be still, and get close so you can hear. Usually when someone whispers in our ears it’s important, so important that know else should know what’s being said. It’s a more intimate form of conversation. A whisper or a still small voice can also be very calming in the midst of the storm. Just like the disciples in Matthew 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, and Luke 8:22–25 when they were on Sea of Galilee. In the midst of the storm Jesus gets up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” God can and wants to do that for us. He can calm the storms in our lives, but we have to be still and know that He is God. Knowing God is the key. It’s why Peter reminds us that God has “given us everything we need to live a godly life through our knowledge of him“. It’s through our “knowledge of Him” that we discover “everything we need to live”.
Love y’all! Have a great weekend!
Weekly Devotional by Robby Morris, Director of Family Ministry & Facility Coordinator @ Andrews UMC.