Point of Reference
by Fred Price
Nothing is more important for Christians than knowing God’s will. It was central even to Jesus’ life. “I always do what pleases Him.”; he is quoted as saying. ( John 8:29) Even when faced with the horrifying specter of the cross, he prayed, “...yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 It being only natural then that he taught his disciples to pray that,”...(God’s) will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”. Matthew 6:10
And yet we generally find discerning God’s will to be extremely difficult. In confronting the obstacles that are inevitable to every life, we usually say we intend to let God have his way in our lives; and then expect him to work things out according to our preferences and sense of timing. That’s not how it works. Comprehending God’s will requires an understanding of God, which is admittedly a daunting task as; “...my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Is. 55:8 But even if we never fully achieve a complete familiarity with God (this side of heaven), there is more than enough revealed about Him in His word for us to live – and live well by.
One of the reasons we find getting to know God difficult is because of the time it takes to achieve, as it’s a process of familiarizing ourselves with the character and purpose of God, making his desires our own. Our awareness of God broadens as we continue to study the revelation of Him in His word, finding new applications for it as we mature in knowledge, grace and conformity to His will. Knowledge of any subject being the greatest safeguard against error. Wise, perceptive Christians being the sort of people God can and will reveal himself to. (See Jeremiah 29:13 & John 4:23)
Mere knowledge of God, however, is not enough, as “...wisdom is proved right by her actions.” Matthew 11:19 Understanding’s ultimate purpose being to lead us to obedience. Paul summing up for the Colossian church the purpose of knowing God and his will, “...so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.” Colossians 1:10 Part of the difficulty in doing so is that the New Testament doesn’t contain a list of specific ethical injunctions or a pat answer to: ‘What is my purpose?’ (If it did, we’d question them and rebel all the same.) Rather, seeking to please Jesus in all we do is central to its message, which allows for a certain flexibility in it’s application; allowing room for the various perspectives and perceptions that exist in the church. (Certainly not randomly or haphazardly applying scriptural doctrine but allowing for differences in understanding, maturity and giftedness.)
Obedience is often characterized in scripture as fruitfulness, as in a tree whose branches are heavy with fruit, fulfilling the purpose of it’s existence. (See Proverbs 11:30, Matthew 7:16 & Colossians 1:10) Jesus, characterized by John as “the true vine,” warned that his Father, depicted as a gardener, “...cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,...” and even prunes (correcting, disciplining, shaping) those branches that do, so they will produce even more. ( John 15:1,2) One “crop” of fruitfulness is listed in Galatians 5:22 as “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Another fruitful example of obedience being the “harvest” we bring in when we convert unbelievers to faith in Christ. ( Matthew 9:37, Romans 1:13 & Galatians 6:9) Disciplined obedience, “...produc(ing) a harvest of righteousness (or right living – 2 Thessalonians 3:13) for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 Jesus specifically declaring ,“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” And then promising, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,...” John 14:15 & 15:10 His commands based in and fulfilled through love of him and those he brings us in contact with. (See Matthew 22:37-40 & Mark 12:31,32as well as Matthew 7:12)
For through Jesus Christ our Lord, we have received grace and ministry, to “...call people... to the obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5
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Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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