Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Will of God
Happy Veteran's day
What is the will of God?
When we say "Will of God" what do we mean and what is a faith based logical approach to determining it. Faith is a logical leap but once there, there is a logic within in the faith. The original acceptance of a power greater than ourselves is not logical in the normal sense but it is logical in certain paradigms. "Will of God" is not a silly notion. And it is not a blame tool. Just for a moment consider some seemingly off the wall notions.
Independent contractor. Most people get this concept. It is someone who does work for someone else who is not an employee. There are certain rules about what an independent contractor is as opposed to a servant/employee. Having their own hours of work and getting the job done their own way without supervision is another. Taking full responsibility for the outcome and the method and any errors is part of a "contractor's" area. In other words independent contractors work when and how the want to work and get work based upon results and marketing not strict adherence to rules. Sure they serve a master, but they do it independently. Can you see where a preacher might be headed with this concept? I bet you are way ahead of me.
Did God make us employees or independent contractors? Both serve a master or they find themselves without a place. The point here is that God does not dictate to us how to get things done. He tells us what he wants done and then it is up to us. We are independent contractors. We do not get a check for just showing up. So not everything we do or that happens is God's will.
So how do I make such an outlandish statement as to say "I know God's will"? Turning it over is a good place to start. Let us see where that leads us.
Are you bad to the bone?
Good friends and family
What does it mean to turn one's will over to God?
This is a cool bit of scripture from one of my favorite guys of the Bible. His name is James and he writes:What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? And then a little later he tells us: Submit yourselves, then, to God.
We get a clear picture there. Within each of us and within all of us we battle in order to get our way. Any good kindergartner can turn on the tears in order to get a cookie. And most folks will give them one to stop the crying. Same child who is not getting parental attention will "become hurt" for attention, hugs and boo boo kisses. Well not around here. The small child is not an independent contractor. He is more akin to an employee. We care more about how he gets the job done than the finished product. He gets a hug when he is playing happily by himself. He gets a spontaneous cookie just for having a great attitude. The learning curve here for getting your desires is strict and calculated to not teach negative behavior but to enforce good.
We are God's children but he will teach us appropriate behavior and at the same time leave us to our own devices to reach the result. In small children the time span must be immediate. In adults the time span for work equals gratification must be more lengthy. Just like a contractor.
So turning one's will over to God is logical if one wants to grow. We must submit to God in order to be open to learning appropriate behavior. Just like the child submits to the "games" of learning appropriate behavior because his life is in the hands of his parents, so be it with us and God. I use the word games to reveal a somewhat truth of the matter not to diminish the seriousness.
You should be saying to yourself right about now: "Yes but". But how do I know what is God's will? That is the crux of the matter isn't it? Would you like a formula? No!
Do you know your God's will?
Do you think your God loves you?
Getting dinner ready
OK so maybe my ZZ Top music doesn't fit so well with this sermon, oh well if you look into may be surprised.
We know God's will for us.
If you view your God as a tyrant. Then follow that to the hilt. Really no matter what you do, He will just act in whimsy and no amount of favor that you curry will make a real difference. He will act in self interest and you are but a pawn. Too bad for you.
If you view your God as a strict disciplinarian. Then get your religious text and follow it to the letter. Good luck with that. Over 600 laws in the Bible. You break one you pay the price because that is how strict disciplinarians operate.
Personally I would not like to have either one of the above as a father. Much less a Father. (check out Matthew 23:9 on that if you want to follow laws: And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. - discussion for another time)
So in order to get a handle on your God's will for you, you must get to know your God. The rest is easy. As for me, I had to go through infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adult hood and middle age before I really got to know my mom and dad. About the same for me to know my God. It ain't like you can read a book that someone wrote and "know" them. It takes a history and a lot of time and experience with each other to really get to know "someone" else.
So my God is one great God. He is firm. I like firm. Firm is someone who cares deeply for you and will self sacrifice the easy way for the right way for you. Firm is also something you can hold onto when on a slippery slope.
Is there a fine line between making up your own God and imagining one Great God. Very much so. Religious texts that describe God in other than generalities are suspect. And literalists trying to construct a one God view for everyone are pushing the limits of reason. I can read my Holy Book, the Bible, and show you numerous places where God is basically described and defined as Love. So my God was not wholly just made up of my imagination. And yet leaves room for the individual's notion of love. So my God is love.
Now the will of a loving God is to do love. I know and can understand that will. Can you be as confident with your God?
So there we have it.
We are under the guise of independent contractor status. We don't deserve a paycheck for just showing up. There are no automatic employee benefits. We have this darn thing called free will. Our every action is not dictated. The will of God is up to us to define and to carry out. This is not religious anarchy. You have to decide what God is your master. My faith tells me there is only one God with a capital G. It also tells me that a part of God is in all of us.
So for me, and you may get something out of this, I know very well how to act in Love. Do I always? No, I don't. In my older age do I try? Does it make me Holy when I carry out the will of God? No. Do bad things happen on earth? Yes. Is that the will of God? No.God is not the puppet master. While we are to serve God we are not employees with a time clock and specific directions. We are left to our own devices.
I hope you find peace in this piece. I hope it finds you striving, or as us old timers like to say, trudging the happy road to your destiny. It would be good to think of all people having a loving God who's will it is for them to love.