Obeying God Shapes Your Destiny
The idea of fashioning our lives. We choose whether we let our desires rule us or God's will mold us.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doin’ alright today? Well I’m fine, thank you. This is one of the days when I got up very early before daylight so as to be able to speak with you in the early morning hours, because I know that so many of you listen early in the day. And I kinda like to feel like you do. (Laughs) There’s nothing worse than having somebody yelling at you in the morning.
Somebody who has done his broadcast let us say in the afternoon, or the evening, or whenever. And he doesn’t have the same outlook on life as you do. Yes of course I know some of you listen just before you fall asleep. And some of you have written me that you fall asleep during the broadcast. Well, don’t let that bother you. I have preached in many people’s sleep. (Laughs)
I had one old gentleman many years ago when I was still in college and pastoring a little church. I had one old gentleman who routinely would fall asleep during my sermon, the reason being that he had a job that required him to arise and be on the job at 3 in the morning. So by the time he got through with his work and got to church, he was tired. And he would just fall sound asleep. But I fooled him, because I found out that when I lowered my voice, subconsciously he became aware that perhaps I was finishing the sermon, and he would wake up. So that several times during my sermon I would lower my voice as though I were about to, to conclude, and he’d wake up. And then I’d preach on for a while. He caught on after a while, and we both enjoyed a hearty laugh about it. (Laughs) Well, all of that grew out of the idea that some of you may fall asleep now and again, and that’s all right.
Dr. Ironside, of beloved memory, he was for many years pastor of the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago — remember him? He used to say, “If you get drowsy while I’m preaching, just take a little nap. You’ll feel better when you wake up.” (Laughs) Oh yes. Well! We are together, and you and I are looking at the Word of God. I love these times when we share from God’s Word because the miles just drop away and although we’re may, we may be separated by half a continent, we’re together with our blessed Lord. And that’s great, isn’t it?
We were looking, the last time we got together we were looking at 1 Peter 1:14. “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts or…” — that’s our word — “desires in your ignorance.” Now the points that came out there — just a little review here before we go on. The points that came out there was, were: You are God’s child and He expects you to obey’ — that’s the first thing. You do have a responsibility for building your life, fashioning yourselves. You can choose the basis on which you fashion and sculpt and, and, and mold your life. Greek verb is ‘schematize’ like a blueprint. Not making the blueprint for your life we, you could say if you want to change the figure of speech.
All right, you do have the responsibility for the blueprint of your life and the way it develops, fashioning yourselves. The options open to you are either to give in to your desires — desires that get on top of things — epithumia means a desire that’s up on top of everything else — a, a predominant ruling desire, you know. That’s what drives people. When you have desires that are strong enough they rule your life, don’t they —and fashion your life? Well that’s, that’s the word he uses there.
So he says, “You have two options. One is to let your desires rule you and get on top of everything, or to let God’s holiness characterize your life. “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy.” Here you have a, the beginning of a number of comparative phrases that begin with the word ‘As’. “As obedient children,” “As He is holy, so you be holy.” Over in chapter 2, “As newborn desire the sincere milk of the Word.” Verse 5 in chapter 2, “As living stones…,” “As strangers and pilgrims” — verse 11 in chapter 2. And, “As free…” — verse 16; and so on. We’ll get to that one by one as we come down the, the list. And it’s a glorious, blessed list, indeed!
What God says to us by way of a figure of speech that helps us compare His expectations to our present condition. So it’s, “As obedient children” — that’s what’s to characterize our father-child relationship with God. Obedience is what God wants, not argument, and not half-way obedience. Remember King Saul who was said to completely eliminate the Amalekitish people because as God said, Their cup of inequity is full. I’ve waited on them for 400 years, and now it’s judgment day for them.
Well, Saul kept all the good stuff, all of the booty — cattle and, and good things — and brought the King back so he could gloat over him because in those days you, if you won the battle, you, you brought the, the head person — the king or the, or the person in charge — back as a captive so you could gloat over them. And Saul did that. He disobeyed God, and as a result he lost the favor of God and blessing of God throughout his lifetime.
Partial obedience is disobedience. I had to learn that as a child when coming in from play — I lived for a while on a farm in Ohio. And I’d be out playing or doing whatever farm boys do, and in the process would get dirty and dusty. And then it would be time to come in for a meal. And I would hear somebody’s voice calling, “Robert!” And I’d come in.
Well, on the back porch of this farm home there was a, a wash shed they called it. Which was precisely what it was. It was just a shed. And on one side of it there was a, a, a long shelf on which was a washbasin and generally a, a pitcher of water that had been drawn from the well, and an old bar of home-made soap — they made their soap in those days from, from bacon drippings and lye. And so there it was. And a long roller towel that had generally seen better days.
Now, when, when I came in the greeting that I usually got was, “Wash up for lunch,” or, “Wash up for supper.” Now being a boy, I took the shortcut. And I would, I would put the minimum amount of water on my face and just get the front of it — can you see the picture there? A little boy who was dirty and dusty, but who did the de minimis kind of a job with a little bit of water on the front part of my face — my eyes, and my nose, and my mouth, and my forehead, and my chin. The rest of me, untouched, in its pristine dirtiness.
Well, I would then wipe that part of my face with the roller towel and, and march on in to the kitchen. Somebody — whether it’d be my aunt Esther or someone — would take a look at me and say, “Robert, you didn’t wash.” “Oh yes I did!” Now, you didn’t!” And they would generally take me by the lobe of one ear — I tell you that’s a great way to propel a child. One of my ears is longer than the other as a result. (Laughs) They would generally take me by the lobe of one ear and propel me back in the direction of the washbasin, and see to it that I washed under my chin, and behind my ears, and the back of my neck, until when I finally got through with the ordeal, I was clean, and I had obeyed the command, “Wash up!”
Well I guess we’ve all gone through that. At least you, you fellows have. You’ve… The girls are naturally more neat, aren’t they? Maybe they don’t have to be taught those lessons. But I did, I assure you. Partial disobedience is not enough for God, nor is it enough in any situation in life. Obedient children. And you and I have the option of building our lives depending on whether we let our desires rule us, or God’s will rule us. Obedience to God moulds your life. Obedience to God shapes your destiny. It’s a tremendous concept, isn’t it?
Now, what is the standard I’m to follow? It says, “As He which hath called you His holy, so be ye holy.” Now the fact is that God has called us. You didn’t choose Him, He chose you. “Here in His love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” says John. You didn’t choose God, He chose you. He called you. “As He which hath called you His holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” It’s an old English word, ‘conversation’ is an old English word meaning ‘lifestyle’ — the way you live. So it’s, “Be you, you be holy in, in the way you live every day. Why? Because the Bible says so. Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Now, how do I approach this? That’s a big order. And many people go astray with the idea that, that it’s the kind of way you look or the way you act in certain situations. Well, that isn’t true. Holiness in an inside matter, not a matter of cosmetics. It’s an inside matter. It has to do with your heart. And so that’s where I have to start. Desire has to do with, with your heart. And holiness begins in your heart.
Now how do I do that? “Thy word have I hid,” said the psalmist, “that I might not sin against Thee.” The best prescription for a person who wants to be holy is to start living in the Word of God. I, I see so many people who are, who are basically correct in their behavior because they’ve been conditioned to be that way. They are polite, let us say. And they are courteous, they are generous, they are thoughtful, they are, they are co-operative and, and, and they’ve been conditioned to be that way. And they think that is what it means to be a real Christian.
Well, nothing can be farther away from the truth. There are many pagans that are nicer than a lot of Christians I know. Holiness has to do with an inside attitude toward what God wants. As obedient children, holiness has to do with obeying what God wants. Now how do I find out what God wants? Very simple. Get in His Word. And this is more than just a casual reading of His Word. You read it, you meditate on it, you memorize it, and then you, then you live it out. That’s the way you approach the Word of God.
“Thy word have I hid in my heart.” God’s blessed man of whom the psalmist speaks. He said, “But His, His, His joys in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” He’ll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. God’s blessed man is one who is living in the Word of God. If you want to change your attitudes, get into God’s Word, read it, think about it. That’s our word ‘meditate’, meditate on it, memorize it. You ought to memorize a verse a week at least. And then share it with other people. Well we get at this again before we leave it the next time we get together.
Dear Heavenly Father, may our lives be shaped by obedience to Your Word, in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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