How To Decide
Trust God, Thank God, Ask God
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)
Where are we going? As a congregation, where are we going? What are we doing here? What is our purpose?
We have experienced a tragedy, the burning of our building. We have been devastated by this great loss. We are struggling to find our way.
There is one message that God keeps bringing back to my heart. Do you want to know what that message is? Well, I am going to tell you anyway. Focus on what I called you to do. OK, Lord. Now what was it that you called me to do? Oh yes, I remember. You called me to minister to Your people.
Ok, Lord. I will focus on ministering to Your people. Lord, do I have to do that here, with these people? Yes, son, (He calls me son because I am His child.) Yes, son, I brought you here. Minister to My people here at the Green Valley Church of God. But Lord, I miss my children and my grandchildren. Can I not go back and minister to your people there? No, son, I am not finished with you here yet. But, Lord, I do not know how to lead this church to build a building. I will be with you, son. I will help you, just focus on what I called you to do. Ok, Father, I will do my best.
God has led me to preach through Books of the Bible, most recently John’s first letter. Now He has led me to take this congregation through a study of material produced by Victorious Christian Living International. This material is called The Seven Areas of Life Training. I have been preaching on Sunday mornings from these lessons. We have been looking at those lessons again on Wednesday evenings. For those who have wanted them, I have provided copies of the lessons for you to study on your own. I usually pass them out on Wednesday evening before I preach on that lesson on Sunday morning.
You need to prayerfully go through these lessons on your own. You and God have work to do to help you become the person He created you to be. See me after the service if you want copies of the lessons we have gone through. This is how God is leading me to minister to you who attend the Green Valley Church of God. If you have taken copies and have not been prayerfully going through them, as your Pastor, I highly recommend you do so.
The first area of life was the Spiritual area. In that material we learned that We are not God. We should not be putting ourselves in God’s place. Second, we learned that are in Christ. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our identity is no longer based on anything except Christ in us. The third lesson pointed out that we are not our flesh. Our identity, who we are, is not based on what we do, how we feel and we should not, must not be led by our flesh. Finally, in the Spiritual area of life, we learned that we are accepted by God as we are on the basis of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. He purchased our forgiveness.
We have moved to the Psychological area of life. In this area we have looked at Who we need to know. The world and the flesh says we need to know ourselves, love ourselves, control our lives and if we do we might obtain the ability to cope with life. God says we need to know God, accept God’s love, trust God to lead us and we will experience the joy of living in a relationship with God.
The second lesson in the Psychological area of life told us where we should focus. We are not to focus on what the world or the flesh tells us, but on what God, through His Word and His Spirit, tell us.
This week I handed out the third lesson in the second area of life. It is called how to decide. Life is full of decisions. We make decisions every day. This lesson is leading us to think about how we make those decisions. Every decision boils down to a choice between what the flesh wants and what God wants. Why is this true? Because we have chosen to accept God as Lord of our lives. He knows best.
Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Choosing what the world, other people tell us we should do, or what our own selfish nature wants leads to death. God is the source of real life. When we make decisions based on what He wants we move closer to God, closer to the source of life.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. O, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!”
God wants us to experience the fullness of life He has for us. He wants us to make all our decisions with His help. He is interested in everything you are interested in and much, much more.
So how do you know the difference in what the flesh wants and what the Spirit wants?
Look at what motivates you? The flesh, the selfish nature, is motivated by pride, vanity, defending our rights, making ourselves look good to others, thinking our way is the only way, fear. There is a lot to be said about the flesh, many verses to look at. Some are listed in the lesson and I encourage you to prayerfully take the time to go through those lessons.
Today I want to focus on how to discern God’s will. How do we make decisions based on what God wants?
The How To Decide lesson gives us 3 things. Trust God, Thank God, and Ask God. The flesh will lead you to get these three things in the wrong order.
We face a problem, we have a need or a question and the first thing we do is tell God what we want. Lord, this is how I want you to solve this problem.
Then if God gives us what we want because it just so happens it is what He wants as well, then we thank God for the answered prayer and our faith, our trust in God is strengthened. What is wrong with this method of praying?
When we go to God with a need we should start with Trust. God wants you to choose to trust Him, no matter what! Whether or not He answers your prayer in the way you want Him to answer it, decide that you are going to trust Him!
Believe the Word that says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NKJ)
Believe the Word that says, “God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
Trusting the Lord means we come to Him believing He loves us and wants to meet our needs. It means trusting that He is Lord, and whatever he allows to come your way is for your good. Even Jesus, prayed in the garden, Father, let this cup pass from me, but not my will, Your will be done.
We need to come to God trusting Him, believing that He will give us what we need, not necessarily what we think we need. When we pray we need to remind ourselves that He is Lord and we will put our trust in Him no matter how He chooses to meet the needs in our lives.
Then we need to thank God. No matter what happens, we need to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness toward God. Believe 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that says, “Thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”
When God does great things for you, what should you do? Thank Him. When you face problems in your life, what should you do? Thank Him!
Thanking God for the things in life that you like is just good manners. Thanking Him for the things in life that you do not like proves you trust Him. It also builds your faith in Him.
Romans 8:28 is probably familiar to most of you. It says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (NLT)
Focusing on God, trusting Him and thanking Him for everything, the good and the bad, prepares us to bring our petitions to Him. Now we are ready to ask God.
We are ready to ask, not selfishly, but with faith. We are ready to seek God’s plan and purpose for us. We are ready to ask Him how He wants us to act in this situation.
James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask Him, and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” (NLT)
Much too often, we start our prayers telling God what we think He should do. This is not living with Him as the Lord of our lives. When we trust God we will be seeking His wisdom, not relying on our own.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
I do not know how to lead this congregation to build a new building. I do know what God has called me to do. He called me to minister to His people. He has brought me here to the Green Valley Church of God to carry out that ministry.
The discipleship series we are studying will minister to you and help you learn to be the disciple He is calling you to be.
All our prayers should start with Trust, lead us to Thanks, and then follow up with Asking God for His will to be done and for His wisdom in each decision we make.
How do you decide? How do you make decisions? Are you living by your own wisdom? Are you wanting God to do things your way? This is the way of the flesh, the old selfish nature.
Trust Him, Thank Him, Love Him, Follow Him.