As a young Christian, I spent hour after hour crying out to God with no perceivable result. Over time it became clear that I was being blocked by an unprepared heart. Untold hours had been wasted crying out to God that should have been spent preparing my heart to receive revelation knowledge regarding His plan.
Many Christians do exactly what I did with similar results. They waste hours crying out for an answer that would easily be received if they had instead spent those hours preparing their hearts. Preparation time is never wasted time and requires us to be spending time waiting in His presence and studying the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit will lead us through the process of preparing our hearts. He will guide us to the Scriptures for meditation and lead us in prayer. With patience, we will move into a much deeper relationship with Him that can unlock the doorway leading to God’s plan.
We have talked about the need for patience in this process. Impatient people are unable to wait for God’s timing. They often rush into things without proper planning and most often fail as a result.
I have learned that Jesus’ focus is on the condition of our hearts. This is much more important to Him than any service we may do in our local churches. He understands that an unprepared heart will never be able to enter into all God has planned.
Jesus did not go to the cross to gather an army of servants. He came to open the door that leads into a relationship with our creator. This is not the picture many pictures present. They emphasize service over relationship with a result that leads many members to be bound in traditional thinking that robs them from being able to fulfill the plan of God.
Unfortunately, Christians live their entire lives with no understanding of what God had planned for their life. God’s love for them is no different than for those that can unlock His plan and walk in it.
Our goal for discovering the plan of God must never be to earn His love. That is guaranteed. He sent Jesus to serve as our substitute and pay the price for the sin of every human being that will draw breath. His love for us is beyond anything that any of us could ever imagine and any sacrifice required on our part to pursue His plan is motivated by this love. We are pursuing His plan than not to earn His love but instead in recognition of His love.
The Old Covenant was based on works.
The New Covenant is based on grace.
Many churches speak so much about serving that Christians end up in religious bondage that Jesus has set them free from. I recognize the need to serve but we must guard ourselves against developing a “works” mindset. This will rob us of the ability to fulfill the plan of God.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
I believe that the first step for our journey into God’s will is presenting our bodies as living sacrifices. There are no shortcuts that will accelerate our journey into His plan. We have talked about the need to let our flesh nature die which is the end product of becoming living sacrifices.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples. He had already imparted the Holy Spirit to them (John 20:22). They had received this gift but were still told to “wait for the promise” before moving into their ministries.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Every Christian had received the Holy Spirit. This happened when they invited Jesus into their heart and made Him Lord of their life. Jesus told Nicodemus that this experience involved a person being “born again”. It is a spiritual rebirth.
The disciples had traveled with Jesus for three to three and a half years. They had sat in His services, witnessed amazing miracles, and experienced the power of God every day. I would think that they were ready to launch into ministry. Jesus did not agree.
Jesus had imparted the Holy Spirit. The disciples were “born again” but Jesus told them to wait. The promise referenced was that of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment for ministry. He knew His disciples could not accomplish the plan of God without the Holy Spirit’s anointing.
I think we should take note of Jesus’ instruction to wait. We lead people through a quick prayer and send them out to win the world. Jesus spent three or so years preparing His disciples and then told them “wait”.
We talked earlier about the need for patience. There must be time to prepare ourselves spiritually. Our flesh is impatient and will want to “go”.
Paul was in Arabia for three years.
Jesus spent forty days in the desert.
The disciples spent one hundred and twenty days “waiting”.
The time of waiting is where we become the living sacrifice Paul mentioned in Romans 12:1. It will be a time hidden away from men to seek God and allow Him to prepare us for His plan. This is the time where our fleshly desires and selfish ambitions are placed on the altar.
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