Yan Hadley spoke last night on how to guarantee that God is glorified in our lives, basing his sermon on John 15:8. Often, we forget that God is able to bring good things out of little; we can be like Nathanael who asked ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ (John 1:46) Outward impressions, first impressions and preconceptions can colour our view of ourselves and other people. Jesus is able to do a lot with very little!
God can bring great things out of very little. A Saviour, Healer, Deliverer and King came from a tiny seed in a virgin’s womb, born into a dirty, dusty stable. God’s timing is always right. He is never in a hurry, but is never late. Even when it seems that God delays, there is always purpose and perfection in His actions (think about the greater miracle of the raising of Lazarus in John 11.) In that situation, Jesus reminded the sisters ‘If you believe, you will see the glory of God’ (John 11:40). For us to see God glorified in our lives, we must have faith. The Bible is full of stories where something positive is brought from very little: Adam brought forth from the dust of the earth; Abraham becoming the father of many nations when he could not even have a child; Moses becoming a great leader when he had committed murder; Gideon the inadequate becoming a mighty warrior; David, the youngest of many and ‘only’ a shepherd boy becoming a giant slayer; the valley of dry bones becoming a mighty army; the Samaritan woman, cast out in society because of her sin becoming a powerful witness to the Lord.
Before we can see this transformation in our lives, we have to confess our wrong atittudes:
1) towards other people (it’s so easy to judge others by how they look and speak, but as James has reminded us, such judging by outward appearances is wrong and God often chooses the weak and lowly to demonstrate it’s all of Him! 2 Cor 5:16-17 reminds us that we should view no one from a human point of view, for in Christ, we become a new creation.)
2) towards our circumstances (not living in despair and depression, but confident that God is working all things together for good and secure in the fact that goodness and mercy are our lifelong companions and that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living)
3) towards ourselves (not living with low self-esteem and inferiority but sure that God can bring something beautiful out of our lives.)
We also need to understand the need for:
1) conversion (and ongoing transformation from glory to glory, see 2 Cor 3:18)
2) commitment (abiding in God and leaning not on our own understanding)
3) counsel (seeking the advice and help of other Christians, Prov 15:22)
4) consecration (setting ourselves apart daily for God, as indicated by Rom 12:1 and Josh 3:5, knowing that when we do this, God has promised to do amazing things!)
5) courage (having the courage of our convictions and not giving up or compromising our beliefs or allowing fears to determine our future. Like Joshua, we need to be ‘strong and very courageous’.)
As we do these things, we trust God to bring much fruitfulness from our lives and rest secure in the fact that His plans will prevail.