<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Managing Your Life - Part 2
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Managing Your Life—PART 2

GOD’S WAY

By Reverend William R. Cunningham
October 10, 1999

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

Introduction

I defined effective Christian life management in the last lesson. I defined it as the process of effectively governing our lives, fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, enjoying what we do, and dealing with everyday situations. I also pointed out the fact that the process that we use to effectively govern our lives must be based on God’s WAY. In other words, we have to use the system of God in order to effectively manage our lives. In this lesson, we will examine this aspect in more detail. We will discuss the following topics in this lesson.

1. God’s Way and his will

2. The importance of knowing God’s word

3. The importance of knowing Jesus Christ

God’s way

What is God’s way and how can we know what it is? Again, we discussed some of this in the previous lesson. We said that there are at least three integral components necessary to know God’s way: Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. The foundation of these three is again God’s WAY. Therefore, the ability to know God’s way comes from God and is realized by obeying him. In other words, we can know God’s way by simply doing what he says. Practicing obedience will give us an intellectual basis to discern what God’s way is in any situation. For illustration, consider the following scripture.

(Rom 12:2 KJV) "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

This scripture also highlights the fact that knowing God’s will is a process. I should also point out that God’s way is his will. What God wills for us should be done His way since he is the one that provides all we need to accomplish his will and in his way.

Mode of Operation

You can think of a "way" as a mode of operation. It can also be thought of as the path that we take. There are two primary modes of operation in existence today: God’s way and our way. Doing things God’s way means that we are operating according to the system of the Kingdom of God. To do things our way simply means that we are operating according to the sinful nature, which is selfish and inconsiderate. The system of operation of God is revealed in the Bible. Therefore, we can examine the biblical teachings, examples, and historical events to acquire knowledge of God’s way. Consider the following scripture.

(2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

In order to operate according to the system of God’s kingdom, which is God’s way, we are going to have to first know the word of God and then we are going to have to renew the way we think (our minds). This assumes of course that the person in question is already born again. Think about this concept for a moment. If you join a club then you will have to know the rules of conduct of that club so that you know how to behave according to the club’s WAY. If you move to another state, then you will have to learn the system of operation used in that state. Likewise, if we want to live and operate being citizens of the Kingdom of God then we will have to learn how God’s Kingdom operates. The more that the system that we use is learned and practiced, the more it becomes a part of us and an intrinsic mode of operation for us. That is, the more we practice doing things God’s way, the more our way is defined by God’s way. This is sanctification in action. We are constantly being transformed into the image of Christ. Of course we know that Christ fulfilled the perfect will of God, which is why salvation is available to us.

Mixed Modes

A study of sanctification will reveal to us that we can never reach full maturity while living on this earth. There will always be those times when we don’t do things God’s way. For example, instead of telling the truth in a situation we may decide to lie because it is to our best interest to do so. While on this earth we operate in mixed modes. That is, sometimes we do things according to God’s way and other times we don’t. We must realize that we progress in the things of God and we will do things God’s way more and more until His way grows to be our default way of doing things. Consider what the Apostle Paul said about this very thing.

(Rom 7:14-25 NIV) "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. {15} I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. {16} And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. {17} As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. {18} I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. {19} For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. {20} Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. {21} So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. {22} For in my inner being I delight in God's law; {23} but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. {24} What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? {25} Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

Notice that Paul wants to do well but his mind gets in the way. He reveals the war that goes on inside every Christian. The war is between the heart and the mind either to follow the Spirit and do things God’s way or to follow the mind and do things according to the flesh. The important point to realize is that Paul wanted to do good but sometimes didn’t. So it is important to realize that doing things God’s way is a process. We become more and more transformed into the image of Christ. That is, we gradually grow into what God wants us to be.

Condoning Sin

Since doing things God’s way is a process then I can do whatever I want to do. WRONG! This type of thinking indicates one very important aspect of the person. They are most likely not saved or have salvation completely confused. A person with a heart after God wants to do things God’s way (as seen in the previous scripture). Their struggle is not whether to do things God’s way or not. Rather, they struggle with practicing such. They want to do well but sometimes they do the opposite of what is good (according to God’s way). So realizing that operating according to God’s way is a process is not a license to do whatever you want to do thinking that your freedom will one day be taken away from you. That is not the mind of Christ. As a matter of fact, those who didn’t understand his message of liberty in Christ accused Paul of condoning sin. Consider the following scripture.

(Rom 6:1-4 NIV) "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? {2} By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? {3} Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? {4} We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

So the fact that governing our lives according to God’s way is a process is no reason to do whatever you want and believe it is OK. Can we do whatever we want? No. Governing our lives according to our own way violates everything that we have talked about regarding operating according to God’s way. Our liberty in Christ is not for lasciviousness but to free us from self (the flesh) so that we can be joined (yoked) with God through Jesus Christ in order to live according to God’s way.

God’s Word

Now we have to address the actual practicing of doing things God’s way. In order to do things God’s way, we must know what his way is. I said earlier that God’s way can be found by examining the principles given to us in the Holy Scriptures. That is, we have to read and study the Bible. We must know God’s word if we expect to know his way. Christians must become very familiar and knowledgeable of the Bible and its message. Consider what Jesus said about this.

(Mat 4:4 KJV) "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Unfortunately, this concept is not prevalent in the Christian community. People are more likely to live their life according to their Pastor’s way or their favorite evangelist’s way instead of God’s way. The Christian, or more precisely the church, community does not promote knowledge of God’s word. The church does not encourage people to study the Bible for themselves and learn how to allow the Holy Spirit to teach them. It is far easier to simply listen to the preacher and do what he or she says. I agree that not all Christians are going to be zealous for the Bible’s teaching. My pastor helped me to understand this. All Christians are not going to invest in a library of resource books to help them understand the intricacies of the Bible. That’s OK. However, all Christians should know the reason for their faith and be able to present it to others. Consider what the Bible says about this.

(1 Pet 3:15 KJV) "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

Think about this concept for a moment. In school you study your textbook and do the example problems and homework assignments so that you can learn the material and say that you know the subject matter. You also listen to the instructor explain aspects of the material to help you grasp the concepts that you read in your text book and to help clarify issues that you may have after studying. The important thing is that you actually spend the time to study the text so that you can learn the material. No one of age simply goes to class, listens to the instructor, and expects to grasp the subject or to pass the tests. The same applies to Christianity and governing our lives. Our "text" book is the Bible (though it isn’t a text book in the strict sense). The Bible is our window into the WAY of God. The Bible is our source for information and principles that we can use to govern our lives according to God’s WAY. We should study the Bible and know its contents in the same manner that we study the text books in school and even more so since the Bible deals with life.

Again, in order to know God’s way and God’s will, we must know his word. We must be instructed in and know the scriptures for ourselves. We must practice learning (seeking truth) so that we can find the truth (Matthew 7:7), which is the Way, which is Christ.

Christ The Word of God

(John 1:1-2 NIV) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} He was with God in the beginning."

Here we see that Jesus Christ is the Word of God. How can that be? Consider that Jesus Christ is the image of God. What God says, Jesus is and does. Consider the next very important scripture.

(Heb 1:1-3 NIV) "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, {2} but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. {3} The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

God speaks to us through Christ because Christ is the total representation or image of God. If we see Jesus, we see God.

(John 14:6-10 KJV) "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. {7} If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. {8} Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. {9} Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? {10} Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

The words that God speaks are evident in Christ and then to us (individually and personally). We do not need another mediator between God and ourselves. Christ is our mediator.

(1 Tim 2:5 KJV) "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

So to know God’s way means that we have to know his word. To know God’s word means that we have to know Jesus Christ. To know Jesus Christ is to know God (and therefore his way). The key is to know Christ in order to know the will and the way of God. Follow Christ’s example and you will know how to live according to the way of God because Jesus Christ is the way.

Summary

How can we know God’s way? Know God’s Word. How can we know God’s word? Know Jesus Christ. The foundation of effectively governing our lives is to know God’s way. This entails us operating according to a mode that is consistent with the operation of the Kingdom of God. Christians should behave as citizens of the Kingdom of God, which we are. Christians should have a mode of operation that is defined by "God’s Way." The key to doing this is to realize that it is a process and we will grow into God’s mode of operation continually. However, this doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want. The true heart of a Christian is to live according to the WAY of God, i.e., to obey God. Ultimately, living according to God’s way means to obey God in all things, which again is something that we learn to do daily.

Study the Bible and learn how the Kingdom of God operates. For the Christian, this is very evident in the New Testament. Practice what you learn because Bible knowledge is meaningless if you don’t practice its message. After doing these things, you will grow in God’s WAY and develop into the man or woman of God that God has purposed you to be.

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