What Drives Your Life?

Posted on 07/10/2011 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!


I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
    With Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
    Lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
    You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice!


YOUR WORD IS A LAMP

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness

For you have called us out of darkness
    into your marvelous light
We turn our backs on what is wrong
    and choose to do what's right

Your blood is flowing through my veins
to cleanse until all that remains
is clay that's molded through the pains of life

Your Spirit blows into these bones
to claim this temple as its home
and starts a fire that soon becomes a blaze


YOU ARE MY ALL IN ALL

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all

Seeking you as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless your name
You are my all in all

When I fall down you pick me up
When I am dry you fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


We all have something that drives us. Something brought you here today. Something drew you or is drawing you to Jesus. Some sort of motivation is behind the thoughts you think, the words you speak, and the choices you make.

I'd like for us to talk about this today. And today's message outline is taken from a sermon preached by Nelson Searcy entitled "What Drives Your Life?"


Of course we all know that there are things that are good for driving us and things that are not so good. First, let's take a look at some of the things that drive our lives that are very bad drivers indeed.


1. Posessions

We always seem to be driven to have more. More posessions, more toys, more stuff. Searcy pointed out the bumper sticker that says, "He who dies with the most toys wins," and he pointed out that "He who dies with the most toys is, well, dead." The Bible says that we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can take nothing out.

The material posessions you are given during this life on earth are first of all tools, and second of all for pleasure. For example, we all have clothes. Those are tools we use to effect modesty. We all have computers. Those are tools that, for one, we're all using today to participate in this service.

Of course both of those examples can also bring pleasure. Most of us like having clothes we think look or nice, and I'm sure every one of us uses the Internet for pleasure.

So posessions are a good thing. But if they drive you, then they will drive you into the wrong places, and can wreck your life.


2. Popularity

Almost everyone wants to be popular -- whether that popularity means we're known and loved by people all over the earth, or we are surrounded by good people who love us. And most of us tend to be driven to go along with the crowd. That's one reason so many Christians have agreed to view homosexuality as something that is just another way of life, and something that we are just born with and can't change -- "the crowd" has declared that it is so, and our natural inclination is to go with "the crowd." We do the same thing with hair styles, our clothes, and our speech.

When our moral compass is controlled by our desire to fit in, then we are on very dangerous ground. On the other hand, there is certainly nothing wrong with being liked. It's when this desire becomes a primary driver of your life, that you end up empty and hurt.


3. Power

Most of us want to be in control -- whether that control is over other people or over our own lives and circumstances. By our fallen human nature, we all tend to want to be the captain of our own faith -- the ruler of our own lives.

When the desire for power drives us, we end up hurting others and destroying ourselves. We find it very hard to trust in God and to turn everything over to Him -- and that struggle results in making a mess of the very things we are trying to control.


4. Position

We all like being given special titles, don't we? At least most of us do. Think back to your first job, maybe at a burger joint. Just as much as your position of "burger flipper" or "table cleaner" wasn't something in which you found great pride, just suppose you had been promoted to "manager." I was -- not at my first job, since my boss there didn't like me, but at my second job I was made "night manager." And oh boy, did that ever go to my head! I look back at some of the things I said and did, and am embarrased still to this day.

But we like being given honorable titles. I recently ran across someone on YouTube who called herself a "Reverend." And yet she routinely cursed people out, and for no reason. She was hateful, spiteful, and extremely confused in her doctrine. And there are plenty of people in Second Life who raise themselves to some sort of leadership position, when it is obvious to most of the people around them that they simply aren't called to be there. But it's because we crave position, and we take great pride in titles.

Of course there's nothing wrong with having a title. The Bible says we are kings and priests. And there's nothing wrong with being a leader, as long as it's God who is calling you to lead, and you have first learned how to follow and you are a servant. But if you are driven by the desire for position, you're going to miss God; you're going to miss your calling; and you're going to make a mess.


The truth is that every single one of us is driven by something. The question is, what? What is driving your life? And does it line up with what God says your driving passion should be?

Let's take a look at 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NKJV)

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

So this says our focus should not be upon the things we can see in this carnal life, but rather they should be upon the things which we cannot see with our physical eyes; for the carnal is temporary, but the spiritual is eternal.

Now, every one of us is driven by certain purposes -- and often these are self-seeking. But God gives us an eternal purpose, and when God's heavenly purposes become the things which drive our lives, we will start going in the right direction.

Let's a take a look at five Godly purposes, and then we'll close with a time of prayer.

1. Personal connection with God

Isn't this why Jesus came? He came to reconcile us to God -- to take our sins out of the way so we could personally connect with God.

God created you, He loves you, and He knows you better than you know yourself. And your primary purpose in life is to know God in return. And this requires wisdom. The fool says in his heart, "there is no God," while the wise person recognizes the fingerprints of God in everything God has made, and he or she seeks to know this magnificent Creator.

Consider King David, who had quite a few ups and downs in life. He was a very gifted person, who went from being a shepherd to being a king. And then we know about his greatest low, when he stole another man's wife and had her husband killed. But he repented, and sought after restoration with his whole heart. And at the end of his life, God said that David was a man after His own heart, and that he fulfilled God's purposes in his generation.

Wow, what an epitaph that would be! "You fulfilled God's purposes in your generation, and you were His friend." We couldn't hope for anything more amazing than that.

And then comes Solomon, who would build the temple of God. And this is what his father David told him in 1 Chronicals 28:9-10 (NKJV)

9 "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.
10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it."

David was pointing Solomon to a life of Godly purpose -- to know God, and to serve Him; and to remember that he was chosen for a purpose, and to be strong and let that purpose direct his life.

Now, we know that Solomon ended up being the King of Israel. He had posessions, he had popularity, he had power, and he had position. But none of these things drove his life; rather, he was driven by the desire to know God and to serve Him and His purposes.

King Solomon could have had all these earthly things and been miserable. These carnal things can't make you happy, and if you live for them, then they'll just make you miserable and will destroy you. You see, true happiness in life is found in knowing God. And you will know true happiness only when you make knowing God the first and central purpose of your life.

Only then will life make sense. Only then will you find lasting fulfillment and joy. Ephesians 1:5 tells us that we have been predestined, or have been given the purpose, of being adopted by Jesus. Our purpose is to know Him and to live in His love.

And this connection with God comes in two parts -- as an event, and then as a pursuit. There was a time in your life, or there will be, when you realized you needed Jesus. You gave your life to Him, and you were born again. Ever since that day, the Holy Spirit has been working in you to chase after God -- to pursue Him. It is this pursuit that keeps us on the path that leads to life. If we ever stop pursuing God, it's just a matter of time until we abandon Him. So the pursuit of knowing and connecting with God should be the primary driving purpose of your life.

You pursue that connection with God through reading His word, through spending time in prayer and worship, through gathering together with other believers, and through seeking to obey and please Him in everything you do.


2. Committing to God's Church

Do you realize that it is impossible for you to fulfil God's purposes for your life outside of His Church? We probably all know people who have said they don't need the Church. If fact, there's an entire movement in which Christians seek to separate themselves from the Church.

But the Bible says that the Church is the body of Christ. Jesus works through His body, and if you aren't plugged into the body, you will not be a part of what God is doing, and you will eventually die.

Connecting with the body of Christ is a vital element of connecting with God. And I don't just mean attending church services. This connection goes beyond sitting as a spectator; this connection implies participation -- seeking after God together, and working together to fulfil His purposes for our lives, both individually and corporately. It's a commitment. And without that commitment, you'll end up floating around for the rest of your life.

It's the difference between being an outsider and being a part of the family; being in the stands or down in the game; being a consumer, or a contributor; being an observer, or a participant.

If you're waiting until you find the perfect church, you'll never find it. It doesn't exist, because every body of believers is made of people. Some people go from church to church, and have a long line of stories of hypocracy, betrayal, and other things people have done to them that caused them to walk out the doors. Some people eventually just stop going to church, because they're afraid all of them are the same.

And you know what? They're right. Every single body of believers is made up of people. And not one single person is perfect. We all struggle with our flesh. We all say the wrong thing, and do the wrong thing, from time to time.

People like this usually have mental programs that cause them to perceive things other people do as being against them, and they often unintentionally act in ways that bring rejection upon themselves. And if you have that problem, I encourage you to change your expectations; and then let go of them. Let people be people. Let them be wrong. Let them treat you in ways you think they shouldn't -- and immediately forgive them and just let it go. And then pray that God would plug you in somewhere, so that you can connect with Him and fulfil His purposes for your life and in the earth.

What did the early Christians do? Well, Acts 2:45 (NKJV) says this:

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The words "continued steadfastly" means they "committed themselves." They didn't sit on the sidelines. They didn't wait. They committed themselves to the other believers, and they devoted themselves to being taught, corporate prayer, sharing the Lord's supper, and fellowship.

And that's the way God designed us to work. You must commit to a church if you want to become all that God created you to be. And if God is leading you to connect with us, I encourage you to fill out a membership application at almcyberchurch.org. But even more importantly, I encourage you to find a local body of believers who preach the whole word of God, teaching sound doctrine, and who allow the Holy Spirit to have His way.


3. Cultivating spiritual habits

You may have heard this saying before: "If you sow a thought, you reap an act. If you sow an act, you reap a habit. If you sow a habit, you reap character. And if you sow character, you reap destiny."

One very important habit to develop is to attend church. But that's not enough. You need to develop daily habits, such as reading the Bible, praying, memorizing Scripture, spending time in praise and worship, seeking after God. Then and only then, you will begin to spiritually grow.

We all WANT to grow; but it has to go beyond wanting, to making time. It is vital that you make the time to do these things if you are to grow in your walk with God. It won't happen by accident; you have to schedule it.

You see, as long as we are growing spiritually, we are becoming more like Jesus. You'll never be the Christ, but you can become Christlike. You won't be perfect like Jesus in this life, but you can pursue Jesus. You'll never be God, but you can become Godly. And this is what spiritual habits are all about.

So write out your schedule for the week, and schedule time to develop spiritual habits. Then continue to be faithful to keep your appointments every day. And after you make it through the first month, it will start getting much easier.


4. Caring for God's people

So far we've talked about connecting with God, which includes evangelism; committing to God's Church, which includes fellowship; cultivating spiritual habits, which includes discipleship; and finally, caring for God's people, which is service, or ministry.

Go outside of yourself -- past your own problems and hang ups -- and start seeking how you can help others. This will take you beyond what you can get, to how you can serve.

In Acts 2:44-45 (NKJV), we read how the early Church lived. It says,

44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

They cared for one another so much that they put their money where their mouth was. They did what it took to make sure everyone was taken care of, no matter what it cost them. Now this isn't communism or socialism -- that's when the government forces caring, and it becomes thankless redistribution that spreads the sickness of entitlement instead of the healing balm of Godly love. Rather, the early Church did this willingly. They did it cheerfully. This is Christianity lived.

Now, this isn't the only thing they did by any means, it's just a powerful example of how they cared for one another. They also showed love in other ways, such as caring for the widows and orphans, giving homes to the homeless, and watching over each other's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. They checked in on those who had gone absent from the church, and they held one another accountable.

Just imagine how things would change if our passion was to care for others. God wants to develop character in you; and to do that, He puts you in the position to care for others. Serving others teaches you to love. It teaches you to be patient. It teaches you to be kind. It teaches you to have peace, since focusing on others causes you to worry about your own needs less.

When you connect with God, you want to commit to the church; as you commit to the church, you start cultivating spiritual habits. As you cultivate spiritual habits, you begin to care for others. And this leads us to the last Godly purpose:


5. Celebrating God's work

This is one aspect of praise and worship at it simplest. It is celebrating God's work, who God is, and what God has done. Do you want to know if you have this heart of worship? Then ask yourself this: "Am I happy about the things that make God happy?" and, "Do I have a desire to do only things that please God?" This is called a life of worship; for worship is not just a song service -- worship is a way of life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) says this:

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

This life of giving thanks to God in all things is a life of worship, a life that celebrates God's work in and through all things.


In closing, let's look back over this list of Godly purposes, and consider where we are lacking.

1. Personal connection with God

2. Committing to God's Church

3. Cultivating spiritual habits

4. Caring for God's people

5. Celebrating God's work

I encourage you to examine your life, and see in which areas you are weak, and then do whatever it takes to grow in those areas. And as your thoughts, your attitudes, your words, and your actions start being driven by these Godly purposes, you will become a man or a woman after God's own heart, who fulfills God's purposes in your generation.


Let's close today's service with a time of prayer and ministry. This altar is open, and you're all invited to get our of your seat right now and make your way to the front, as we take a few minutes to work these things out with God and to seek His face, as we surrender our lives and our time to Him.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, please instant message me, Mariposa, or anyone else on the staff or ministry team.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way to the Fellowship Room to your left, where we'll meet in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.

Come, and let's surrender our whole selves to God, as we commit to Him that which drives our lives.