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The Who and The Do

• Greg Boyd

God’s will for us is primarily about who we are and not what we do. When we realize who we are in God’s eyes, then it is much easier to find God’s will in our lives. In this sermon, Pastor Seuss shares with us some practical ways to open up to finding the Who portion of God’s will.

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God’s primary will is about who we are and not what we do, and it is rooted in our identity, not our behavior. Many people misunderstand Christianity. They think it’s about doing this or not doing that, when in reality, it’s about communing with God. Even seasoned Christians sometimes forget this aspect as they search for God’s will in their lives. God wants each of us to be filled with his will and to understand who we are in Him. Only after that should we focus on God’s will in what we do.

Jesus died for us because of who we are. He didn’t die so that he could have more worker bees or so he could bring certain gifts into the Kingdom. Rather, he died for us because we are worth that sacrifice. Intrinsically and inherently, we are worth the sacrifice, and it’s not for anything we’ve done. Rather, it’s usually in spite of what we’ve done. God wants to commune with us in deep ways that will reveal his will for us, but only when we can accept who we are.

There is no strict formula for communing with Jesus, and there are many different ways to do it. Even though there isn’t a formula, we can still try different ways of communing. One great way is to set aside time to spend with Jesus. Going on a date with Jesus if you will. Making this time for Jesus, whatever it looks like, will bring you greater understanding of who you are and God’s will. And even though there’s no set formula, we’ll give you an example to try.

Take some time to yourself away from all the distractions of this world, where you can be alone in your time with Jesus. Put some lyric-less music on that you like. Dim the lights a little bit and make sure there’s no excess noise in the room. Invite Jesus in prayer to commune with you. You can keep it light and just talk about your day and the things you enjoyed doing. You can delve deep into your life, asking Jesus to illuminate the dark corridors and hidden areas of your past. Whatever you choose, just be sure to use your imagination to bring up concrete memories. Remember the smells and sensations. Then let Jesus speak into the scene as it unveils in your imagination.

You should expect a response from Jesus from within you. It won’t be gimmicky or some sort of test that you can propose to God. Instead, whatever God wants to communicate to you, should arise within you because your spirit and his are communing. Rely on the Spirit’s prompting and feel the nudges that God sends your way. There are a few things you should know about this practice in order to make it effective.

The first is to pay attention. When we live a busy life, it crowds out God. God might try to shout to get your attention, but more than likely he will gently nudge you. It’s your job to be looking for the nudges. Pay attention to the things that seem out of place to you or different to you. When he nudges your heart or shows you something in your imagination, pay attention to it and make note of it. In this way, you can see the subtle ways in which God is talking to you.

The second is to embrace uncertainty. Not all of your inner stirrings will be God’s voice. Yet, some of them will be God’s voice. There is uncertainty when it comes to the spirit nudging you. There is one simple question that can help discern who is doing the nudging. Ask yourself: if I act on this, will it follow Jesus’ character? If the nudging prompts you to be more loving and self-sacrificial, then even if it isn’t God’s specific will, it is under God’s general will. Over analyzing the nudging of the spirit can paralyze action. Embrace the uncertainty and follow the simple question’s answer.

Spending time communing with God is never a waste. Even if you do nothing with God but talk and share memories with him, it will be an exercise that grows you closer to God. You might just be surprised at how effective it becomes to know who you are in God’s eyes. Try to remember God’s presence and how he stirs your spirit, and as you walk in the Who you will learn how to Do. Embrace the uncertainty and pay attention, and you’ll start a beautiful journey with God.

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Topics: Communion, God's Will, Identity in Christ


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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 1:9

    For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

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9 thoughts on “The Who and The Do

    Beki says: Monday July 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I saw this sermon link on my facebook news feed. I’m not even sure how Woodland Hills got on my facebook, as I live in Utah. I know some people who have gone or currently go to North Central, but it’s still a mystery. Anyway, I personally have struggled with focusing on my “do” more than my “who” for quite some time. I feel like I’ve intellectually known that God loves me, but I haven’t really ever truly believed it deep down. It is such an unfathomable thing to grasp, that God would love ME, who has screwed up over and over. Thank you for the reminder that God loves me abundantly, and that knowing who I am in Him will guide my “do.”

    Reply
    Jim LePage says: Tuesday July 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Beki! It’s fun to hear how people stumble on our sermons. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Reply
    alita says: Tuesday July 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I love the sermon on, “The Who and The Do”. I’m really glad that I am able to watch the sermon via internet because I missed church sunday. I have been struggling with hearing god’s voice. “The Who and The Do” has answered alot of questions. Not anymore, but I have been one of those people who have looked outside of myself for answers. Now that I can recognize the difference, looking for the answers on the outside of me is very confusing and it’s hard for me to make a decision. Now that I know where to go for answers-decision will not be hard to make. Thank you.

    Reply
    Sue Kay says: Wednesday July 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I so needed to hear the Who and the Do today! Thank God for podcasts! The way I came across this podcast was by paying attention to a nudge (or maybe it was more of a poke) !!

    Reply
    Michelle says: Saturday July 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    You are teaching people to get it.

    Reply
    Gina says: Tuesday July 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Your poem was PERFECTION!

    Reply
    Lisa Glatz says: Sunday July 31, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I’m still wondering why, after disobeying God, I still feel dead (spiritually). I’m sorry that I let my fear override God’s call for my life; unfortunately, I can’t go back and redo the past. I feel like God’s spirit left me, I am in darkness and all my attempts to discern the will of God are in vain. I understand that it’s the “who” not the “do” but I didn’t do and now I feel like doo doo. If God see’s me and loves me in spite of my failures then why do I feel like He is punishing me by removing his spirit from my life?

    Reply
    Paul Eddy says: Tuesday August 2, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Lisa,

    You are raising a question that most Christians deals with at some poiint in their life. I think one key is to remember that our “feelings” are not always a reliable guide as to what is true. God’s love for us never changes, but our “feelings” of God’s love can come and go, because so many other things can affect our emotions. Sometimes after a period of walking apart from God, our ability to “feel” God’s presence can be numbed. But God remains faithful and his love remains constant. That is the point at which we must walk by “faith” and not “feelings.” God bless you as you continue to your journey with Jesus

    Reply
    Lisa Glatz says: Thursday August 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Paul,

    Thanks for the reply. Sorry it took me so long to read it. What I’m really struggling with is before my decision (not to go to seminary) I felt God speaking through me and after me decision I felt a huge sense of doubt and lack of voice. I spiraled into a dark hole and started questioning everything scripture had to say. I couldn’t say the right things or even recall them. How can one wrong decision cut our communication with God? There is no try harder solution and I feel incapable of discerning God’s will for me. Isn’t God big enough to weave my decision into his kingdom–or will I just be left out?

    Reply

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