We are in the 4th week of looking at One Resolution that will give our hearts the one thing it longs for most of all: Contentment. This One Resolution is to Live A Life Worthy Of The Gospel! Not the “Gospel of Our Best Efforts” but the Gospel of Jesus—God’s best effort for us. Because it’s all about God’s Grace, it’s not left up to our best efforts to honor Christ, But To Honor Christ By Allowing Him To Live In And Through Us With The Power Of Resurrection!
Contentment comes by making 6 Conscious Choices every day. Here’s the first 3:
- Live With An Undivided Heart—That’s the One Spirit. Your loyalty and allegiance is to Jesus and His Work in our world.
- Be The Community That Has A Pinpoint Laser Focus On The Kingdom Of God—That’s the One Mind. We focus on each other and those who are not here yet.
- Find Your Unique Life Purpose. Your Life Purpose Isn’t About The What You Do, But The Why! Jesus knew His Why And Ours Is The Same: To reveal God’s love in ways that meets the deepest needs of others.
Now we come to the 4th Conscious Choice. Turn to Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Living a life Worthy Of The Gospel is not an accomplishment in our lives where we look back and say: “There! I’ve done it! Got the certificate and T-Shirt to prove it.” Here’s your 1 Thing To Remember, and your 4th Conscious Choice: Be Fully Alive In Jesus And Allow Jesus To Be Fully Alive In You. This is to be your One Goal in life. This Life Of Contentment That Is Worthy Of The Gospel Is A Never-Ending Process. As with any process, there must be a clearly defined goal.
Without a clearly defined goal, any process is meaningless and ultimately leaves us frustrated and drained. Without the right goal in life we become another “Wrong Way Riegels.” Roy Riegels played football for the University of California Golden Bears. On Jan. 1, 1929 in the Rose Bowl against Georgia Tech, Wrong Way Riegels picked up a fumble and ran nearly 70 yards—in the wrong direction. His quarterback had to tackle him before he reached the wrong end zone. The next play, California attempted to punt the ball out but it was blocked resulting in a safety for Georgia Tech who won the game by one point.
But Wrong Way Riegels wasn’t the only football player to do that. Jim Marshall was playing for the Minn. Vikings and on Oct. 25, 1964 against the San Francisco 49ers, Jim picked up a fumble and started running toward the end zone. But there was a problem—it was the wrong end zone. Once there he threw the ball up in the air and it resulted in 2 points for the 49ers. Thinking he was going to the right goal line, thinking he was right—Jim became a member of an elite club: the Wrong Way Riegels Club.
In football this is a very small club, but in real life—membership in the Wrong Way Roy Riegels Club is enormous. Every day people drag themselves out of bed and push themselves to get that job, that corner office, that higher pay check, that faster car, that bigger house, those latest fashions—all because they believe that is what life is all about.
Their goal in life is to have more stuff, money and power. Some people look for a shortcut—they search for the winning lottery numbers, they cut corners, sell their integrity—all in hopes of that big payoff! But that kind of payoff rarely comes—and those who do find it—find out that it wasn’t all that fulfilling after all.
And it’s not just those who buy into a secular view point that become members of the Wrong Way Roy Riegels Club. Even among those who have taken their place in the church, the Body of Christ, can join the Wrong Way Roy Riegels Club.
To see if your name is listed as a club member, answer this question: What Should Be The One Goal In Your Life? Think about it for a moment before you answer. Do you think that the correct answer is: To Get To Heaven? If this is your answer, well, how can I politely say this: Wrong! Now, before you call the PPR Committee and tell them to get rid of me, stay with me just a moment.
Heaven is The Destination we should be looking forward to, but It Is Not The Goal. The spiritual apathy and lethargy that is draining the life out of the 21st century church is that God’s people have innocently confused the difference between our One Goal and our Final Destination. We need to have a clearly defined goal because without The Goal, we may well miss The Final Destination.
The Goal Is To Make Our Life To Look Like, Think Like, Speak Like And Act Like Jesus. And the only way this happens is when we completely surrender every moment of our life and every fiber of our being so that in our everyday life Jesus is completely living in us and more importantly—living through us. Oh, is that all? Been there, done that!
Oh, really. Allow me to get personal: this past week, did you hold a grudge? Did you refuse to forgive someone? Did a word roll off your lips that should not have been said? Did you forget to begin and end every day with prayer? Did you fail to do anything that Jesus wanted you to do? I’ll be nice and not call it judging, but did you draw a conclusion about someone based on the way there were dressed or how they acted, or by their skin color? Did you lose your temper this week? Did you put your feelings first? Do I need to go on with more examples? I know I’m guilty of one or more of these things.
So what does it mean to be fully alive in Jesus and Jesus fully alive in you? It means that we live every moment, do every task, and speak every word To Honor Jesus. It means we go and do with His power that lives inside us. It means we face every disappointment and heartache with that confident assurance that Jesus is right here in our pain helping us to cope and heal. And it means that we do not fret or worry about tomorrow or the impeachment trial in Washington D.C. because God is taking care of us today.
We Choose To Live In This Moment With Him In Us And Us In Him. We Grow Deeper In Him And He Grows Deeper In Us. We become hungrier for God. An hour or 2 here or there is not enough. We want more, much more.
OK, so we privately and shamefully admit that we missed the mark last week. What do we do now? You have 3 choices when it comes to living your life and finding contentment.
1. We Can Retire!
We can conclude that we have done just enough to make it to the final destination of heaven and turn in our retirement papers. We can park it on our favorite pew and look back and realize that while we could have done more, we did more than most. We can say, “Well, I’ve done my part, it’s time for them young folks to take over.” Living with this attitude distorts the real image of God. We see God as the Big Accountant In The Sky who keeps up with deposits and withdrawals, but not the living presence in our lives. But God’s isn’t the accountant. So we have another choice:
2. We Can Resign!
We can look at the shape of our culture and believe we don’t have what it takes to change it. Or we can look back and see how miserably we have failed Him. So we write out our Letter of Resignation, drop out and surrender to the spirit of failure. It’s too tough and difficult. You can feel like you just don’t have the stuff it takes to live this life worthy of the Gospel, so you quit. And that is the problem: you are trying to do all this stuff yourself—and by yourself, you will fail.
When I faced my divorce, I almost did just that. I typed out my letter of resignation and took out my ordination certificate and tried to figure out what I would do and where I would live. But the next day God surrounded me with people of mercy, grace and love. Even then, I still held on to that letter because I still had a choice. And trust me, it is very easy to resign when we have failed or the task is difficult. But there’s another choice, a better choice.
3. We Can Resolve!
We can say, “OK, I’m not there yet but that doesn’t mean that it’s over.” To pursue the One Goal requires, call it resolve or determination or plain old fashion guts—it takes an effort on our part not to give up on ourselves. Satan Wants Us To Surrender To Defeat, And NOT To God’s Grace And Mercy. And to this end he will whisper in your ears, shout at you that you just can’t do this—that you are the exception to the rule—that there is not enough grace or mercy with God for you—that you are so small and insignificant that you’re not worth God’s time.
Listen again to verses 13-14: “13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
The prize isn’t the streets of gold—it’s not the pearly gates—it’s not the walls of jasper—It’s Jesus! Now, it just so happens that Jesus is in heaven. But it’s not the mansions we are to be looking forward to the most—it’s Jesus. God is offering you more than a street paved with gold—He is offering you a path into His heart.
And because it is into the heart of God—we should never give up. It’s not always an easy journey to the One Goal, but it is definitely worth the effort. If You Will Provide The Resolve, The Willingness To Be Fully Alive In Jesus And Jesus Fully Alive In You, God Provides The Grace, The Mercy, The Love And The Power To Get There.
Oh, and Roy? What happened to him? He played the 2nd half with determination that kept them in the game even though they lost by 1 point, joined the Army Air Corps in WW II, coached football and started his own successful company. And Jim Marshall? In that same game, he caused another fumble that led to the winning touchdown, made the Pro Bowl in 1968 and 1969, and set a record for most recovered fumbles, and was a member of the famous Minnesota Vikings defense known as the Purple People Eaters. To honor him, they retired his jersey, #70!
Don’t be a member of the Wrong Way Roy Riegels Club. Strive, Pursue, and Passionately Live for the REAL prize: Be Fully Alive In Jesus, and Allow Jesus To Be Fully Alive In You.
For this to happen, something must happen in us. And what needs to happen is in the answer to this question, and it’s your Next Step because you cannot follow Jesus and stay where you are:
What Do I Need To Do To Take Me Into A Deeper And More Intimate Relationship With God?
Maybe your next step is your first step, to stop pretending and get real with God. Perhaps there is something you have been holding back from Jesus—a bad habit. Give it over to Him, He’s good at breaking chains. Maybe you need to start all over—to rededicate your life to Jesus.
Maybe it’s taking the next step by entering into a covenant relationship with the body of Christ that meets here. Maybe it’s God calling you to become involved with something we are already doing here. Maybe it’s God calling you to help start something altogether new. Maybe it’s surrendering more of your time to Him. There is a “next step” that each of us can make this morning that will get us closer to the One Goal: To Be Fully Alive In Jesus And For Jesus To Be Fully Alive In You.