Thought for the Week - 22nd AprilPastor Gareth Watkins
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Following on from last week, this week I watched a video called “Hey Brother” by a 28 year old man called Avicii who died this week. The video was heart-warming and showed the importance of family, struggles through life, belief in one another, and fighting for freedom and rights. But what it didn’t show, was God. There was no God in it. Where there’s no God, what is it all about? It’s all about man. What man can do and what man can achieve.
Dying to self is about dying to our own selves, that God is able to live through us. In the verse above, we are told to acknowledge God in all our ways and He shall direct our paths. In the video I mentioned above, there was no acknowledging God, and there was no paths of God. Without God, we direct our own paths. When God directs our paths, the blessing of God follows, the fruit of God follows and the life of God follows.
One of the founders of our Church, Mr Black, was a bright and intelligent man with a background in farming. He could have done many types of things and been a rich man doing his own thing. Instead he sacrificed those parts of his life so he could follow fervently the call of God that he had. The life of God is still in this place, partly because of the fruitfulness of Mr Black.
Are we acknowledging God in all our ways? And is He directing our paths? If He is, then we have to learn to die to self on so many things.
If you look at others like Avicii, their fame and money doesn’t hold them or keep them. You can look back to the likes of Janis Joplin who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana committed suicide at the same age. The content of some of his songs is dreadful, and yet it is said the man reached more youngsters with his music than anyone else in that generation.
Dying to the self and the life of God if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, will bring a fruitfulness, a life, a blessing and a provision that will lead onwards.
What is God doing in every aspect of your life? Is God in it, or is yourself in it? Is all you can think about is your wants, your ways, and what you want? We are told “in all your ways acknowledge Him”. He needs to be in everything. Otherwise we put ourselves in a place where we’re not bearing God’s fruit, and longer term we might be dying alone. That’s not God’s plan for us. His plan for us is that we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He directs our path, and there’s blessing and fruitfulness, and life after it. He provides the blessing and He provides the newness.
Do we want to live and die with God, or do we want to live and die without God?
The people I mentioned above had multiple things in common:
- They were rich
- They were powerful within their own industry
- They were really famous
- They all died young – under 30
- They all died, it seems, without God. They died alone without God directing their paths.
Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds,
they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
Earlier this week, I overheard someone speak of someone else who spoke rude words to someone. It was nothing to do with me, but it affected me. Was there consequences in that one person saying what they did? Yes, because it’s affecting me today. That little rudder came out of that mouth, through several people, to me. There’s a consequence to the way we speak. We can be nasty, rude, and critical. We need to die to self in the way that we speak. I’ve seen criticism be a destroyer of a church. We need to acknowledge God and let Him direct our paths. As Christians we’re not free to do whatever we want. Why? Because we’re not going to die alone. Why? Because we’re going to bear good fruit. The principles are set out clearly in the Bible – if we die to self, we will bear good fruit. And the fruit we bear isn’t just for today or tomorrow, but potentially will last unto eternity.
The person you become in God isn’t just alive now, but goes on as a fashioned soul to live with God forever. We’re no longer the person we would have been. We’re new creatures who live on unto eternity. It starts now. God needs control of our tongues.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;
but he who does the will of God abides forever.
If we’re going to die to self, we need to know the will of God. When Christ came to the world, He knew the will of God for His own life. He had to die to Himself and His own thoughts. He had to die to self that He could obey the will of God and be the son of God. We have to find the will of God for us. We have to die to our own selfish ambitions.
At the end of his life, Mr Black was old, ill, and retired… but he was up on a stage preaching. He was doing the will of God!
Would you do the will of God? So many people know the will of themselves and the will of darkness, but they don’t know the will of God. They don’t want it. As long as God is at a distance, they don’t have to die to self.
We must allow ourselves to die to our wants, to our lifestyles, to the use of our tongue, to our rights, to our plans, pride etc. Bring them back to Christ time and time again. Our only rights are in Christ Jesus. He is the one who’s redeemed us from that place of damnation. He’s bought us to a place of life, fruitfulness and abundance.
Ask God. Would you die to yourself? Would you see the will of God? Would you seek Him on these things, or would you remain stubborn?
It’s an ongoing wrestle against flesh and blood, and the forces of this world until we are dead to ourselves .