Developing

 

I want to start by defining the title of today’s message. “Developing;” what does it mean? You can develop film. You can develop a theory. You can develop and attitude. To develop means to build, to design to grow. It is a mounting up. It us rising, increasing, it is a verb meaning to be on the increase. That is the direction I want to be going. I want to be developing in every area of my life. Does that mean that I am everyday, in everyway, constantly getting better and better? Well, yes and no. I have to admit that I have some setbacks. Some are due to my own lack of discipline and will power. Some are caused by the natural flow towards chaos that everything is in. You see, long ago I lived by the philosophy to just “go with the flow.” I am not sure I realized that the flow was going out of control.  

 

Do you remember me talking about the second law of thermal dynamics? I know, I know, here he goes again… But wait, this is important. Basically what the second law of thermal dynamics tells us is that everything is flowing from order to chaos. Now, if we desire to develop, then we are going to have to go against the flow. Maybe that is why it is called upward rather than downward. It is a little harder to climb up a mountain then to fall off of one, but the result is a lot more enjoyable.

 

So in our journey through life we have to check our bearings to see if the paths we are on leads us up the mountain or does it turn us back down that slippery slope to the valley of doubt and despair? And that is where our walk, comes into account. It is really the best way we have of letting us know which direction our hearts are headed. By your walk I mean, what you are doing, and why you are doing it. I am really talking about our character. So as we go into the word today, let’s use it as a map for our journey towards character development.

 

 

 

(Colossians 1:10 KJVA)  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

 

I have struggled with this message because I know that first and foremost that I do not always walk worthy of the LORD unto all pleasing. Do you know anyone who does? Someone told me that because I was a Pastor that I was suppose to be, like this spiritual giant way up the ladder of moral rightness. Wow, if that is the case then I fail as a pastor. All I know is that I am a sinner in need of a savior. I am a beggar who was looking for bread and found the bakery. I honestly thought that my position as Pastor was to let everyone else know where the bread could be found. I know that along this journey of life we all hope to and need to grow and to develop into stronger, more mature, better people. I am constantly striving to better myself. But, I honestly do not put myself above anyone else on the ladder of righteousness. It is not by my righteousness that I am made worthy. Does that mean that I do not have to walk worthy of the LORD? No, what it means is that I get a fresh start, beginning right now, to look at the example of how I should be walking, and take a step in that direction.

 

I need for us to read the text today and see that example. My prayer for you as well as for myself, is that we would be able to clearly see the direction that we desire to go in, and begin to take that path. The key word here is desire. Too often our desires are in the wrong place. We go after the fulfillment of short term pleasures at the cost of long term pain. Too often we pursue our own selfish desires at the cost of our families, friends, our community and even ourselves. Let’s go ahead and look at what Paul was saying to the Colossians and apply some of this wisdom to our own lives.

 

(Colossians 1:9 - 12KJVA)  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

 

Now, that is a great prayer. I sincerely pray that prayer over you. First and foremost that you would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will for your life. There is nothing greater than knowing the purpose that God has set before you and walking in it. It will most likely be a challenge, even hard at times, but the rewards are immeasurable.

 

God does have a plan and a purpose for you. Do you remember the scripture that says; I know the plans I have for you..?

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

That is the where we have to begin, it is with God’s plan for us. We all have our own ideas of who we should be, or how we should be living, or what we should be doing. But, let’s take a step back and look at our lives from the perspective of the one who created us. Sometimes we can get so myopic, so single vision, that we can not see the big picture of where we are, and what direction we are headed in, let alone where we should be going.

God’s plan for your life is a plan of hope. How about your plan for your life? Can you honestly say that you have a plan that gives you hope for the future? If not then chances are you are not following God’s plan for your life. God’s plan is a plan to prosper you. How about your plan? Do you see much prosperity in your future? If not then chances are you need to be looking at a different plan. It comes down to, not so much where you have been and what you have been doing, as much as where you decide to go from here. In other words, you really are right now at a turning point in your life. You can choose to continue to follow the path that has led you this far, and as you take a long look down that path you have to decide if it is going to be a direction that leads you up the mountain or does it continue to spiral downward from here.

I remember being lost in the woods as a young man. We lived in upstate New York and I loved to go on long adventures through the woods. I never got lost for long, just turned abound for an hour or so. Sometimes when I thought I was following a ravine down a hillside it would turn me around and dead end and I would be on the complete other side of the mountain. I know I have done that while driving before, but I really did not have any excuse then, I mean I guess I could have stopped and asked for directions. Why is it that men have such a problem asking for directions? …. But I digress?

Going back to our scripture and this wonderful prayer that I have prayed for you:

“that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:”

 

So the first step in the right direction towards our personal development is to know God’s will for our lives. Don’t miss the words, “in all wisdom and Spiritual Understanding.” Too often we might know the importance of wisdom but we skip over the spiritual understanding. There is a deeper meaning to things. The stuff on the surface is just that, on the surface. Did you ever hear someone being called “superficial?” It talks about people who are shallow. Too often we can look at things with a shallow perspective. Things have a tendency to run a lot deeper than we at first might believe. By that I mean even the simple things we say and do, have a great impact upon our future and lives around us. Do you remember the butterfly effect? Even something as small as a butterfly can end up have a huge impact upon the world in generations to come. So, as we stop for just a moment to think about our next steps, lets look down the paths we have to choose from, with both wisdom as will as with spiritual understanding.

 

Then, the prayer goes on that we would be “strengthen with all might, according to His glorious power.” Wow, could I use some of that! How about you? Well, guess what, it is available to you today. That resurrection power is within you. That same poser that raised Christ from the grave, that same power that separated the Red sea, that same power that spoke and put the stars into place, that same creative, life changing power is already inside you. We just need to access it.

 

I have to give you this verse in a couple of different translations so we can all get a better understanding of the true power that is available for us.

Colossians 1:11 (Amplified Bible) [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy,

(Colossians 1:11 CEV)  His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.

Now I want to get to something right here. It is a universal principal. Buy that I mean, is does not matter if you are a Buddhist, or a Pagan, or a Hindu, or Muslim, or Jewish, or Universalist, this one principal has been taught by them all.

The word I want to get us all to is Joy. I believe that God’s desire for you is that your joy would be full and that your joy would remain. We are told here that His power will with give us the strength we need to remain full of joy through it all. No matter what entropy, or chaos or tragedy, or trial or temptation or tribulation may come your way, you can count on the glory of the LORD to lift you above it. Just don’t give up in the middle of the struggle. Trust in the LORD to see you through.

Do you want true lasting joy? I mean real joy? I am talking about the kind of joy that stays down in your heart even when everyone else has let you down. That was exactly what Jesus taught us we could have. That is what this passage is telling us we can have. That is what all the religions of the world have been screaming at us for thousands of years. And the formula is always the same……. 

 

 

Christianity

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
      Matthew 7:1

Confucianism

Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
      Analects 12:2

Buddhism

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
      Udana-Varga 5,1

Hinduism

This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
      Mahabharata 5,1517

Islam

No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
      Sunnah

Judaism

What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
      Talmud, Shabbat 3id

Taoism

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
      Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

Zoroastrianism

That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
      Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

 

You would think we would get the message after a while. Do you want to grow? Do you want to develop in greater areas

You would think we would get the message after a while. Do you want to grow? Do you want to develop in greater areas of your life? Do you want to really discover lasting true joy? Do you want to be at peace with yourself and with God?

It all starts right now, with this first step. In fact, even before the first step it can begin with you simply deciding to change directions. I know that sometimes change can be hard. I know that sometimes we don’t even want to ask for directions, even when we know we are lost. I know, all too well, that climbing up a mountain is a lot harder than sliding down one. But I also know that we were meant to climb. You were meant for greater things. You were created for greatness. You have a purpose and God has given you the strength to carry that purpose out.  It starts right now with your decision to go forward. It starts right now with your decision to let go of the past and the things that have been pulling you down and reach up and take the hand of God. He is reaching down to you with His love and begging you to let Him pull you up out of the muck and the mire and the stuff that has been causing you to doubt. You have been doubting Him, you have been doubting yourself, you ave been doubting your friends and family. Well, God wants you to know that there is hope. There is a light at the end of that tunnel and the top of the mountain is waiting on your first step.

All those different religious quotes were saying one thing.

(Colossians 1:26-27 KJVA)  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Now, let me close with joy. Jesus told us the secrete to lasting full joy.  

(John 15:11 & 12 KJVA)  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full!!!!!!!!

Does it sound to simple? Too good to be true? Well, it’s not! It is real. It is lasting. It goes beyond religion. It goes beyond human understanding. It is the very heart of God. For God so loved the World, He loves you so much that gave His all. All you need to do is to walk in His love, and the climb will not only be rewarding, but you might even find that you enjoy it a lot more then the free fall you have been going through.

                                                                            

May God richly bless you as together we learn to love one another.