This month at c|Life, we are working through a series titled More, which focuses on the truth that God wants to do more in us and more through us. I would like to discuss a few points with you about this truth.
1. We all want more from God.
I would bet that none of you reading this right now would have a problem with God doing more in you and through you. There is not a person on this earth that is 100% satisfied with who they are and where they are in life. No matter who we are or where in life we find ourselves, we all have a restlessness within us that keeps us from ever being truly satisfied. This restlessness is experienced by all of us, whether rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful, married or single, employed or unemployed, parent or childless, healthy or unhealthy, mentally stable or unstable, cherished by others or abused by them, living a “clean” life or living a “filthy” one. All of us want more. All of us welcome the thought of God doing more in us and through us.
And the great thing is, it doesn’t matter who you are or how much of a mess you have made of your life. God sees who you are. He knows your deepest, darkest secrets. He knows all you have done wrong. And he still wants to do more in and through you. Not because you deserve it, but because he is a God of love and mercy and grace.
2. What more do you want from God?
Take a moment to think about what exactly you want God to do for you. If God spoke to you and asked you to tell him some things you would like him to do for you, what would those things be?
Would your requests be emotional, like peace, happiness, purpose, fulfillment, belonging, less stress, less anxiety, less anger, less resentment, less hate, less need to control, or freedom from addiction?
Would your requests be relational, like a better girlfriend or boyfriend, to get married, a better marriage, to have children, better friends, to get along better with family, reconciliation, to stop being abused, or just to be loved by anyone?
Would your requests be material, such as more money or a better house or car?
Would your requests be job-related, like getting a job, getting a better job or position, or greater success?
Those are all legitimate requests. I mean, who wouldn’t want all those things? And God is more than capable of providing all of them. Also, there is nothing inherently bad in any of those requests. It is not a sin to have more material things, better relationships, or to be more emotionally healthy. You can ask God for all those things.
3. The more God wants for us is often different from the more we are wanting.
We have all asked God for things that he has chosen not to give us. Why? Why does God ignore our wants? Why does he choose not to give us more of what we ask from him?
It is not that God doesn’t care about the things we want more of, it’s just that we spend most of our time focused on the here and now. We are almost always focused on this life, while God’s main concern is the next life. We were not created merely for this temporary life here on this temporary planet. We were created for eternal life in heaven. Yet we spend almost every second of our existence focused on this life and wanting more for this life. God, on the other hand, is focused on eternity, and the more he wants for us is eternal.
God is so focused on doing more to prepare us for the next life, he will ignore all our wants for this life that conflict with what he wants for us for the next life. While we are trying to get more from God to make this life better, he is trying to do more in us and through us to make our eternal life better.
4. What is the more that God wants to do in us and through us?
One of the best places I know in scripture to show you what God wants to do in us and through us is the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew chapters 5–7, is a sermon that Jesus preached to his disciples that shows what life as a Christian should look like.
Jesus begins by describing the character of a Christian, the character that God wants to develop in us. This is a perfect summary of the more that God wants to do in us.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
— Matthew 5:3–9
Sin makes us prideful and self-sufficient, but God makes us poor in spirit and humble as he opens our eyes to the truth that we are spiritually bankrupt and in need of his love and mercy and grace.
When we realize how spiritually bankrupt we are, we are not only humbled, but we mourn over our sin and rebellion and what it has done to ourselves and others.
When we are humble before God and mourn over the depth of our sin, we are meek and not haughty when it comes to others. Fully aware of our sin and brokenness, we treat others with understanding and patience, knowing that we are no better than they are.
Ever mourning over our sin and rebellion, hating what we have done to God and ourselves, and aware of our constant need for God’s grace, we thirst and hunger for a righteousness that we know we can never attain on our own, but that comes only by the work of Jesus and the grace of the Father.
Understanding our condition, we are not only meek before others, but we are also merciful, compelled to be so by the knowledge that God has been merciful to us when we deserved only his wrath.
Having had God produce within us humility and mourning over our sin and rebellion, having been made meek and merciful in relation to others, and having been transformed from a person who hungers and thirsts for sin into a person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, we will find that God has produced within us a purity of heart. Our desires will be aligned with God’s desires, our will aligned with his will, and our motives pure.
And, having a pure heart, we will love others as God loves them, living our lives spreading peace instead of stirring up trouble.
This is the more that God wants to do in us.
In the following passage, Jesus describes the Christian’s relationship to the world. The relationship described in these verses is the perfect summary of the more that God wants to do through us.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
— Matthew 5:13–16
Once God has done more in us by producing the Christian character described in verses 3–9, he will do more through us by using us to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”
First, God calls us to be the “salt of the earth.” What is salt? What does salt do? Well, it is a preservative that prevents decay and it also adds flavor. The fact that God wants to use us to be the salt of the earth tells us something about the earth and something about us.
Scripture teaches us that all of creation, including mankind, has fallen due to sin, and is no longer what God created it to be. All of creation is decaying as a result of sin. God has called us to act as a preservative in this decaying world that we live in. God has called us to be like salt on a decaying piece of meat. As salt counteracts the decay of meat, we are to counteract the decay of sin in this world. We are to be a counterculture that adds a different flavor to this sinful world, and that different flavor is to be the list of character attributes listed in Matthew 5:3–9. We are to be living and breathing reflections of the character of God as we walk amongst a world full of people that reflect the character of Satan.
What is the ultimate purpose of our being a counterculture that reflects God’s character? It is so we can be the “light of the world.” So we can be a lighthouse set high on a hill, reflecting the true Light of the world, Jesus Christ, and showing all those lost in the sea of sin how to find their way home to the God who wants to cleanse them of all their sin and do more in and through them.
You see, God wants to do more in and through us in order to draw others to him, so he can do more in and through them.
God wants to produce in you the Christian character described in Matthew 5:3–9 so he can use you to counteract the decay of this world and reflect the light of his Son to the world to draw others home to his loving arms. And when they come home, he will do more in and through them to draw even more people home. And the cycle goes on and on, until that day comes when all his children whom he has done more in and through shall enter into his eternal rest, having been made perfect in his Son.
Surrender to God, and experience all that he wants to do in and through you!