A First Century Battle Cry for a Twenty-First Century Church

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daily text logoSeptember 25, 2014

Acts 18:18-22 (in context)

Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria,accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.

CONSIDER THIS

Have you crossed over yet? You know, . . . made the big switch. Has the center in your center of gravity shifted?

How would you know? This is not a question of whether you believe in God or whether you are a  Christian or not. Neither is it a question of how “committed” you are. It’s not about how many times you’ve read through the Bible or how many people you’ve helped or mission trips you’ve gone on or financial gifts you’ve given.

All of those things are excellent, but they can cloak the bigger issue.

The Question: Have you given over control of your life to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have you abandoned your life to the will of God?

We see it in Paul’s response to the favorable request of the Jews at Ephesus to remain with them.

I will come back if it is God’s will.

And he made it a promise.

In his hard hitting letter, James would put it like this,

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

The phrase, “If it is the Lord’s will,” rendered in Latin is “Deo Volente.” Though they weren’t speaking in Latin, this was the battle cry of these first generation followers of Jesus.

Deo Volente! It’s the strategic planning ethic of the people of God throughout the centuries. Make plans and even make promises but follow them with Deo Volente! If the Lord wills. At times in the past, the people of God would close their letters and correspondences to one another with the two letters, “D.V.”

shiftingHow about we bring that back? But we have to mean it. We have to cross over. . . . you know, . . . . make the big switch. We need to see a shifting of the center of gravity from the sovereignty of our own will and plans to an abandonment of ourselves to the will of God.

D.V.

COME HOLY SPIRIT!

P.S. John Wesley led the movement called Methodism into this way of life through the regular engagement of the following prayer. I commend it to you. Say it until you can pray it. And teach it to your kids.

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing.I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. […] Paul said the almost the exact same thing to the Christians in Ephesus, as I noted in a previous Daily Text. At the end of the day this comes down to the issue of sovereignty. Who is sovereign in our lives? Is it me and my plans or is it the will and the willingness of God? It’s a real journey to get to the place where we truly come to this way of life? It’s not as simple as saying it, though at times this can be a helpful reminder. (The problem is the way it can be an outright untruth.) This conviction, far from a colloquial or even sentimental saying,  reflects an unwavering trust in God. That’s where we want to be—unwavering humble trust in God. […]

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