Outcomes.

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Suggested listening: “If I Don’t Have You” by Love & The Outcome

In 2017, my mom and I went to the “Rock and Worship Roadshow” in Charlottesville, VA. It was awesome.  The lineup was amazingly ridiculous!  Passion, Francesca Battistelli, Derek Minor, Jordan Feliz, Rend Collective, Family Force 5, Urban Rescue, and Steven Curtis Chapman himself!  It was wonderful.  And at the end of the night, everyone came on stage together and sang.  And I snagged this picture.  All I had was my phone, and I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be…but I snapped.  I’m so glad I did.

I want to talk to you for a minute about outcomes today.  Two people I really respect when it comes to faith thoughts have recently spoken to me about outcomes.  The first one, said the second half and the second one said the first half.  If it’s okay, I’m going to put them in the correct order.

Three weeks ago, Steven Furtick preached about dirt.  I promise it’s better than it sounds.  He discussed the passage of Mark 4:26-29.  He talked about the moments when we don’t know how…but through the power of God we push through because we do know who.  (Take a praise break right there:  I KNOW WHO!!!)

He said this line toward the end of his message: “Obedience is your job.  The outcome is God’s.”  Preach.  We get way to obsessed with the outcome!  We need to be trusting the outcome to God.

At this point, we have to jump back to the beginning of April when I had an appointment with my friendapist.  That is a therapist, who has become like a friend.  And Tammie has.  I quickly set up an appointment with my friendapist when my dearest friends found out their 15 month old has cancer.  I had been learning about spiritual warfare for a while but I knew I would need some guidance if I was going to oppose the enemy on this front. So I went to my drill sergeant.  We talked about the things I was struggling with, the things I wanted to get ahead of, the things I was worried about.  What came out was my great desire to trust God in this situation.  Then Tammie, as Tammie often does, brought the hammer down!  She pointed out that I needed to verify in my personal time with God that I was trusting in God not trusting in God for an outcome.

My job is obedience.  I like the way Warren Wiersbe shifted my perspective on obedience in his book The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect & Defeat Him.

“Make a once-for-all presentation to God of your body, mind, and will.  But it is good to reaffirm that surrender at the beginning of each day.  When you first awaken, immediately give your body to God as an act of faith; and prove that you mean it by getting out of bed.  The discipline of getting up in the morning is a part of spiritual victory.

The next step is to reach for your Bible and present your mind to God for spiritual renewal.  It is the Word of God that renews the mind and transform it…My purpose is to meditate on the Word of God so that the Spirit of God will be able to transform my mind and make it more spiritual.

After you have given God your body (and gotten out of bed) and your mind (and meditated on the Word), your next step is to give him your will; and this you do in prayer.  The Word of God and prayer always go together.”  (pg. 64-65)

“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
-Matthew 22:37

Obedience to the Word of God is my job.  That listed above is my job.  Doing my job leaves my heart, soul, and mind to trust God with the outcome; not to trust God for the desired outcome.

One of Job’s well meaning friends had this to say to him (which may have actually been accidentally helpful): “How great is God–beyond our understanding!” (Job 36:26a, NIV).  He doesn’t “think the way you think.  The way you work isn’t the way…” He works (Isa. 55:8, MSG).  When we confuse our job of obeying the things God has already taught and told us through His Word and our personal time with Him with His job of knowing more than we know and having an outcome in place from the foundations of the world, we quit trusting in a person and start trusting that person to do what we want.

I have prayer requests right now with a very specific outcome in mind; and I pray for those.  The day that I accepted Jesus, I gained the authority to be audacious in my prayers.  However, I am called to believe God and confess that belief (Rom. 10:9).  I want to believe God…not believe in an outcome.

So, YES!  We are made to be obedient because God is the one who made us, and He is the one who chose us before laying down the foundation of our world (Eph. 1:4) and He is the one who has had the outcome in place the whole time.  But also, YES!  We must trust Him to have the outcome in His hand…not trust Him to perform the outcome we want like some sort of circus monkey.

Be obedient.
Be in prayer for your desired outcome.
Be believing God.
Be aware that He has the outcome.
Be His.

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