Intentional Progress in 2022: Life Lessons From Jesus (Part 18)

by Rick

This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.”  I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few weeks.  As a reminder, here are the six steps.

Here are the steps again:

1.  Pray/Discern

2.  Plan/Prepare

3.  Wait/Discern God’s Timing

4.  Execute/Measure Progress

5.  Wait/Faith & Patience

6.  Receive When Harvest Time Comes

After studying our way through the Gospel according to St. John chapters 5, 6, 8, 12, and 14, we are in chapter 15.  For the last two days, we looked John 15:1-8.  I trust you have enjoyed it.  Before I move on from this passage, I feel led to readdress verses 7 and 8 one last time.  Let’s take a closer look at these two verses.  

The Message Bible paraphrase of verses 7 and 8 reads, “If you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”  

The God’s Word translation of these two verses reads, “If you live in me and what I say lives in you, then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours.  You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples.”

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Dying to self brings you in alignment with your assignment and it is the key that unlocks the door to God’s best.  

When you read things like, “you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon,” and “then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours,” it can be easily misinterpreted.  Many Christians think this means God will give them their every desire, even when those desires are selfish ones.  James sheds more light on this.  He told us that many of us don’t have because we do not ask.  Therefore, prayer is a requirement.  Jesus even told us that our Heavenly Father knows what we have need of before we ask, but we still need to ask.  But James explained many ask and DO NOT RECEIVE because they are “asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill their own selfish desires” (James 4:3). 

In this series, you have learned that:

a)  God made plans for you before the foundations of the world,

b)  He already gave you the grace to fulfill His divine plans for your life,

c)  When we come to God, our plans and God’s plans may not be in sync,

d)  When we are not in sync with God, one of us needs to change, and it will not be God, and,

e)  Dying to sin and self brings us in alignment with God and His assignment for our lives, thus positioning us to experience the supernatural life we are destined to have.

When you die to your will and allow God’s will to become your will, you are free to ask for anything you want.  Because all you want is what God wants for you, this is the ultimate goal.

2.  Once you are in alignment with God, your will and His will become ONE.  

When you consciously make an alignment with your divine assignment, and you adjust your will and submit it to God’s will for your life, you find that you start to like what God likes, hate what God hates, and think as God thinks.  Once you start living this way, you can virtually ask for whatever you want, and God will do it because what you want will be what He wants for your life.  

Jesus said, “If you live in me and what I say lives in you, then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours.”  Basically, at this point, your will IS God’s will because your will has been aligned with and submitted to God’s will.  This is how you minimize your humanity and maximize the divinity God has placed in you, and this is how God is able to make the greatest impact on the earth through you.

3.  God is looking for you to pray in accordance with His will.

(1 Jn 5:14,15 TPT)

14 Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before him, for if we ask anything agreeable to his will, he will hear us. 

15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we also know that we have obtained the requests we ask of him.

(1 Jn 5:14,15 ERV)

14 We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. 

15 He listens to us every time we ask him. So we know that he gives us whatever we ask from him.

— Prayer is not about you telling God what to do.  You cannot command God.  He is not your servant; it’s the other way around.

— Prayer is about submission and surrender, acknowledging that there is a God and you are not Him, and then coming to that God to access His grace.

— When you understand God already made plans for you before the world began, and He made those plans completely by His grace, you then understand the importance of seeking God concerning what to pray for.

— Praying from a position of grace means you are praying from the position of God’s perspective and will.

— Grace-based prayers tap into supernatural power for God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

4.  A life aligned with what you are assigned to do is a life that produces much fruit on the earth.  

Jesus said, “You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples.”  

The Lord wants you to be blessed, He wants to use you for His glory, and He wants to impact the people of the world and systems of the world you have access to.  He wants to do it through you.  But He can’t when you are selfish.  God is not free to flow through you when there is too much of you is in the way.

5.  God gives you the desire to do what He called you to do.

God gives you the desire before He gives you the manifestation of it (Phil 2:13).

I keep driving home the point that God came up with your divine assignment before the world began.  This is a major point because:

a)  If you came up with your own life’s purpose, it would be too small for God.

b)  Since God came up with your purpose, it is always TOO BIG for you!

This means that God has to basically convince you to WANT to do what He has called you to do.  God will not force you to do anything because He made you a free-moral agent.  And since He loves you with unconditional love, He goes out of His way to win you over.  He puts glimpses of His purpose in your heart, to the point where you WANT to do it.  

— If God forced you to do what He called you to do, it would not be an act of your free will, it would not be submission, and it would not involve faith.

— God set up a system where He desires for us to desire what He wants in our lives.  He works with us, by His Spirit, to build up a desire to accomplish His plans and purposes.  

— One of the reasons why God does this is because He does not want us to be saved and miserable.  If you are doing something you don’t want to do, you may do it, but your heart will not be in it, and you will be miserable in the process.  

— Not only does God want you to do what He called you to do, but He wants you to ENJOY the process.  Said another way, God wants you to make it heaven, but He also wants you to ENJOY THE RIDE!

— When you finally get to the point where you and God are in sync, you can ask for whatever you want (which will be what He wants), and He will do it for you!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I thank You for making plans for me before the foundations of the world by Your undeserved grace.  You loved me well before I ever even thought about You.  You planned for me, even before my mother met my father.  The more I learn about Your love and grace towards me, the more I love You and submit to Your will.  I die to self.  I come in alignment with Your divine assignment for my life.  I learn to love what You love, hate what You hate, desire what You desire, and think as You think.  You are in heaven, I am on the earth, and I synchronize with You, so heaven can influence the earth, through me, for Your glory!  I live IN You, and Your Word lives IN me; therefore, I am getting to the point where my will IS Your will and where I can ask for whatever I want because I will not want anything that You don’t want for me.  This way I am able to live in total sync with You, surrendered to You in every area, and You are able to freely live THROUGH me, impacting the people and systems of the world I have access to, leaving a mark that will never be erased.  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME because my life is ALL ABOUT YOU!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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