“Closing the GAP between Your best and God’s best plan for your Life!”
Message #4 on January 28, 2018
John 17:17-19 (NASB)
by Pastor Jerry Ingalls
Listen to Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17:17-19. [Read NASB text.]
The best version of you is in an ongoing partnership with the Holy Spirit! Not the work of your will power! Your will power is too weak and too unreliable a power source to bring about the life transformation necessary for you to live the life that God has planned for you.
Illustration: Power Cord not plugged in vs. Power Cord plugged in.
Your will power is too weak and too unreliable a power source to bring about the life transformation necessary for you to live the life that God has planned for you. I would even argue that the best version of you that you are desiring and even possibly working towards is not really the best version of you that God desires for you. God invites you to delight in Him and He’ll give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4). What if your wildest dreams and most fanciful desires fell short of God’s best plan for you? I believe they do…
God’s will for your life is you wanting exactly what God wants for your life. I believe with every ounce of my being that if I knew everything God knew that I would want what God wants and not what I currently want.
Illustration: The GPS allowed us to make it to my mom’s 70th birthday party. I wanted to go to Indy on I-70, not US 40, but if I had gone the way I wanted, we would have been sitting on I-70 hours later and would have not only missed our reservation, but we would have been miserable when we should have been rejoicing!
If I knew everything God knew, I would want what God wants and not what I want currently. That means to truly become the best version of me I must have faith in God. A faith that believes that God knows what He is doing with my life better than I think I do. Because I just mess it up if I try to take matters into my own hands. Have you been trying to make life work for you? How is that working out for you? Are you miserable when you were designed to REJOICE?
Faith is a hard confession! Faith is saying, “I can’t do it!” Apart from God I can’t live a life that pleases God and I can’t get to Heaven on my own effort or merits. I just keep messing it up when I am my own source of power and direction. I need God’s wisdom and power to live my best life! I need HELP!
Illustration: Why do I call on plumbers and mechanics? Because I know that even my best efforts will only make it worse. Could I make it work? Maybe! Would it be the best it could be? Absolutely not! I need HELP!
Listen to Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Ephesus, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
What is that power that Paul says, “that works within us”?
It is the same power that Jesus teaches His disciples about right before He prays this prayer over them (John 14—16). It is the same power source made available to you at your conversion. It is the power source of Pentecost in Acts 2. It is the 3rd person of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. John 17 is Jesus’ prayer for His disciples to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit and walk in His power. The best version of you is in an ongoing partnership with the Holy Spirit!
Paul makes this point in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” You cannot become the best version of you by your will power or best intentions.
This is why Jesus prays, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (v. 17). To sanctify means to be set apart for God’s purposes (to be consecrated or set apart). But to make it very simple for us: a completely sanctified person is a person who is living the best version of him/herself for the glory of God all the time!
In John 17, Jesus prayed for His disciples to become the very best version of who God willed them to be. In reflection of this prayer, Paul reveals the process in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Right now, if we are each honest, we are not always perfect, in thought, word, or deed. There is a GAP between who we are and who God wills us to be; there is a GAP between what we are doing and what God wills us to do. Here is the good news: God has given us a way to discern the GAP between our current lives and God’s best plan for our lives. God’s best plan for our lives is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT. There is a GAP between what we think the best for us is and what God knows the best for our lives actually is. Sanctification is the ongoing process of closing that GAP so that you are living more and more like the best version of you for the glory of God.
Jesus’ obedience to go to the Cross of Calvary illustrates this the best. Jesus’ prayer in John 17:19 is stunning, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” Jesus partnership with the Holy Spirit to obey the Word of His Father is what allowed Him to walk wholeheartedly in God’s best plan for His life. Jesus models for us what it means to live the best version of you: to “close the GAP” so that you want what He wants; you love what He loves. Jesus obeyed every word He received from His Father.
God’s best plan for our lives always starts with a loving and growing relationship with Jesus Christ! Your best life starts with faith (the acknowledgement that you can’t do it!). We are saved in a blink of an eye by faith alone but becoming the best version of you is an ongoing transformation that requires partnership between the Holy Spirit and you. Closing the GAP is knowing and obeying God’s Word, empowered by the Holy Spirit!
Paul says in Philippians 2:12, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” We can’t stop with that verse and “close the GAP” with our will power, no matter how much fear and trembling we mix in to our secret sauce. The key to “closing the GAP” is combining that verse with the next: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
You “closing the GAP” requires the work of God’s Spirit through His Word in your life! As Paul says to Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The best version of you is in an ongoing partnership with the Holy Spirit! Are you partnering? Are you opening up God’s Word together? What are the areas God is inviting you to close the GAP by obeying what you already know is right and true? What are your next steps?