THERE IS MORE (1)
February 17, 2019 | Pastor Steve Pixler
The main point of this series is that Jesus came so that you may have life and that MORE abundantly.
John 10:10 (ESV): The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it [more — KJV] abundantly.
Jesus filled you with his Holy Spirit so that you may experience the MORE for which you were created:
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV): 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.
As we saw last week, YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV): He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
God breathed the breath of heaven into Adam, and nothing less will satisfy the human heart.
YOU WERE MADE FOR DIVINE DISCONTENT
Psalm 42:7 (ESV): Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
The Holy Spirit within the “DEEP” of you is calling out to the “DEEP” of God, and “deep calls to deep.”
1 Corinthians 2:9–16 (ESV): But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Deep inside you, the Spirit of God is calling you to explore the depths of the Father’s Person, Presence and Power.
And the call for “more of God” becomes a call to be more in, to and for the world: more fruitfulness, more creativity, more influence, more stewardship of more resources, more impact on culture, more blessing and more significance!
This cry for MORE is God-given, God-breathed and God-powered. He created you for more!
Yet, it is absolutely crucial in our pursuit of MORE that we distinguish between divine discontent and human covetousness. The drive for more can become an unhealthy, unhappy, desperate clawing, grasping, groping for an elusive satisfaction.
We were made for more, but we were made for the MORE that matters, the MORE that fulfills and satisfies. The quest for more must be a Spirit-fueled passion for divine destiny and never a relentless, hopeless attempt to find satisfaction in a fallen world.
And this brings us to our main point today:
LESS IS MORE!
Two things to take home today:
(1) As mentioned, our drive for more must be from divine discontent rather than human covetousness.
Divine Discontent is powered by the pull of grace, “the upward call,” a longing for a place we’ve never been. (The Germans call it “fernweh,” a longing for a faraway place, which is the opposite of “heimweh,” a longing for home.)
Grace-powered divine discontent pulls our our identity and potential into alignment with the ideal self God designed us to be.
Human covetousness is “others-focused,” driven by comparison, fueled by fear, and has no true center from which to pursue eternal purpose.
Divine discontent calls us to measure up to the future while fully living in the moment.
Divine discontent makes us restless with everything in us that does not measure up to who we are in Christ while allowing us to rest in who we are and how we grow.
Divine discontent is a grace-based balance between reaching and resting.
Grace compels us to pursue more while peacefully assuring us that the more we need is already ours, hidden in Christ.
Thus, our pursuit of more in every area of life is grounded in our pursuit of more of Christ. When I receive more of Christ, I receive more of me, for I am hidden in Christ.
It’s all about rest vs. striving, faith vs. fear, grace vs. works.
Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV): Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
The pursuit of MORE constrained within the pursuit of Christ is a partnership with God. When Christ is our destination, we can rest in his grace as he draws us into himself. He is our “grace-place.”
Sin disrupts this peaceful pursuit of purpose and focus us into anxious, frenetic striving. In the fall of man, love became lust, desire became demand, and divine discontent became human covetousness.
Covetousness is desiring what does not belong to YOU and your destiny. God does not forbid us anything to punish us, but he only withholds what will hurt us, what is not true to how he made us. In contrast, Divine discontent is always connected to God’s best plan and purpose for our lives.
Luke 19:41–42 (ESV): And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for [belong to your] peace [shalom]! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
Divine discontent is driven by God’s best for us and the realization he has more for us. Human covetousness is driven by the need to impress people.
Divine discontent is driven by an internal alignment. Human covetousness is driven by what everyone else thinks.
Thus, Divine discontent overcomes expectations and deliberately narrows our focus down to God and us.
Here’s the second thing to take home today:
(2) FOCUS frees us!
The abundant life Jesus promised is compared to a race. (Hebrews 12:1, 2) In order to win the race, we must “lay aside the weight and every sin which clings so closely” (a first-century reference to removing robes that entangle the feet). The abundant life is a focused life, a life that narrows its pursuits to only those things that promote our divine destiny.
Jesus said that his “yoke is easy and his burden is light.” In other words, the pursuit of MORE in Christ is actually easier because it is aligned with your divine design. *Design determines destiny!
Finding our purpose is a process of elimination where we deliberately and intentionally cast off the garments—roles, responsibilities and expectations—handed down from others. The “less-is-more” focus sets our eyes on Jesus and who we are in him.
Paul the apostle also uses a race metaphor to describe our pursuit of divine destiny:
Philippians 3:13–14 (ESV): Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But ONE THING I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Look at what Paul says here:
I don’t think I have ARRIVED.
But I FOCUS on ONE THING!
I FORGET what lies behind.
I REACH (“strain forward”) forward
I PRESS ON no matter what resists and hinders.
I am drawn higher by an UPWARD CALL
The prize is IN CHRIST JESUS.
Paul speaks of an “upward call,” which is the call of heaven drawing us higher to where we are and who we are in Christ. The “upward call” forces us to “FORGET what lies behind” us and FOCUS on “what lies ahead.” FORGET and FOCUS.
Knowing what to forget is the key to attaining MORE.
Knowing what to lose is the key to discovering all there is to gain.
Knowing what to set aside and learning what to grasp with all your might.
This is why attaining MORE starts with pursuing LESS. Break free from the EXPECTATIONS of the past and of people around you and “press toward the goal” of PERFECTION (wholeness) hidden in Christ.
And here’s the amazing thing: when we realize that FOCUS frees us, when we cast off the imposed expectations of the world around us and embrace the call to discover the life more abundant hidden in Christ, we find that less really IS more!
Less anxiety, more peace.
Less fear, more love.
Less need for the approval of others, more quiet confidence in who we are.
Less stress, more productivity.
Less resentment, more gratitude. Less envy, more thankfulness.
Less arrogance, more relaxed humility.
It may seem odd to encourage less when preaching a message on more, but that is the secret of the upside-down kingdom:
Humble yourself to be exalted
Be last to become first
Serve to lead
Give to receive
Lose your life to find it
Everything is counterintuitive in the kingdom!
ONE FINAL WORD about “less is more”: What do you currently feel pressured to pursue?
Health and fitness
Expectations of family
On and on...?
What if today, you were to surrender all that and more to Christ, set aside expectations and FOCUS on ONE THING: the call of God that is IN Christ, the divine summons to discover who you are and what you called to do IN CHRIST!
LESS IS MORE! The abundant life that Jesus promised is hidden IN HIM. Lay aside every weight and the sin that tangles around your feet and run straight to Jesus. Pursue HIM! And the pursuit of HIM will aim you like an arrow to the bullseye of your divine destiny. YOU are hidden in HIM!
So, in what areas do YOU need to pursue less to achieve more?
CONCLUSION: ASK FOR MORE!
The pursuit of MORE must be fully conditioned by prayer.
Ephesians 3:14, 18–21 (ESV): For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 18 [that you] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.