A few weeks ago, Pastor Joe Dobbins shared a message at 3trees Church, Pray Bigger. During the message, he encouraged us to pray three life-changing prayers over our lives by inviting God to 1) Increase our vision, 2) Decrease our doubt, and 3) Do the supernatural.
Last week, I shared a message entitled, Make It Happen, and if I could give you that message in one sentence, it would be, “As a follower of JESUS, don’t ever forget what He made happen for you so that you can think the right way and make something happen for the good of yourself, your family, and others!”
This week we are following in the same vein of these previous two messages as we embrace a new message series, GREATER!
...Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. -1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
It seems like some things in life are just the way they are. For example, my wife, Mandy, will never close the cereal box lid after getting a bowl of cereal. It is what it is! And she knows that I will never completely dry my toothbrush after brushing my teeth. It will no doubt leave a puddle at the bottom of our toothbrush holder. It is what it is! Likewise, it can be tough to change the mind of a stubborn person or convince a person ingrained in one’s political party to change to another. Have you ever tried to teach an older person new technology? I’m sure you agree, it is what it is!
So, maybe you can relate to using this phrase within your own life or at least implying its context. When we use it -- or some variation of it -- we are submitting verbally to the current state or situation we are facing and embracing an attitude of indifference. That's just the way it is...it is what it is.
Can you imagine how the Bible would read if the men and women of faith throughout the Old and New Testaments would have chosen to settle for current circumstances? If they simply declared...it is what it is?
Imagine with me for a moment; you are Daniel. Your religion has just received a death sentence, and that death sentence includes you too. So you just mutter to yourself, I guess I won’t be able to pray in public any longer… it is what it is.
Now imagine you are David. You're looking at a 9-foot tall giant named Goliath. He is bigger, badder, and madder than anything you have ever seen. You look at him, then you look at yourself, and you determine that there is nothing you can do, just let him blaspheme the Lord… it is what it is.
Let’s continue our journey through the Bible; now imagine you are Esther. Imagine there is a conspiracy at work to wipe out your entire race. To attempt to do anything about it means the demise of your social standing and possible death. You decide the risk is too significant. You’ll just see what happens… it is what it is.
Imagine you are the woman with the issue of blood, and you have spent your entire life savings in the pursuit of a cure for a condition that leaves you bleeding internally, externally, and uncontrollably every day of your life. Your days are numbered. The one chance you have for miraculous healing is Jesus, but you can't get to Him due to the magnitude of the crowds surrounding Him… you decide, it is best to just give up...it is what it is.
Let’s take a few steps in Paul’s shoes...you have been shipwrecked, beaten, left for dead, and imprisoned multiple times. Evidently, God’s hand is absent from your life, or things wouldn’t be this hard. And, spreading the Gospel is just too risky at this point. You should just quit…it is what it is.
How about Mary? Can you imagine being told you are pregnant and you’re not married? An angel has decreed the baby to be the Son of God, and yet as your belly grows, your name becomes ruined. Scandal is associated with you in every corridor or your neighborhood. You tell yourself it’s okay to abort this child…it is what it is.
And, then there is Jesus to consider. Imagine the scenario. You've had a good run. You’ve opened blind eyes, restored hearing, and raised the dead back to life. But now, there is a cross ready for your execution. Instead of praying your way through it or trying to figure out how you're going to manage this situation, you call all your disciples together for one last meal. You look them in the eye with what little courage you can muster and explain to them that you’ve done enough. There is no need to endure this impending pain. Then, in the dark cover of night, you run away. Everyone else should surely understand...it is what it is.
Thankfully, the stories of these Biblical greats do not read with an underlying tone of indifference. Instead, these men and women rose above the approaches that we just imagined together and refused to settle for the ideology of it is what it is. The result is that they became heroes and heroines of faith.
Daniel always prayed to God three times every day. Three times every day, he bowed down on his knees to pray and praise God. Even though Daniel heard about the new law, he still went to his house to pray. He went up to the upper room of his house and opened the windows that faced toward Jerusalem. Then Daniel bowed down on his knees and prayed just as he always had done. - Daniel 6:10 (ERV)
Daniel continued to pray.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. -1 Samuel 17:45 (NIV)
David defeated his giant.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” -Esther 4:16 (NKJV)
Esther saved the lives of her people.
For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” - Mark 5:28 (NKJV)
The woman with the issue of blood received complete healing.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NKJV)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? -Romans 8:31 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. -Phillippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
Paul preached the Gospel, never writing letters of resignation. Instead, he wrote letters of encouragement to all of his congregations in the face of excruciating suffering and persecution!
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. -Luke 1:35 (NKJV)
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:39 (NKJV)
Mary believed that if God led her into trouble, He would also lead her through the trouble! As a result, she became the mother of our Savior!
...saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” - Luke 22:42 (NKJV)
The most remarkable example of all, Jesus carried out His Father’s will and saved you and me from our sins, giving us eternal life.
So… Maybe we shouldn’t be using the phrase, “It is what it is.” at all. Instead, maybe we should be using the words, “It is what we make it!”.
...GREATER is He that is in you than he that is in the world. - 1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and consecrated your life to Him as your Lord, then you are a winner! He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Death, hell, nor the grave can hold you because Jesus Christ is within you. Therefore, you have the power to choose your outcome!
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. - Mark 11:23 (NKJV)
You have to believe that you can make it happen! Don’t allow discouragement and depression to slip into your life, because you are a winner.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. -Romans 1:22-32 (NJKV)
We can believe it is what it is, assuming that the culture in which we live will always spiral out of control. Or we can decide, it is what we make it. If you are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if you as a just person in God will live by faith and not by sight, and if you do not suppress the truth, then culture will not invent evil instead of serving God with all their heart, mind, and soul. So don’t ever settle for it is what it is… you chose what it is. It is what you make it!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, -Romans 1:16-18 (NJKV)
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
God set the condition that Hollywood or the government had to turn towards Him. He said, “My people…” Meaning, wherever my people are, if I can get them to turn towards me, and make something happen with faith in action, then it will happen! God will heal our land. He will forgive our sin. He will redeem our time. He will do exceedingly above and beyond anything we could ever ask for!
You don’t have to settle for... it is what it is. God is with you, and He will take what the enemy meant for evil and use it for your good. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. I believe the Lord is looking for some Daniels, some Esthers, and some Mary’s. I think God is looking for some men and women who will step into their situation and refuse to settle for the complacent and indifferent ideology of “it is what it is”.
Don’t settle for anything less than the Kingdom of Heaven being manifest on Earth. Do not settle for anything less than the best! It is what you make it! It is through salvation and grace we know we can make things happen!
May His Kingdom come, His will be done, in us and through us!
We invite you to watch this message, It Is What It Is, from Pastor Eric Gilbert, as he encourages us never to settle for it is what it is. We can overcome whatever situation comes against us because Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.
It is what we make it!