Wednesday, April 10, 2013

He will do what He says He will do

The Scriptures are such an intimate and personal revelation of the mind of God that there is no distance between the Word and God Himself. John writes: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). This verse refers to Jesus, and yet, He is called "the Word."

In Revelation 19:13, John writes of Jesus: "He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." To know the Word is to know God; to uphold the Word is to uphold God; to believe the Word is to believe God; and to obey the Word is to obey God.

Simon Peter became the cornerstone of the church, but only after facing some tremendous trials. Jesus walked with His disciples for almost three years, and during that time He taught many things. Peter, who listened intently to all He said, never really understood what He meant until Jesus returned from the grave. When he called upon to affirm his faith in Jesus, he denied Him three times.

We can be so much like Simon Peter. We listen, but we do not hear. We have opportunity to testify to the glory of the Lord, and we keep silent. The Lord wants us to know Him. completely and share our faith with all we meet. Hear what the Lord has to say, and proclaim it with your mouth and with your actions.

Francis Schaeffer also talks about this in chapter seven of True Spirituality. Citing the passage above, he notes that since we have been rescued from the tyranny of the devil and placed safely in the arms of the Lord Jesus Christ—we are now positioned to bring forth His fruit.

Schaeffer expands upon the simple, yet remarkably powerful word picture in Romans 7:1-4 to make the point plain:

"Imagine a married couple both of the one color of skin. Suddenly the wife brings forth a child clearly of another race [sic]. All the world would know that she has been unfaithful to her proper mate. So it is with us."

When we do not bring forth His fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (per Galatians 5:22)—but bring forth immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these (Gal. 5:19-21), it is because we have broken faith with Him and are in the state of infidelity of the highest order.

What generally causes us to distrust Christ and leads us to break faith with Him and run to the arms of another is the fact that we often think that we have a better way. We think that, somehow, God really doesn't have our best interests at heart. I know for me, personally, this happens mostly when I am "Law-minded" in a way that discounts or obscures the gospel. One writer, Milton Vincent, in his A Gospel Primer for Christians provides a helpful counter to this erroneous and sinful way of thinking (p. 18):

"…when I begin my train of thought with the gospel, I realize that if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son's life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me. Viewing God's commands and prohibitions in this light, I can see them for what they really are: friendly signposts from a heavenly Father who is seeking to love me through each directive, so that I might experience His very fullness forever." (see Deut. 5:29)

Remember......Faith in God is sure and certain

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

It was advertised that the devil was putting his tools up for sale. When the day of the sale came, each tool was priced and laid out for public inspection. And what a collection it was. Hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit or pride…the inventory was treacherous. Off to one side was a harmless-looking tool priced higher than all the rest, even though it was obviously more worn than any other tool the devil owned. “What’s the name of this tool?” asked one of the customers. “That,” the devil replied, “is discouragement.” The customer asked, “But why have you priced it so high?” The devil smiled and explained, “Because discouragement is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that tool when I can’t get near him with any other. It’s badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since so few people know it belongs to me.”

Valleys are lined with disappointment and discouragement. Some people seem to thrive on adversity, emerging from their valley with greater strength and deeper faith. Others stumble and fall, giving in to discouragement and dropping out of the race. The difference in outcome is determined by the way we choose to handle discouragement.

Faith rests in what Christ has already done on the cross and in our lives. Faith also hopes for what He will do for us in the future. Faith builds on the victories of yesterday to help us face the valleys of today and the questions about tomorrow. Faith in God is sure and certain, believing that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. When we believe that God will fulfill His promises, even though we can’t see a single promise materializing, we are exercising faith. Faith does not bypass pain. It does, however, empower us to deal with pain. Faith steps up to the bat and invites the opponent to throw his best pitch. Sometimes faith strengthens us, and other times, surprises us. Great faith is forged in the deepest valleys, beginning where our strength and power end.

God doesn’t love you for what you can do for Him. He loves you because you’re His child. God’s promise to us isn’t that we’ll spend a lifetime of ministry on the mountaintop. The promise is that we’ll be made into the image of Jesus. Trouble is, there are a lot of valleys on the road to becoming like Jesus. So trust that He has a plan – 

Perhaps the best thing to remember is that you will probably not spend the rest of your life in this “in-between” stage. Keep reading, keep serving, keep evangelizing, keep providing… knowing that the season won’t last forever.

Glean what you can from the difficult times, because the truths you learn in the valleys keep your feet steady on the mountaintops. There is a time for everything – even unwelcome work. Look for the hidden blessings.


Raj Kosaraju

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