Friday, April 29, 2011

We Are Supplied for Life

At times it is easy to approach the Christian life as if God has done His part in saving me from sin, but now it is up to me to do my best not to sin again.  That is why it is so easy to fall back into a life that is dominated by the law, because we believe that the main problem in our lives is sin.  In order to keep from sinning we erect all these little laws to keep us on the straight and narrow.  Doesn't that sound familiar.

I know this will be a radical statement, but I believe that it is absolutely true: Sin is not the biggest obstacle in our lives!  In never has been.  Sin is but the consequence of the biggest obstacle we have to experience true life.  That obstacle is a lack of faith in God.  We don't trust God to do the right thing, to provide for our needs, or to lead us on the path of life.  Since we don't trust God we end up doing our own thing, doing what seems right to us in the moment, or going along with the flow of the world and in the process we turn our backs on God and cut ourselves off from the very source of life that we need.

The true and abundant life that Jesus promises us begins and ends with our faith in God.  We need to trust God to provide what we need for life.  Gary Carpenter in What the Bible Says about the Heart wrote, "However, God has supplied us with all we need to keep our hearts healthy, to keep the deadening effects of sin at bay, and to help us grow strong for eternal life" (p. 110).

God hasn't saved us and then set us out on our own with the command to try harder and do better.  No, he has rescued us from the clutches of Satan, sin, and death and He has set our feet on paths of righteousness.  He wants us to succeed and to have life and so God provides what we need along the way.  Peter wrote:
 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4; ESV)
God has promised to provide what we need for life!  We need to trust Him in this. So the question is how do we do this?  How do we learn to trust God more?

Let me offer two steps that will help us get started.  First, we need to spend time with other Christians.  The writer of Hebrews wrote:
 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25; ESV)
How do we hold on to the hope of life?  We meet together and encourage one another.  A huge tragedy that existes in many church families today is that there is little spiritual encouragement.  We don't know how to talk to one another about what God is doing in our lives and we become uncomfortable when some one explains how they have experienced God at work.  In the process we miss out on the great reminder that God is at work in our lives and in the world around us.

The second step is that we need to focus on God's kingdom.  In Colossians 3:1-4 the apostle Paul wrote:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (ESV)
Our focus should be taken off the things of this world: wealth, success, politics, entertainment, possessions, and power.  Our focus should be on God and His Kingdom.  What is God's desire for the world?  How can I use my resource and talents for God's mission?  Who can I encourage with God's truth?  What can I get rid of that is standing in the way of living the life God created me to live? We need to examine our lives and determine if our hearts and minds are set on the things of this world and on godly things.

The Christian life is more than trying our best to live a godly life.  It is about learning to trust God more and more as He guides us along the path of righteousness.  We cannot create life on our own, we need to trust God to give us the life we need each day.

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