Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Why? We all want God's blessing. We all want to be stable in our ways; not worried and apprehensive all the time w/regard to family, work, finances and fragile relationships. We all want to be happy. Some of us would just settle for a season of peace that seems so removed from our day to day. We worry about everything from current affairs to the weather, on an almost constant basis. Then we go to church and the preacher tells us we ought to have peace. We should just be able to "turn the other cheek" when someone does us wrong. When people make themselves out to be our enemies, for reasons real or imagined, and there is no opportunity for reconciliation because there is no communication. The "man O the cloth" tells us to simply forgive, and we all give mental assent, while out heart of hearts cries out: "What? I just can't. I'd like to forgive and get on with it, but this other person won't let me. Every time I forgive, they just stick it to me again". Why then, does God command me to forgive? Not when the other person asks forgiveness, but even before, or worse, if the apology never comes. Is this even possible? And if it is, why can't I?
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch: The single ingredient necessary is summed up in one word -- Faith. We toss that around and even try to describe it with lofty terms like: "a superhuman enabling". And so it is, but how do I apply it, and how can that help me with all these issues listed above. Isn't faith a separate issue? No. We say we have faith, set our jaw and try to display it, be bitter martyrs complaining about our situation, while bragging on the degree of grace we are displaying. So why all the tests? Why is there conflict on what seems to be a day to day basis?
Here's the answer. A faith than can't be tested, can't be trusted. You could brag about your faith every day, but if things were always Hunky/Dory, how could you prove it? It is when your friends turn on you or just let you down, that you get the opportunity to prove your faith. Not only to yourself, but to your God. "But without faith it is impossible to please him:" Heb. 11:6. "But preacher, I have faith in God, but not in man. They just let me down too often." That's true by every worldly standard, but God doesn't separate them in practice. "By this will all men know you are my disciples; by your love one for another" -- John 13:35.
Or even this one: "insomuch as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me" - Matt. 25. Or my personal favorite; "If a man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" - 1st John 4:20.
When Jesus prayed in the garden the night of His betrayal, what was foremost on His mind? "That they (us) would all be one". Everything Jesus did was for the purpose of Restoration, yet we have relegated this to tolerance. We can even sit in church hating the person four rows back, but as long as I don't hurt them, I think myself noble. So what's the fix? The meat of the Word? The Application? Faith. How does it look? "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I life; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Gal. 2:20. The key then, is to dying to self, daily. Being a living sacrifice. "How preacher?" By Faith. "Who's faith?" His -- "I live by the faith of the Son of God". He is the "author (originator) and perfector (finisher) of our faith". Heb. 12:2. Do you want the peace we have been discussing? "Great peace have they who love thy law, and nothing shall offend them". - Psalm 119:165. If this is true (and it is), then when I love God's laws; am yielded and submissive to Him, I am bullet proof w/regard to the stresses of life.
Hurtful words or life's disappointments run off me like water off a duck. What are the first three fruits of the Spirit? Love Joy and Peace. Get some.