It was the kind of problem that would cause a man a great deal of embarrassment if the church he attended were to find out. But it’s actually a common problem for many Christians today.
He’d always been a nice guy, and kind to people. So, Marty was completely on-board with the love-your-neighbor thing. It was his weakness for beautiful women that was too powerful of an attraction. And he knew that lusting for their bodies was not love. Yet it was so deeply ingrained within his soul that it proved to be a powerful adversary.
Ten years after becoming a Christian he’d catch himself looking and lusting. Each time, he’d repent and confess and God forgave him. But the problem persisted.
One day after reading Romans chapter seven, Marty learned that being saved doesn’t mean we’ll no longer have problems with the flesh. Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, has made provision for all that we need to live the kind of lives that are pleasing to Him. The gift of His Holy Spirit living inside every believer exerts the power of God for that purpose, as the eighth chapter of Romans revealed to Marty.
“Lord please forgive me. I need your help to overcome this. I want to be obedient, but I need your power to do it. Show me what to do.”
Mining deeper, he pulled exemplary tools for success from God’s word.
Marty had been fighting in his own strength; attempting to conger up enough will-power to quit his habit, but the flesh has no power in spiritual matters.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 NIV)
Finally, he put his faith to work in this dilemma. Christ is our champion. Our determined friend realized that it’s our faith in Jesus’ power to overcome, which applies His might to our struggles.
Secondly, he’d never fully “set” his affections on Christ and on righteousness. Sure, Marty loved God, but he also still loved the things of the world. He loved sex.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1 NIV)
Focusing on godliness as his ultimate objective, he began to love Jesus above all else. Which became a compelling force, driving him to obedience.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”—Jesus
Turning the radio to a Christian station one day, a preacher was talking about “The Battlefield of the Mind”.
God revealed to our struggling friend that these battles with lust were being waged in his mind. And he must protect it from evil influence. There were many television shows Marty had to quit watching, and pictures to stop looking at, and stories and jokes to stop listening to. They were bombarding his eyes and ears with sexual stimuli.
“…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
He began filling his mind with all the good things of God.
The Lord then led a Christian friend to talk to Marty. Whenever a beautiful woman came around, Marty was to try and view her through God’s eyes, as God sees her. Suddenly, he found himself praying for nearly every woman he saw. He became concerned for their eternal salvation. Jesus’ love flowed through him.
In doing these things, the habit of sexual lust was squashed. It had no more power over him.
Today, Marty leads a Christian recovery group for those who are battling sexual addictions.
So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.—Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:25)
Solomon had asked God for wisdom and became wiser than any other king on earth. There’s no disputing the vast stores of wisdom he amassed, much of which is recorded in the bible. But Solomon did not always act wisely.
Going against God’s design for monogamous marriage is certainly not wise. Did Solomon actually think he could marry 300 women and have 700 more hot babes on the side and there would be no negative consequences? No strife and no difficulties? He knew the danger of being led astray by courting foreign women. God had warned against this. Yet the playboy King had lots of lovers of various descent. He was playing with fire and he knew it. The allure of using that kingly power for indulging in sexual escapades with beautiful women was too great to resist. He sowed unto the flesh and reaped a whirlwind of heartache because of it.
The canonical book of Proverbs stands as a strong warning against foolishness and wickedness and folly. It poignantly proclaims the riches of godliness and wisdom. Keeping a diary, recording the lessons we learn as we go through life is profoundly profitable. And once a person suffers the consequences of a bad decision in one of those life-events, nobody can rightly say that he is not qualified to speak on the issue, whatever it may be.
I’m picturing Solomon recording life-happenings as a very young fellow, learning through sundry experiences—sometimes the hard way.
Maybe one of his journal entries read something like this. “Note to self: ‘Don’t pull on a dog’s ears unless you want to get bit. It is foolish to do so.”
Perhaps somewhere along the line Solomon meddled in someone else’s arguments and difficulties, which had nothing to do with him. Ending up embroiled in a mess he could have avoided by minding his own business, he would have learned another valuable lesson. So he uses both incidents to write one of my favorites.
“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.” Proverbs 26:17 (NIV)
Whichever way Solomon learned these two pearls of wisdom, I’m glad he records those warnings for us. So that we can heed his counsel and learn the easy way, not having to make those mistakes ourselves. I’m certain that Thomas Edison was scoffed at and ridiculed for goofing around trying to invent the light bulb after thousands of failures. But through a process of elimination he was finally successful. Now, we don’t have to try all those things that don’t work to make a light bulb, because he’s already found out for us what does not work.
I remember a certain pastor who scoffed at another minister for counselling a young married couple in marital affairs. He said the man was not qualified to give counsel on marriage because he’d been through a divorce. Of course that was long before he’d been called to the ministry. Who in their right mind would go to a divorcee for marital advice? I would. Why? Because that man has made the mistakes and knows what to not do! Besides, if he is a spirit-led minister, God would be directing him on how to counsel others. And God knows all things.
So how do we gain wisdom? What does the bible have to say about it?
James 1:4 lays the ground work for verse 5, which speaks of wisdom.
“And let endurance (patience) have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.…”
Notice the element of time in gaining wisdom. That time, accounts for good decisions which bring favorable outcomes, as well poor choices resulting in bad happenings. The words endurance in the NIV and patience in the KJV, both require the element of time to be perfected. And whether one learns them through mistakes or otherwise, the important thing is that we have learned them.
Patient endurance while trusting God is the road to wisdom.
Remaining steadfast in faith while patiently enduring all that life throws at us, in conjunction with seeking the Lord’s mind on every issue, is the path to godly wisdom.
I think each of us probably has a regret or two and have learned a few things the hard way, whether it was rushing into a bad marriage, discovering that fire will burn you, or any number of things. So, let’s not discount others because of past mistakes or failures. They may have experiences which we can benefit from, just as Solomon made his share of bad choices. Yet we learn much from his writings.
Gaining wisdom is a process—one in which we can be proactively engaged. Let’s review what we’ve discussed and latch ahold of the keys to wisdom. But this is not an exhaustive list!
1. Ask God for wisdom and heed His counsel. ie: Obey Him.
2. Keep a journal of things you’ve learned and how you’ve come to understand them.
3. Study God’s word, the bible.
4. Maintain humility: Have a teachable spirit.
5. Be patient and understand that it takes the element of time.
6. Learn from your mistakes.
7. Every person in your life has something to contribute to your wisdom.
Lord willing, next time we'll ask and answer the question: What is it that I am supposed to endure?
A True Account
The witch doctor shrieked like a wild banshee, throwing his head around in circles as the beads on his ornamented headdress rattled. Then looked again into Tafadzwa’s eyes to confirm his diagnoses of the 30 year-old patient.
“What do you see great one?” Tafadzwa asked in a shaky voice.
“Death. There is death in your eyes. You will surely die!”
The poor Shona tribesman’s entire body went limp with shock. Fear gripped his heart like a living fire, beginning in his stomach and consuming every vital organ. All strength ebbed from his body. His words were but a whisper.
“How long do I have?”
“It is up to the ngozi. He is the evil spirit of the one you have offended. The ngozi is very angry and has come to exact retribution.”
The Shaman or “n’anga” wielded a mighty influence over the Shona tribes of Zimbabwe. And was believed to be gifted with supernatural abilities to heal, to tell the future or to curse a person. But the Christian missionaries sent to preach the gospel to the Shona people, and to offer them medical assistance, knew this to be nonsense.
The two missionaries, Jim and Jeanne, examined Tafadzwa, who now lay on a mat in his shabby hut. Trained in nursing, Jeanne gave him a clean bill of health. Physically, there was nothing wrong with the man. But he believed he was dying.
The next morning the couple went to check on the distraught native. They found him sitting on the ground with his back pressed against a huge baobab tree. He was dead. But his eyes remained wide open, as if in terror.
It was a year later when Jim and Jeanne spoke with doctors who confirmed the possibility of actually dying, simply on the belief that death was imminent. In fact, three other cases of death by a person’s own mind had been documented.
“The mind is a powerful thing.” They were told.
These two Christian missionaries related the story to me. They are my parents.
As Christians, it is vitally important to guard our thoughts, and to diligently protect what goes into our minds. Stimulus, suggestion, and callousing are constant threats against our fortresses of thought. The mind is much more impressionable than any of us would care to admit. Especially when we think it is not.
It is our mind’s belief in Jesus which saves us, and ushers us into eternal life. A healthy thought life is a nurturing spring of vibrant spiritual health. Thoughts that are uplifting, loving and grateful are like rich nutrients to the soul. Whereas negative, bitter or lustful thoughts poison the mind, and ultimately lead to death.
Millions of people over the past two thousand years have testified of the power of the word of God, the holy bible, to change lives. They have experienced transformation for themselves, and have received life in abundance, peace, joy and wisdom. I have as well. Yet, there are many who feel that the bible is just an ordinary book, written by men. These too have testimony to give. They’ve read it and declared the scriptures to have no lasting impact upon their lives.
Let’s examine this dichotomy and discover the truth. I remember high school science as my favorite course of study. I was fascinated with microscopic life, chemicals and reactions. Early on, I learned about catalysts. Many times, a catalyst needs to be added to a compound to speed up and enhance the reaction to mixing them together.
Today’s automobiles include a catalytic converter, which is a device that uses a catalyst to convert three harmful compounds in car exhaust into harmless compounds. The catalyst helps to change toxic carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. It transforms the atmosphere damaging hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. It also converts the nitrogen oxides back into nitrogen and oxygen.
Going deeper, we find that without catalysts, life is not possible. For example, without a catalyst, oxygen and hydrogen gases would not be able to combine to form water. Without water, all life on planet earth would cease to exist.
Ephesians 5:26 speaks of God’s word, as water which cleanses those who are being saved. “…to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” (“Her” refers to the church)
The bible too is a catalyst of sorts, a cleansing agent for the soul, helping convert condemned sinners into cleansed and sanctified Saints. It aids in gaining eternal life, because it reveals Jesus as the Christ and exposes the deep secrets of our hearts. It changes lives. But according to the testimonies of some non-believers, it does not always change lives.
Hmmm. Maybe the word of God needs a catalyst for the powerful change in a person’s heart and mind to take place. Perhaps that catalyst was absent in the people who experienced no power and no positive reaction from reading the bible. You’ve probably already surmised: I’m talking about faith!
“For without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)
It is God who works the change. He is the power behind the jaw dropping transformations that take place in the hearts, minds and characters of a multitude of souls across the globe daily. It is when the word of God is read through the eyes of faith that its power is released. And faith compels God to exert His awesome power into the life of believers.
Yet without faith, the bible have no impact. Because the flesh is in opposition to God and cannot even comprehend the things of God. It is the Spirit of God who acts upon the believer’s faith and opens the mind’s understanding. Without the faith, the Spirit will not react in this way.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV)
When a person goes to a doctor for treatment of some physical ailment they must first have faith in that doctor. They must believe he knows what he’s doing and that he understands medicine, the human body and various sicknesses. The same is true of God and His word, the bible.
Continuing the analogy further, if the doctor prescribes a medicine for a sickness, it would be ridiculous to think that it would have any effect without actually taking or applying the medicine. Simply reading the bible has no power to transform whatsoever. However, applying its principles to our lives will invariably create drastic and positive change.
Faith is belief in action. It’s doing something. Faith and application is what makes the difference. We must respond in faith to God’s word. When we do this, we can expect miracles.
I just purchased several exercise machines. Perhaps if I stare at them and study them long enough, I’ll get in shape?
Watching a re-run of the classic western TV series “Bonanza”, is what sparked my research into an old silver mine. It is called the Comstock Lode, and was one of the world’s biggest hauls of silver. Millions of dollars’ worth of raw silver was overlooked by gold seekers. They hadn’t been searching for silver, and didn’t know how to recognize it in its raw form. Hoping for the yellow stuff, the miners became disgusted with all those blasted blue rocks they kept digging up. As a result, Comstock, who did recognize it as silver ore, purchased the site for a pittance and became a mega millionaire.
The former owners of the site, as well as most of the miners working the site, allowed a vast fortune to slip through their fingers.
Many Christians today are completely unaware of the immense wealth that is within their grasp. Not money, silver, gold or diamonds, though that too is possible. We must develop a mind to understand what God has for us. Our hearts must be trained to discern our riches in Christ, available in the here-and-now, with the inheritance of all things yet to come.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18)
As a man who enjoys living with gusto, my passion drives me, yet I must allow intellect and logic to hold the steering wheel. One melancholy fellow I used to work alongside would constantly ask me, “What are you so dog-gone happy about?” He’d say, “Get your head out the clouds, life sucks.”
That’s more than a matter of perspective. The weather men tell us most weather changes take place in the troposphere, or lower level of the atmosphere. With my heart and mind set on the Lord, I try to keep my head above the stratosphere, where the ever changing weather of life has the least effect on my journey towards home.
Sometimes in this life on earth we look too hard for gold, when silver is right there within reach. Maybe we need to settle for silver more often. “Store up our treasure in heaven”, as Jesus puts it. We gather little by little today, while pressing on to acquire the greatest wealth of all.
What God has for us, exceeds anything we can possibly imagine for ourselves. All we need do is follow God’s program, which He’s designed to lead us there. It’s the best way and the right way. The way of righteousness, through faith in Christ. We’ll find it to be the way least taken, yet it leads to the fulfillment of our hearts deepest desires. The greatest wealth of all, is found by allowing God to enlighten our hearts to understand the vast treasure we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship."
(Romans 12:1 NIV)
What we have to look forward to, or “our hope”:
Eternal life with glorious King Jesus, living amidst beauty not yet seen, in perfect peace, and no pain or suffering, while inheriting the entire earth. That is merely the tip of the iceberg—just the beginning of our hope as Christians.
Yet we can have so many benefits right now that they cannot be numbered. Here’s a dozen benefits to consider what we can have right now, and which come from a life of trusting Christ—living in obedience to Him.
Provision of everything we need
Our deepest desires fulfilled
Discernment… you get the picture.
But we must remember that we are not called to a life of ease. There will be sacrifices to make—self-denial, suffering and pain, hardship and difficulties. That’s what those twelve benefits are for. To strengthen us—enabling the faithful to endure to the end, that we may obtain the greatest treasure of all. Jesus Christ is our treasure.
Flipping through an old hymnal brought back many great memories of my early years growing up attending church, creating a warm nostalgia. I was struck by the number of songs about the cross. In my youth, I couldn’t fully appreciate the many songs that sing of the cross of Christ.
A lot of people were crucified on those Roman instruments of torture. What is it about the cross of Christ that is so powerful and elicits such teary eyed wonder and praise? What’s so special about that cross? Looking at some of those hymns, we can see the answer.
“At the Cross”
“At the Cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
and the burdens of my heart rolled away.
It was there by faith, I received my sight.
And now I am happy all the day.”
And Isaac Watts’ “When I survey the Wondrous Cross”:
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”
Then: “I Saw the Cross” by Frederick Whitfield,
The 3rd verse reads:
“I trust the cross of Jesus In every trying hour,
My sure and certain refuge, my never failing tower;
In every fear and conflict, I more than conqueror am;
Living I’m safe, or dying, Thro’ Christ the living Lamb.”
Or: “The Old Rugged Cross” by George Benard, Verse 3:
“In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see; For twas on that old cross
Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross…”
There are many more, The love that was displayed there and the glorious cleansing it procures for all who trust in Jesus, elicits worship and love, praise and thanks, while revealing the power of God to transform hearts and lives.
Perhaps Jennie Evelyn Hussey’s chorus to “Lead Me to Calvary” sheds more light.
“Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.”
Another illumining verse is from, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” by John Bowring.
“When the woes of life o’re-take me, Hopes deceive and fears annoy.
Never shall the cross forsake me: Lo, It glows with peace and joy.”
For the Christian, the cross of Christ is the symbol of our hope, our joy and redemption. All comfort is found in the shade of that Roman instrument of cruelty and torture, because of the one who died on it. Jesus, the Prince of Peace and Lord of Glory.
The salt air was warm at two o’clock in the morning and the distant surf splashed its waves onto shore with a cleansing sound. At the end of a very long fishing pier on Florida’s gulf coast, I cried out to the Lord with the deepest heartache of my 29 years. Shark fishermen glared darts at me for intruding into their self-claimed area, yet I’d paid my gate-fee.
After neglecting my relationship with God for many years, I needed Him desperately. I was ready to either: end my life, or hear from God. That was the essence of my cry. I was heart-broken, despairing and crushed in spirit. At the time, all the scriptures speaking of how God constantly searches for hearts in precisely that condition, were not yet known.
I was finally ready to surrender, like a wild stallion who is at last broken for service. This is what God had been waiting for. My surrender. Complete submission to Him. It was necessary to break my self-reliance to embark into the most beautiful love relationship with my Creator and Lord. I had to empty myself of all I thought I knew, and of all the good things I believed I’d done. Totally empty—that I may be completely filled.
Self-will constantly conflicts with God’s will, until we entirely submit to Him. Then we share the same desires—God and the individual. That is the key to intimacy with God: Constant surrender, perpetual submission and remaining dependent upon Christ. God views self-sufficiency as sinful pride, and He cannot work with that, until we are broken of it.
Two men in suits drew even more pointed stares from the shark butchers, who were after only dorsal fins, wasting the rest of the fish. God had sent these two servants of the Most High to speak with me and share from the book of Hosea.
We three were roughly kicked off the pier by the owner when the shark-men complained that we we’re talking about God and quoting the bible. One week later a hurricane destroyed that pier. Hmmm.
It’s a simple concept to understand. When we come to the Lord and open the bible, we read it every time with new eyes. We don’t bring our preconceived ideas to taint the message God has for us at that moment. We allow the truth to transform us.
Jesus is the truth, and God’s word is truth. We must rely on His Spirit to teach us the truths we need to govern our lives, not our college professors. We respond to His message of love by loving Him in return. He becomes our bread and meat and drink.
There is nothing else that will completely satisfy the human heart and soul the way an intimate relationship with God will satisfy. Then—never will we want for anything. Never again.
Sin has gone far beyond a mere tainting of a profoundly beautiful gift. Sin has stigmatized the vehicle of one of God’s most poignant messages to mankind. Sex is an object lesson for the people of His monolithic affection.
Love, being the essence of the Divine character and being, is more aptly understood through the physical and emotional responses to the act of sex.
Stigma clings to the word. Sex. And to the act itself, as something bad and dirty. Yet, the gift of sex was given to mankind to reflect the glorious beauty and intensity of God’s love. Much more than for merely a sensational response to human love.
Sex heightens love. It deepens the bond and commitment in the mind between two, penetrating deeply into the seat of emotion and affection. It melds two individuals together, uniting souls to become as one. Hence, sex within the confines of marriage, is the tangible picture of the close, intimate relationship our Creator desires between Himself and every individual. A love relationship with mankind: His living and pinnacle creation of love.
Sex is the ultimate in closeness. It clarifies God’s purpose in creating us to have fellowship with Him. And it is only through intimacy in our relationship with Him that we come to experience total fulfillment in our designed purpose. Contentment is acquired in our union with God. Allegorically, our marriage to Him.
The intensity of affection, driven into the heart at the time of orgasm, fits well with the satisfaction found in a right and close relationship with God. He fulfills our every desire.
In Thomas Constable’s commentary on Canticles (Song of Solomon), he writes: “…sex enables an experience of love whose intensity has no parallel in this cosmos and serves as a signpost to point to the greater love that lies beyond it."
It is “the greater love” (of God) to which the gift of sex would direct our attention. What more powerful sensation could better fit the contentment found in Christ, than that of orgasmic satisfaction, when it is acquired through a monogamous act of love’s expression?
Yet love that is not tested, tried and proven can never sustain a union that is so complete, such as marriage is. Therefore, God’s plan, which sought to express His great love, even before the creation of the cosmos, was revealed through the Son, Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. There is no greater test of love. “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.”—Jesus
The longer we walk with the Lord and the more intimately we come to know Him, the greater our awe becomes at the bottomless well of His love. I believe it will take all eternity to discover the greatest depths of God’s monolithic love in all of its various attributes.
Our God wants to lavish that love upon us. If we will only return to Him, through His Son, Jesus. His call is clear. His invitation stands. “I love you. Come home and remain faithful to me—my wife.”
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.”
Hosea 2:19 NIV
The following is a checklist to help us get ready to pray. This is more of a “How-to pray” than a “What-to Pray”. The what-to should flow from the how-to.
1. Be Prepared! Know what you want before approaching the King. (Going before royalty) Why do you want to speak to God? What do you want? What is your request or petition?
2. Attitude: Come humbly, reverently, acknowledging His position, in awe, submissively. Come in the fear of the Lord, yet grateful for His love.
3. Intercessory prayers: Mention individual or groups of people by name. Be specific in particular mercies, particular graces, particular blessings and provisions.
4. No mock modesty. No beautiful phraseology or King James language needed. Use the words that come natural to you.
5. Self-examination: will reveal those things we need the most: more faith, humility, etc. The Spirit helps us discover our sins. Ask Him. Ask that God reveal any un-forgiveness towards others that may still be in your heart. Do it right then. Forgive them! And ask God to forgive those who have done you wrong.
6. Intense desire for that which we ask, praying fervently. If your prayer does not move your heart, how shall it move God’s heart?
7. In Faith, believing God hears. Faith that He will answer. Fully convinced of the power of prayer. Faith that we have what we ask for (Within His will).
8. Pray from a thankful heart, in awe of God, realizing His love towards you. Pray emotionally.
9. Submissive heart. Listen for the Spirit to speak to your heart. Search your heart for unconfessed sin. When it is shown to you, humbly repent and ask for forgiveness, naming what you did wrong. It is very important to accept God’s forgiveness (forgive yourself too), and thank Him for forgiving you. This is a good time to ask God to help you grow and do better in that weak area.
10. Pray according to God’s will. “Not my will, but thine be done.”—Jesus. This is trusting in His love & wisdom.
(1st John 5: 14)
11. Pray in Jesus’ name. This shows that you have been granted an audience with the King. You rightfully speak to Him, in accordance with God’s own words in the bible. Say to God that you have come before Him through the blood of Christ and because of your faith in His Son Jesus. Praying in Jesus’ name also implies that what you are asking for, is for the sake of His kingdom. For His name’s sake. This goes along with praying the will of God.
12. Praise Him! “God you are holy and righteous. Your name is above all names! You are a mighty God!” Praise Him for specific things He’s done for you.
13. Thank God for all things. Sometimes we may even thank God for things that look bad to us, because we know God has a plan for that, and He is allowing something that looks bad, to make something really good happen. This is having faith in His immutable goodness and love.
“When you pray, it's better your heart be without words, than your words be without heart.”— John Bunyan
1st Thessalonians 5: 17 “Pray without Ceasing.”
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10: 13 NIV)
The question weighs heavy on the hearts of many. “Am I really saved?” Romans 10: 9-10 promises that if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead that we will be saved.
But preacher, what about Matthew 7: 21? Where Jesus said,
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
One verse says I just believe and confess and the other that I must also do the will of the Father. Is this a contradiction? What is the will of the Father?
God would have us believe on His Son Jesus as our Christ (Savior). That is His will. But we must understand what kind of “belief” God requires. These two verses say the same thing. They clarify each other.
There was a woman who told her husband every morning before he and she both left for work, “I love you.” Yet the wife was having an affair with another man from her job. Considering that “love” is an action rather than just a feeling, she was not acting in love toward her husband. She did not love him. The same is true of belief. If we truly believe, we will show it by our actions. If we really love God, we will do His will. We will follow Jesus and obey God’s word. This is believing.
These verses are in perfect harmony with each other. And God has made provision for the times we slip-up and make mistakes or fall to a temptation that we regret. 1st John 1:9 is a promise. We believe we are forgiven, confess & repent, and those sins are covered by the blood of Christ. We also believe that God is working in our hearts to make those errors fewer and fewer as we mature in faith.
Salvation is based on “faith” (Ephesian 2: 8-10). Faith is: “BELIEF IN ACTION”.
We have a wonderful salvation by grace in Christ Jesus. It is a relationship of love and trust and obedience. Eternal life and all the riches of Christ are ours through faith in Him. Praise God!
Father God, please reveal your word to my understanding. Thank you for calling me to faith in Christ. I believe in your Son Jesus. Help me to live like I do. Amen.
(Let Jesus’ words speak to your heart in today’s bible reading: Matthew 7: 13-29).