Jesus Did It!
By: Norm Rasmussen
You may find trusting God is easy, but I sure don't always find it so easy! However - I'm not convinced God ever decided trusting Him was going to be easy. But He sure desires that we work diligently at it.
Trusting the Lord - trusting God - having faith in God ... means the same thing (without splitting theological hairs). And without going into some long, lengthily wording ... making a stab of what the original Greek and Hebrew root word/s meant at the time they were written in the original holy scripture texts ... I feel to share what I believe trusting God - or having faith in God - is supposed to mean for those of us who are attempting to please God and don't always find it so easy.
1) It means to believe that God will take care of a given situation or matter; leaving the ultimate outcome to God.
2) It means to believe what God wants us to believe so that He will accomplish something specific that we believe He is asking us to specifically believe Him for.
3) It means that we are to believe what God has already said about a given situation or matter, which in most occasions, is what has already been recorded in the Old and New Testament Bible.
4) It means to have confidence in one's Savior. (Jesus Christ is my Savior. With everything in Him, He wants to be yours too, if He isn't yet!).
Now then ... we go through life essentially trusting one of two sources. Either trusting ourselves, or trusting something higher than ourselves -- God. A combination of the two is the human condition for many people, at various times in their lives. Which God a person is trusting, however, differs greatly, and those of us who considers ourselves Christians realize that folks who are trusting any God other than the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit are in for a rude awakening when they leave this life and enter the next life.
I'm persuaded that the greatest reason why more people fail to become "sold out" Christians for Jesus Christ is because of their fear of losing selfish sinful-control. And that is what God wants us giving up: Selfish sinful-control and replacing it with God-glorifying Holy Spirit controlled guidance from Him.
It has taken me years of being a Christian to come to some vague understanding that none of us like giving up selfish sinful-control. Rather ... we would like to reserve the "right" to make every decision on our own, and then have God bless the decision. God wants the right to have us inquire of what He thinks about the decision we will make, and give Him time to let us know what He has to say about this decision, before making the decision and acting on it and just expecting Him to bless it.
Please don't misunderstand: I'm not suggesting that we are supposed to inquire about what we are going to cook for our next meal, nor when would be the best time to take a shower, as examples. The decisions we have to make in everyday living are decisions He expects us to make on our own to fit our lifestyles, and it would be obviously ridiculous to ask Him about these matters in most cases.
Let's take a side-trip for just a moment. Why does God want us praying to Him? Most trusted Bible scholars will tell you that the number one reason God wants us constantly praying to Him about matters is because it demonstrates our willingness to depend upon Him. It openly demonstrates our need for Him. It also demonstrates our wisdom.
Like prayer, our purposing to constantly put our faith in God demonstrates to God that we need Him. Constantly demonstrating to God that we need Him is wisdom beyond measure! When God decreed that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last ... in large part He's communicating that those who demonstrate they need God the most shall be those God elevates to the front of the line on reward day. Self-sufficiency does not pay dividends in God's economy. Christ-sufficiency does pay huge dividends!
Fundamental Christian Bible doctrine teaching tells us that we are all born sinners, because of the sin nature we inherited all the way back to Adam and Eve. And being born with this sin-nature, we are programmed from an early age to learn selfish sinful-control. In other words saying: "I want what I want!" A little baby learns that crying will usually get the attention of someone to give the crying baby some attention of sorts. That baby is looking out for self. He or she is teaching itself self-preservation. That's good in one sense, but in another, it will grow to become the greatest barrier to submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It requires trusting someone higher than oneself, and most people are afraid to do that. In fact, some people will kill another if selfish-control is threatened to be taken from them.
I believe the most difficult struggle/s every Christian will have are God's demands of living by faith in Him. In other words, focusing more on what they can't see, rather than what they can see. God intends/intended it to be that way! When God decreed, "The just shall live by faith" ...He meant/means exactly what He says. Hebrews Chapter 11 gives a great assortment of God's people "living by faith - or trust (same thing), and the pain they endured in doing so.
From our human perspective, it can almost seem as though God asks followers of Him to do things that are nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment. Yet since when has God inquired with humans to make decisions that will effect the plans God has for created beings for eternity? It doesn't work that way, does it? God decides what He wants to happen and everyone who wants to stay in good standing with Him chooses to do as asked ... or suffer the consequences.
Are there any other important reasons why God wants His people to live by faith - by trust? Yes there is. It is to force each of us to believe God when rational, human logic seems to say something totally different. Something totally opposite in many cases! And again, His purpose? To force His people to rely on Him. It's as simple as that. To force His people to relinquish control, and willingly hand over to Him the control to determine the outcome God desires.
Why does He demand to be in control? For the same reason that the President of the United States demands to be in control. For the same reason the leader of any nation demands to be in control. For the same reason the military, or the police, demand to be in control. It keeps the peace. It enables the leader to get things done according to his/her will. Without a leader being in control, everyone else wants to be in control. And when everyone else wants to be in control, you end up with chaos.
God has the right to be in control of His created beings. If you were Him, you would also demand the very same right. Yet God gives His created beings a choice in the matter. He doesn't force His created beings to relinquish control and give Him control. He gives each of us free-will to choose for ourselves whether we want to give Him control or not.
Newly saved Christians find this decision making process their daily cross to carry. "Lord - what is your will for such and such? What is my responsibility in it; what am I to relinquish control of and trust You to influence the outcome? Some of us find so threatening relinquishing control to a God we can't see or feel that we simply refuse to go there. Thus we hang onto our own decision making process and let the chips fall where they may ... and oftentimes God makes certain the chips don't fall into place the way we hoped they would, and/or expected them to.
Here's a spiritual baseball bat smack dab between the eyes. The safest and wisest place in life we can be is to learn as quickly as we can that God will take very good care of us if we allow Him to be included in our decision making process on a daily basis. The individual who has learned to allow God to have control is a person whose prayers get answered a lot more frequently.
Let's say that a different way, to help it sink in. If you want to have a fruitful prayer life, the best and most efficient way to bring that about is to learn to seek God for what His will might be in a given matter before a decision gets made on your part in how to pray and trust, and work with HIM for the final outcome of the matter. Doing so communicates to God that you are more than willing and eager to "live by faith", and not so much by human reasoning. Human reason/reasoning - human logic - stands as a tall barrier in most cases from "living by faith", by the way. Human reasoning is a wonderful gift from God, but it can also be our greatest hindrance in having a vibrant prayer life. You cannot have a fruitful, vibrant prayer life without being able to trust God for the outcome of matters. That's just the way it works.
This world system works hard at trying to brainwash people to be "self-independent". This is probably the greatest reason why God tells us that if we love the world (love the way the world teaches us to go about making our decisions), we can't be close to Him.
God says our trusting in Him - believing Him - having faith in Him ... can bring about the humanly impossible. God has given us written guidelines to operate in "mountain moving trust" - "mountain moving faith" in Mark 9:23. Yet it has been my experience that unless the Holy Spirit is prompting a person to pray and believe in the first place for a "mountain to get removed" ... the mountain will remain standing.
How so? Because God refuses to let there be some quick-fix formula for walking in "mountain moving faith". God determines how much faith any of us will have at any given time, yet God is constantly trying to get us to operate more and more in "mountain moving faith", I believe, if our motive is truly to bring God glory for it all and we remain humble.
Each of us are uniquely created to be God's friend, and there are no two friends of God created exactly the same ... because God is beyond unique in being THE Creator. And because you were created by Him to be the sole unique creation that He intends for you to be - to become ... your journey of trust with Him will be different than any other. Oh sure - there will be similarities, but as time goes by, what God expects you to believe Him for will have different details than what others have to share. You have to trust Jesus to be your Savior like I do, if you want eternal salvation, but beyond that, your daily cross of having to trust Him will not be identically the same as any other. That's pretty cool, isn't it? Well, actually, that makes GOD pretty cool.
What I have to share with you about how to help increase your trust in God - how to increase your faith in God ... can at best only be a few sketchy guidelines. Trust - faith - in God comes from God. He moderates who gets it, and moderates how much you get of it at any given time. You have to prove faithfulness with His trust - faithfulness with His faith - usually, to be given greater amounts of it. He who is faithful with little trust will be faithful with greater trust. God has decreed to this be in His Word.
God is truly delighted when we push forward in trusting Him. The more we trust Him ... the more glory it brings Him. The more glory it brings Him by our trusting, the more it motives Him to shower us with greater blessing - greater favor - greater faith when needed.
The wise person works diligently at learning to trust God to the MAX. It's not something to fear at all. It's something to be embraced and elevated to the very highest importance in our daily lives. I haven't arrived by any means ... but it absolutely thrills me to be used of God to watch Him do things I could never possibly do by my own abilities by my simple asking and trusting Him!
Remember these two things:
1) Trusting God HONORS Him. God is HUGE into being honored.
2) You can't please God apart from faith. "How so, Norm?"
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. - Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
Thus trusting - having faith - no longer becomes an option, does it?
So specifically, what is the faith that God approves of, so we can be pleasing to Him in our faith? Answer: Believing that God the Father sent His only Son from heaven to live on this earth as a man for 33 years -- being tempted like all people are tempted to sin ... yet never sinned once. And because He never sinned once, that qualified Him to be the one and only acceptable sacrifice to take full punishment from God the Father for each of our sins. Thus not only did Jesus Christ take full punishment for all our sins, God the Father also imputed His Godly righteousness - His godliness holiness - to sinners like you and I. Thus it was the sacrifice Jesus Christ made of Himself that qualifies us to be saved from the punishment for our sins so we can spend eternity with Him. Do you believe that. Then your faith is pleasing to God. If you don't believe it, your faith is not pleasing to God, and you are thereby disqualified to be rewarded by Him until you change your faith in what saves you on the judgment day from the penalty of your sins.
Choose wisely. Choose the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as full payment for all your sins.
Once we are at peace with God in what saves us from our sins, then God begins to challenge us in different ways to seek His will in matters of life. Once God reveals His will in these matters, He expects us to trust Him to execute His will in these matters. Thus "living by faith" is not just a once in a lifetime thing, is it? "Living by faith in God" becomes lot and parcel in our daily relationship with God, doesn't it?
Beyond salvation ... believing God is going to do something and then never see it happen falls into the feeling forsaken test. It is perhaps the most painful tests of all tests we can be given, but in the longer run, it can become the most priceless when it comes to growing in our relationship with God.
But yet ... nothing is impossible with God our Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on our side, to those who fight every good fight through God's strength and wisdom, refusing to let the hindering giants of doubt and unbelief crowd out the limitless power of our Creator.
Tuck this spiritual insight away. Sometimes fasting is required to have sufficient faith to have God execute a miracle either on our behalf, or on the behalf of another. Never underestimate the value of fasting.
Believing makes all things possible, yet we must always humbly understand - we are to trust God in what He would have us believe at any given time. Just because we believe God for something doesn't obligate Him to grant what we are trusting Him for. We have to do everything we know to do to be in His will regarding the matter, which simply demonstrates that we are honoring Him no matter what the earthly outcome may be.
That's about it for now ...
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of
the kingdom [Jesus
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
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