In today’s post I just want to talk about the amazing qualities of God, which makes Him the one Person we can truly rely on with all of our heart. In a previous post I referred to 1 Corinthians 13, speaking about some of the characteristics of love. The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), so every quality describing love also describes God.
God will never rush you – He is patient at all times. He will never be jealous of you or treat you unkindly. God is not self-seeking, so His thoughts are about you! He will never hold a grudge and act resentful towards you – and He never remembers or brings up the past.
God is strong enough to bear up under anything that comes His way – He will never desert you. He does not wait for you to make a mistake or see the worst in your actions – He only believes the best of you. His positivity towards you makes Him full of hope under all circumstances.
God can never fail or come to an end. Your companionship with Him will last forever. He is completely trustworthy, without human limitations or failures. His love is perfect, and all of His love is directed at you.
Human wisdom will never satisfy a soul hungry for the rich, nourishing life that can only be found in Christ. No matter how beautifully it is written or preached – if a message is not centered around Christ, it does not have the power to change.
A self-help message centered around our own efforts might sound noble, but it is not the message Jesus preached. Jesus’ own words in John 15:5 was: “However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”. He did not tell us we might be able to accomplish some form of holiness or self-preservation on our own. He told us without Him, we can do nothing. Nothing means nothing – whichever way you look at it.
Paul took pride in the fact that his persuasion did not come through beautiful, lofty words of eloquence or human wisdom. He did not try to woo the church through charisma or a dynamic stage presence. His only focus when preaching was Jesus, and what He did on the cross (he resolved to be conscious of nothing else).
“As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; for I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.” 1 Cor 2:1-2
This message is all that matters, all we should be conscious of. This is the only message that can change a human life.
“Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus … For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us…” Rom 8:1-4
Romans 8 gives us irrefutable proof that justification does NOT come through the law. It clearly says there is something which the law cannot do – namely the abolishing and overcoming of sin. God, on the other hand, was able to accomplish this. He sent His son as an offering for sin, and in this way met every righteous and just requirement of the Law. In other words – there is nothing of the law that is left for us to complete. Every single requirement was met through Jesus’ sacrifice.
In other words, if we now believe in this sacrifice we are completely set free and justified. That is why there is now no more condemnation for us. No one can point a finger at us and tell us we are not righteous or acceptable before God. We can approach Him boldly and without fear. We have been forever freed from the law of sin and death (a strict list of rules which had to be followed in order to not experience wrath and condemnation) to walk in a law of the Spirit of life (which is Jesus and the life in abundance we now have in Him).
God did not intend for Christians to be the cultivators of their own minds. These days it is common to hear teachings about “how to achieve the mind of Christ“, or “steps to follow in order for your thoughts to be holy“. Although it might sound great in theory, this kind of ‘pruning’ will not change the root of your thought-life.
The only way to experience the thoughts and the mind of Christ, is to submit yourself to God and let Him do the pruning. You will never get anywhere through your own efforts – we are told so plainly in Rom 8:7:
“[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.”
The mind of the flesh cannot submit itself unto God. Only God can change your mind and thoughts. By looking away from all that will distract (including the thoughts/mindsets you want to change) unto Jesus, He will finish the work that He started within you (Heb 12:2). He will change the entire root-system of your faith ‘tree’, and the result will be effortless fruit-bearing.
Romans 12:2 does not tell us to transform our own minds, it tells us to let it be transformed. Look to God and let Him take over the reconstruction of your mind!
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude]” Rom 12:2
There is a mindset and position from which we must operate as Christians in order to be as fruitful as God intentded us to be. This position is a position of rest – meaning a space devoid of human interference, plans and theologies. In our own efforts and plans we will almost always drive ourselves to become burnt-out and tired, and this does not glorify God.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and [s]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matt 11:28 – 30
Let what you do for God proceed from the joy that is within you. By operating in this way you will function optimally, while seeing maximum results. God will be able to speak to you more clearly, and because you are not overworked and swamped by your own efforts, you will hear Him more clearly.
As always, let your relationship with God take first place. Every ministry, idea or outreach you have should flow from that.
Because we still live in an imperfect world, we may sometimes find ourselves in challenging or difficult circumstances. Whether it be sickness or losing a job – we have all encountered it somewhere. The world’s first reaction is to blame it all on God, but I want you remember the following two points whenever something unpleasant happens in your life:
- Anything negative/evil that happens in the world is the direct result of sin, not of God. Romans 5:12 tells us that sin entered the world, and through sin came death. Always remember the root of any unpleasant occurrence is sin, not God.
- It is impossible for God to change, but your situation can definitely change. God is the same: yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). He has established His undeniably perfect character through His word, and nothing can change this. Your circumstances are subject to change – not God. He is not the cause of it.
We need to keep hearing the message of God’s goodness and His true character. For more information read all posts categorized under ‘God’s Character’ (right sidebar), which include some of the following:
In the previous post I spoke about how hearing the true message of our salvation over and over again will change us from the inside out. A message that goes hand in hand with our true salvation is the message of grace. Jesus came to change a whole lot of things – one of which is the complete fulfillment of the law’s demands.
“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgement and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this salvation is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] Eph 2:8
How can anyone possible argue with this verse? How can any church still preach a message of striving or effort in order to please God? Before Jesus came to change everything, only the Jews who were part of God’s covenant could approach Him (and then only through keeping up with the law’s demands). After Jesus, all of the world (called ‘Gentiles’) previous excluded from this covenant could now approach God through faith.
“[Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God’s agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ you have been brought near…By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law and its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled];” Eph 2:12-13, 15
It is very clear that in this new era no preference is given to any person, nation or church who upholds the law. The only deciding factor when it comes to salvation and a clear conscience before God is whether you have faith in His Son.
What I love about true Christianity is the simplicity of the message. Jesus encourages us to become more like children in Matthew 18. I don’t know if you’ve seen this – but little children can watch their favourite movie 200 times in a row without getting bored. This should become our mentality regarding the truth about the cross and salvation of Christ. If we understand the greatness of Jesus’ salvation, we will never tire of hearing about it!
Today, many preachers preach messages filled with deep and complicated revelations and theological discussions. Although there is nothing wrong with revelation – the message of Christ should never be neglected. It is not a message that should only be preached one time. It cannot be heard too many times. It is through hearing the truth over and over again, that we will become saved and changed into the image of Christ.
So I want to remind you about the basics again:
I can go on, but first I just want to really let the above mentioned facts sink in… :-)