Thursday, July 31, 2014

4 PILLARS OF TRUTH FOR CHRISTIANS! (Christian Growth Series)

LEARNING TAKES TIME!
Growing as a Christian is a life-long process. Through personal time with God studying His Word, praying and listening to His voice we grow in the knowledge of Him.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
John 17:3

When Jesus spoke of knowing the Father and Himself, the word He used implies intimate knowledge - not second hand, not a casual acquaintance, not mere "head knowledge" - but a deep, close intimacy with God. In fact the same word is used in intimate relations between a man and his wife. Adam "knew" Eve and Abel was born... (You get the picture!)

It is that depth of intimacy that God longs to have with us and that we desperately need with with Him!

BUT I DON'T HAVE A LIFETIME!
Yes - intimacy takes time. A newly born-again Christian knows God but has a great deal yet to learn about God, His ways and His thoughts!

Let's be clear - the Holy Spirit is living in every true Christian! Perhaps it can be compared to a person who lives in our house. We definitely know this person but if we are coming and going, we have may not get much opportunity to know him intimately. When we see him or her, we ask, "How was your day?" and talk about sports, hobbies and world events - but we never get to know the deepest feelings of that person!

Unless we apply ourselves to an imitate relationship with God, it will never happen!

But if this process takes a lifetime, what will we do in the meantime? What about issues that confront us today? What if I can't answer every question or offer an informed opinion on every issue? You and I cannot become theologians overnight! We can't all become experts on every verse of the Bible or answer every difficult question that someone may ask.

That's OK! We do not all have the same starting point and therefore cannot always finish at the same place!

What is important is that we do make diligent effort to develop intimacy with God! We don't have to know everything instantly but the sooner we learn some basic truths, the more our intimate knowledge of God will grow!

You may develop your own list but I have found that the more I burn these four truths about God into my mind and heart, the more confidence I have that I getting closer to understand His mind, will and purpose!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2

FOUR THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN
SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GOD!

(Remember - intimate knowledge - not merely memorizing  repeating these four things like answers on a test but having them deeply engrained in our hearts!)

1. Know that GOD LOVES YOU!
Even as Christians, the acute awareness that God loves us seems to come and go. We can however read, study, meditate and memorize Scriptures which speak of His love for us and the great price Jesus paid to prove that love!

A deep sense of God's love for us will put a spring in our step and a joy in our hearts - no matter what is going on! But we must rekindle that awareness by renewing our minds daily to its reality!

TRUTH #1:
WHEN I TRULY AND DEEPLY KNOW THAT GOD LOVES ME, I CAN OVERCOME EVERY  NEGATIVE THOUGHT ABOUT MYSELF!

2. Know that GOD ALWAYS KNOWS BEST!
When I first walked with God, I highly questioned whether He always was doing what was best for me. I had my own ideas about that!

As I began to seek Him more deeply and walk through the experiences of life, I began to trust Him more. I still complain, like the children of Israel at the Red Sea, saying, "He brought me here to die!"

Each time I came through a trial I learned that He ALWAYS had, and has now, my best in mind!
No I do not always "feel" that He has my best in mind, but it has become so deeply engrained that I refuse to give up when I doubt. I KNOW He is working what's best for me even if I can't see how it can possibly be!

TRUTH #2:
WHEN I AM CONFUSED AND SEE NO ANSWER, I CAN TRUST THAT GOD WILL ALWAYS DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ME!

3. Know that GOD ALWAYS REWARDS THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM!
Becoming a strong, mature disciple of Christ is not as popular as it used to be. In America, we seem to worship fun, personal fulfillment and our own happiness above all!

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
2 Timothy 3:1-5

But it is important to know that there is no greater life than intimacy with God! We were created and designed to have intimacy with God and He is the only source of true, pure joy! David understood this joy when he wrote Psalm 16:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

I love getting a new car or cell phone but the joy never lasts! Nothing created can fill the "God-shaped-vacuum" that Blaise Pascal spoke of! Only intimacy with God can do that!

No sincere efforts to seek God will go unrewarded! Conversely, we cannot find the fullness of God if we do not diligently seek Him!

TRUTH #3:
WHEN I AM WEARY, AND SEEKING GOD SEEMS TO MAKE NO DIFFERENCE, I CAN KNOW BY FAITH THAT GOD WILL ALWAYS REWARD MY EFFORTS!

4. Know that GOD IS IN CONTROL!
I personally don't understand how I can be responsible my actions and the corresponding consequences in my life and God can be in control at the same time - but I absolutely believe it is true! We must do our part but ultimately God can make up the gap between our lack of perfection and His will in our lives.

This truth is often misunderstood to mean that everything that happens is designed and approved by God. God didn't create the world or intend the state of chaos the world is in today! He has handed a great deal of responsibility for the world over to man!

Yet in spite of that, we do not have to achieve absolute perfection for God to move in our lives!

Think of a child. We reward them according to their diligence in whatever stage of life they are in and according to their abilities. If we see our child did the best they could, we pat them on the back even if they have not been perfect! If our child is lazy or rebellious, we do not reward them - not because we do not love them but because we want them to be able to differentiate between good and evil and right and wrong!

In the same way, God will not simply take control of everything in our lives while we float around on beds of ease! But He will make up the gap when He sees diligent effort on our part.

He is also merciful with us! He is not looking over our shoulder waiting for the least lack of effort so He can squash us like an insect! I believe God knows we have days when our efforts are not up to par but covers them in His mercy!

13 As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
32 “ Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Luke 12:31-32

TRUTH #4:
I WILL DO MY PART BUT WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I DO NOT HAVE TO ACHIEVE ABSOLUTE PERFECTION OR DO EVERYTHING MYSELF FOR GOD TO MOVE ON MY BEHALF! 

GOD IS ULTIMATELY IN CONTROL - HE CAN AND WILL MAKE UP THE GAP WHEN I FALL SHORT!

You may not be able to become a theologian overnight but you can begin to implant these four pillars of truth into your heart.

You may not be able to answer every question but as these truths grow in your heart, they will encourage you to keep pressing through in trials and draw closer and deeper to intimacy with God!

To read other recent articles... CLICK HERE!




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