Believe in God, Daily Trust in Him

Ever wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep? Or, maybe it’s late and night and troublesome thoughts make it hard for you do dose off? That happens to me, and it happened the other night.

Something was disturbing about a dream, and I woke up. My pulse was throbbing, and I knew I would be awake for a while. Pondering that dream quickly lead me to fearful thinking.

So I sought the Lord, and He brought a small section of Scripture verse to my memory:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31, NASB)

And I thought, everything about us is important to God, so much so that the hairs of our heads are numbered. That’s detail.  God even takes note when a sparrow dies. And we are much more valuable to Him than sparrows.

My next thought was that many things happen in our lives. At times I am convinced that God has a program of events for us to live through, a trouble here, something to worry about there (along with plenty of good times thrown in). But challenges for us to overcome in faith. But the key is this: God is in control.  He’s not asleep at the switch. He knows what is going on. And if He allows trouble to come, it comes only because He allows it and it is for our own good.

Whether or not trouble and events are programmed for us, scheduled to come to our attention day after day–I can’t say for sure. But I know one thing we can control: our attitude and reaction to these circumstances and thoughts.

We need to practice trusting Him in the midst of anything we experience. There may be discomfort and some suffering at times, But nothing can harm us ultimately. Our blessed future with Jesus is guaranteed. As long as we believe in Him, He has saved us, is saving us right now, and will save us in the future. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6, NASB).

We can choose to trust God. In this, our willpower, our personal freedom of choice is vital. When fears attack us, we can say “NO!” to them and reaffirm to ourselves that God is indeed there and on our side and in control. We can choose faith and believe that.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, NASB.)

So I’m committed to fight fear, stand up to it, and choose to trust God and His Word whenever the need arises.

 

Life on a Higher Plane

Courtesy Chun-Sao-Lin aka Taiwan-Mountain @Flickr

Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapter 6, said, among other things, these words…

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (verse 6)

And also…

“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (verses 17-18)

Don’t seek to impress others
You see, our attitude is to be heavenward primarily. God first. Constantly. We live by Him and for Him in His presence. Seeking to impress other people, even your pastor, is not a good idea. Seeking to impress God is. It is His opinion that counts. Always.

A life that continually relates to God
This life I am seeking to describe is a life of faith that says, God is watching me, He is interested in me and what I am doing. Because what I am doing counts. It is a life of faith that says, Every good thing I have and experience and even do can be traced back to God as the source of all good. It is a life of faith that refuses to worry and determines to trust Him in the small events of the day as well as the larger concerns.

Everything contributes
I have thought about this in this way: Everything we do, think or say contributes in one way or another, either to God’s kingdom or to the God’s enemy’s cause. There is no neutrality. We are part of the plan. We contribute, even though ultimately God is the one source of all good.

We’re God’s ambassadors
So life on a higher plane means I see myself as an ambassador for God (2 Corinthians 5:20), and act accordingly:

Both to people who do not yet believe, and when I speak to them my words should be “seasoned with grace” (Colossians 4:6).

And to fellow believers–because every joint in the Body of Christ supplies God’s grace in mutual ministry (Ephesians 4:16)

Again, we are to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2). God-consciousness. Heavenly thinking.

The Key
The key, then, is in our thought-life, in what the psychologists call self-talk. Or, even better prayer.  “As a man thinks in his heart so is he,” is a biblical principle (Proverbs 23:7A). That’s the basis of the only psychological therapy I whole-heartedly endorse: cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. What we think about is central to victorious Christian living.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

It’s about sharing
Life on a higher plane is sharing of our life, daily, moment by moment with God, praying without ceasing, and in fact a life that daily enters the holy of holies (Hebrews 4:16; 6:19).

God’s Part and Our Part

Courtesy ElvertBarnes @flickr

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is at work in you” (Philippians 2:12).

We have things to do.
Clearly, there are things for us to do. Our efforts are included in God’s plan. However, we are not to place our faith in these things.

Have faith in God (Hebrews 11:6)
We must not depend on (1) our efforts; or (2) the way things look to us; or (3) especially whether we feel like good Christians or not. Have faith in God.

Jesus is all we need.
Salvation is from God, through God and by God—always, whether we are talking conversion, when we come to believe in Jesus Christ, becoming fully sanctified, or eventually glorified. God is our source. Christ is our life (1 John 2:25). He is our reconciliation to God, the basis of our forgiveness. Christ is our righteousness, our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30) and our glorification (Colossians 1:27). We have all this because we are in Him and He is in us, in every believer.

When Saul persecuted Christians he was persecuting Jesus Christ.
When Saul was on the Damascus road and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him, briefly blinding him, Jesus said to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 8:4) But wait. Who was Saul persecuting? He was persecuting the church, believers, people like you and me. Yet Jesus plainly declared to Saul that he was persecuting Him, Jesus. That’s how thoroughly we are one with Jesus Christ Himself! Hit a believer, and you hit Jesus!

A gift we can walk
Salvation is a gift, the gift of Jesus Christ. He became ours and we became His, eternally. But we can grow into our experience of all that involves. Think about this: What if I could give you the gift of great artistic talent, but you never had the faith to act on it? Would it really be yours? Sanctification is making the character of Jesus Christ, Who’s within us, our own character in our experience here and now (Galatians 4:19A). It’s becoming Godlike: “You are therefore to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

What then can we do?
When we believe in Jesus Christ we become sons of God, really and actually sons of God. An awesome thought. And that means we have virtually unlimited potential. So what can we do?

(1) Be obedient to what God leads you to do.

(2) Walk  with God by faith, that is practice the presence of the Lord just like Brother Lawrence advocated so many years ago (Micah 6:8; Hebrews 12:1-2). That means sharing your daily life with Him, praying to Him, fellowshipping with Him.

(3) Find fellow Christians with whom you can share what God is doing in your life (John 21:15-17; Hebrews 10:24-25).

(4) And by all means have faith, trust God to help you grow. We all have our roles within God’s grand plan, but it is always God Who causes the growth, always. (2 Cor. 5:7).

Our only basis for success
“Success” means pleasing Him, and that comes in one way: relying on Him with a faith that results in obedience.