Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Measuring Rod For The Quality Of Relationship With Jesus

We throw around a lot of words in the Church, things that everyone takes for granted. In fact words make up most of what the Church does these days, yet the Scriptures tell us that we should keep our words to a minimum and allow our actions to speak for us. Too often our actions cancel out our words. We say a lot about faith, how much we love Jesus, how we desire to walk in his foot steps, but we allow our emotions, not faith, to control our actions. We say we have faith but then fall to pieces in the face of adversity.

The number one thing we lack with Jesus is trust. This must mean that our love is not sincere because trust is developed in love. Sure, we can sing beautiful worship songs and sincerely give our lives to him in the emotion of it all, but what are we like on the battlefield? What are we like when all eyes are on us in the moment of crisis? Do we do what is demonstrated to us time and again in the Scriptures? Do we call out to Jesus and trust for his intervention?

Even in the tiniest passages of Scripture we see how Yahweh rewards those who trust him. In 1 Chronicles 5  we are being told of Gad's actions to expand their territory. This one simple statement is found:

And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him. (1 Chronicles 5:20)

So often we just read about the small victory, skipping over the "for" or "because" parts. Did they have victory because they were bigger, smarter, better, equipped, more talented? No. They had victory over their enemy because in the battle they cried out to Yahweh, they trusted his promise. It even says specifically here that Yahweh answered their prayer because they put their trust in him.

Notice as well here that the trust was not expressed in some worship service or even in their prayer closet. They demonstrated their trust on the battlefield, where it really mattered for them and their testimony, where Yahweh received the glory. They did not call out for others to join them. They did not retreat and wait for a better time. They reached out to Yahweh in the midst of the battle, put their trust in him to overcome the enemy, and kept fighting. Too often we treat prayer as a last resort, after we have tried everything else and nothing worked. On the battlefield you don't always get second chances so make your first option your best choice.

Without trust we have no real relationship with Jesus. We can't write on our blogs one day how much we love him and trust him and the next how panicked we are over a situation. That is failing on the battlefield. That is showing that we do not yet understand what faith and love mean. That is showing that we don't really believe the promises of Jesus. We are double-minded so that even when we do cry out we don't trust enough to believe. James told us that if we are like that we should not expect to receive anything. Remember, Yahweh responds to our trust and trust is developed in relationship. No trust is a good indication there is a problem with the relationship.

If every Christian was willing to demonstrate on the battlefield what they proclaim in worship, our world and the Church would look much different than it does today. We can't do much about anyone else, but you and I can be resolved today, while on the battlefield, to cry out to Jesus and trust him for the victory over every situation. May he receive all the glory as we live a testimony of trust, so that the whole world will see Jesus in us.

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