Which one will it be?
The New Testament notices things that do not seem worthy of notice by our standards. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .”
The preaching of today tends to point out a person’s strength of will or the beauty of his character— things that are easily noticed.
The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him— something very different.
At the foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is the genuine loveliness of those who are commonplace.
I am truly blessed in my poverty. If I have no strength of will and a nature without worth or excellence, then Jesus says to me, “Blessed are you, because it is through your poverty that you can enter My kingdom.”
I cannot enter His kingdom by virtue of my goodness— I can only enter it as an absolute pauper.
The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality.
Conscious influence is prideful and unchristian. If I wonder if I am being of any use to God, I instantly lose the beauty and the freshness of the touch of the Lord.
“He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” ( John 7:38 ). And if I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord.
Who are the people who have influenced us most?
Certainly not the ones who thought they did, but those who did not have even the slightest idea that they were influencing us.
In the Christian life, godly influence is never conscious of itself. If we are conscious of our influence, it ceases to have the genuine loveliness which is characteristic of the touch of Jesus.
We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.
It would seem God’s value system is just the opposite from the worlds, as illustrated in the following verses, taken from Yeshua’s Sermon on the Mount; and also in many other places we can find throughout the Bible.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
We can learn from these examples of Jesus that certainly God’s value system is much different from ours; in that the things we consider of little importance and consequence, God puts a lot of stock in.
I think all of this comes into better focus as we understand that the first symptom of this thing called “SIN“ which leads to separation from God is personal pride; and this is made evident by the first being who sinned against God.
The fall of Lucifer
12 “ How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:
‘ I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Our relationship with God starts with this phrase:
Not my will, but Thine be done!
Notice the difference between Satan’s “I will’s“ and the Lord’s own attitude in the garden of Gethsemane.
- Satan’s attitude was totally self-centered, prideful, and arrogant.
- The Lord’s attitude, even though He was facing a cruel death on the cross, was that of complete meekness and submission unto God.
- Three times Jesus prayed to His Father, saying, “NOT as I will, but as You will.”
It is equally important to notice what the Lord taught us about OUR attitude toward God’s sovereignty, when it comes to our understanding that in ALL matters concerning us, that He knows what’s best for us; and it is for us to trust Him, and to follow His instructions, and to follow the lead of Jesus, as we read in the Bible.
It is necessary that we learn that God is not a man that He should lie to us, He would never do that; and if we are to be pleasing to God, it is all important that we come to the place in our lives where we learn to trust Him with ALL our heart, and are not leaning on our own understanding.
This is where our relation with God begins, as was emphasized in the life of Jesus:
- In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us to tell our Father in heaven, “THY will be done.”
- If we pray with any other motive, other than absolute trust and faith in God, then we are falling into the same trap as Satan did, which is to make ourselves all important and self-centered, which means we are becoming puffed up with pride!
In life every day we are faced with decisions, and in each of these decisions there is a choice for us to make; do we react as Jesus would have us to react, in obedience to God, as we can learn from His example and from His instructions, as they are given to us in the Bible; or do we react in our old carnal nature, and follow and do as we always have, in doing what seems right in our eyes, with our understanding; which is most often motivated by totally self-serving and selfish reasons.
So the question is in each one of these TESTS, for that is exactly what they are, and as a covenant child of God we need to understand that God is watching us; and He is training us through all of life’s trials and tribulations that we are experiencing in the earth… and we can learn this lesson from what happened to Job.
Mind you however, that God is never the one who tempts us, or who causes bad things to happen in our life… and again we can learn this lesson as well, from the life of Job.
James explains it this way:
Submit Yourselves to God
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a]
6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[b]
It is how we face life’s problems, and the decisions we make while feeling the heat of the fire; these are the things that determine our spiritual growth and our maturity!
The road to salvation starts with REPENTANCE (which literally means to change the way we think); in other words it means that we no longer are following after the world’s way of doing things; and nor are we any longer submitting to those old habits of our flesh; but that we now, of our own free will and choosing, are allowing the Holy Spirit to direct and lead us through every situation that we face in life; and we do this day by day, step by step, 24/7… and when we mess up and blow it (as we will many times), then we repent, we learn from our mistake, and get right back into the race!
But if we insist upon doing things as we always have done them past, and are refusing to submit to the counsel of God, as found in His Operations Manual (the Holy Bible), then we can expect to be facing a repeat of the same frustrations and trials in the future, because God will not graduate us to the next level until we learn obedience and we are doing as we are instructed where we are today! Selah