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Christ’s Example – Trusting the Promises or God? #promisesofGod

Bible1In my last post I showed that Christ refused to be tempted to claim a promise.  This is the opposite of what many believers do today.  We’re trusting God to provide things we don’t even need just because we found a convenient Scripture to “stand on.”

Paul talked about this in his letter to Timothy.  Paul warned Timothy about people…

…who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:5b-6

I believe that there’s something inherently wrong with a message that continually focuses on my happiness, my comfort, and my pleasure.  It’s true that God loves us and wants the best for us.  I also believe that there is a scriptural prosperity that God wants for His people.

But I also believe that many have taken this too far.  As a result, God’s people are spending too much time, prayer, energy and “faith” running after the things of the world that they think will satisfy them.  At the same time, they ignore the work of the Kingdom of God.  As a result, they never lay hold of what will ultimately fulfill the desires of their souls.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.  For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Matthew 4:5-6

Again, the enemy tried to use a promise to tempt the Lord.  He wanted Jesus to prove that God was protecting Him, by throwing Himself off the roof of the temple.  Satan uses this same strategy on us as well.  Of course, the results are usually different when we’re involved.

How do you respond when you’re tempted to test God?  Do you trust Him or not?  There’s no need to put God to the test.  He’s already proven Himself in Christ.  We need to follow the example of Jesus, who once again did not take the bait that the devil put before Him.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:7

This usually turns out very differently when the devil runs this scenario before us.  We love to do foolish things, then “trust” God to get us out of the mess.  We spend our money on movie tickets, CD’s, video games, and new cars.  Then, when we can’t pay the bills, we “trust God” for the money.

How foolish!  Don’t you realize that the money you spent on your toys was the money God provided for your bills?  But we just sit back in bitterness and say, “I tested God and He failed me.”

As the people of God, we need to get our lifestyles back in line with the Word of God.

Questions: How do our faith and our actions work together?  How do they oppose each other sometimes?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Faith, Power of God

 

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Christianity: The Counter-Culture…or not?

DifferentIs the church called to run contrary to the world?  If so, then where are we missing it?  I want to take a few posts to deal with this issue.  I want us to think about our walk as Christians in America.

This topic actually isn’t that new.  James wrote about it long ago.

You 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.
James 4:4

Those are some strong words he uses.  He called them an adulterous people.  What does cheating on your spouse have to do with the spiritual condition of a generation?  The answer is found in the verse just preceding this one.  It explains his choice of words.

As he talked about asking for things in prayer, he wrote…

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

Here’s the problem that James is describing as adultery.  They asked God for things so that they could then spend those things on their pleasures.  It literally says that their motives in seeking God, was so that they could become consumers of pleasures.

That sounds a little too familiar.

“God, please help me to get a better job.”

Then, as our blessings increase, we get more things and push God further into the background.  After all, now that I have more stuff, I have less time for “church”.

Here’s the problem from God’s perspective.  It says in verse 4, above, that trying to make friends with the world is an act of hostility toward God.  To make a friend, you need to try to please them or be like them in some way.

Remember, we’re not talking about the people, but the world system.  You can make friends with people without buying into the system.

There’s a word we use for the world’s system of order.  It’s the word culture.  Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary defines culture as, the sum total of the attainments and activities of any…people, including their implements, handcrafts, agriculture, economics, music, arts, religious beliefs, tradition, language and story.

In other words, the American culture is our entire way of life.  It’s how we live and what we expect.  It’s what we strive for as well as what we accept as “normal”.

When I think about the mainstream of life in the United States, I get a picture of the system at work here.  Then, when I see the lifestyle we are called to as followers of Christ, I get a whole different picture.  There are some areas where the two cultures are drastically different.

How do we live in both worlds?  That’s what I want to talk about in the next few posts.  Hopefully you’ll join the conversation.

Question: Do you see areas where the church is too friendly with the world system?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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