Monday, March 26, 2007

Learning to Trust God



by Larry Rouse
www.cvillechurch.com

What is the purpose of the body of Christ, the church of our Lord? Are we building in a wise way or are we pursuing things that are not in the Lord’s will? It is important to know the foundation that God gave His people so that we can be sure to build upon it. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:10-11).

We must build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. In the work of conversion and in the work of helping a Christian to grow, we must help others to build a personal faith in the Lord. To truly bring one to “see the unseen” and then to “know the Lord” is not an easy process. When you see the reality of the spiritual realm, then you will make decisions that will be very much “out of step” with this world. When Moses rejected the riches and esteem that was offered to him as a prince of Egypt so that he could “suffer affliction with the people of God,” he did this because he could “see Him who is invisible” (Heb 11:24-27). Are we helping people to “see the unseen” or are we making people comfortable in their worldliness?

My Personal Struggle to Find a Biblical Faith

How did you come to trust in the Lord? I can remember many years ago, when I was in High School, an occasion in my life where I saw the emptiness of the path I was following and desired to find something more. On a clear, cold night I went outside and looked up at the stars and prayed a simple prayer for God to let me find Him. It was a humble prayer for light and truth that I followed up with my first attempt to read the Bible for myself.

As I started reading the scriptures there were so many things that I did not understand but there were some things that stood out distinctively to me. As I read the book of Romans I came to see the power and optimism of a genuine faith in Christ. When I read the words of Paul concerning his life and sufferings as viewed by the heart of faith, I was amazed! “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18). Later, in the same chapter, Paul expresses the confidence that faith brings in our outlook on our day-to-day events. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). After reading that chapter I sincerely wanted to have that kind of faith in my life!

I came to find out that the process of building such a faith takes time! In the year that followed I began to seek the Lord in the best way that I knew (Jn 7:17). So many steps that I took were imperfect, but I constantly sought to do what I believed the Lord had spoken in His word. As I went through this seeking process I tried to surround myself with people who also placed a high value on walking by faith. I found that both in the denominational world and in the local churches that I would later attend, that I was “out of step” with others that seemed to have another reason for attending the assemblies of the local church.

The stand that I take today is one of faith. When I left the human movements that dominate the religious world, I simply wanted to follow the Lord apart from the rule and the traditions of men. Paul left Judaism with this simple goal in his heart: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him” (Phil 3:7-9). When I was baptized into Christ, I did so with “faith in the working of God” (Col 2:11-13). As I came to face the unpredictable difficulties of life, I came to know that I serve a God that will never forsake me and thus learned to live without fear (Heb 13:5-6). Over time I have found a faith that allowed me to view my life in light of the promises of God (Rom 8:18, 28)!

Have We Drifted?

Does the local church that we attend make the building of faith a priority? Are our homes a place where a daily trust in God is a priority? The reason why I ask these questions is that I fear some Christians and some churches have drifted from this great foundation. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:12-13).

Some Personal Questions

1. Do I have a daily confidence in the promises of God and of His care, or do I worry and have the scornful attitude of the world?

2. In times of uncertainty and hurt do I read the promises of God and pour my heart out to Him in prayer, or do I complain and seek out worldly companions to take my burdens? (Mt 11:28-29).

3. When I attend the assemblies, am I able to place myself before God and personally find application to my life from His word regardless of how interesting the speaker is or how friendly others are?

4. Do I often think about the Lord, His present approval, His future return so that in everything I do I see Him as my constant companion (Col 3:17, 22-23)?

Do Not Accept Substitutes

Please do not let the approval and the praise of men be the “joy” you find among Christians (Gal 1:10, 2 Cor 10:12, 17). Some become “issue-oriented” out of a sense of party loyalty or out of a desire to display their personal knowledge and thinking skills. There is a big difference between building up another’s faith in the Lord and in preaching one’s personal glory (2 Cor 4:1-2).

What will the Lord find when He returns? It is my prayer that He will find in each of us a genuine, pure faith that has been tested by fire! Does this describe you and me? “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).
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