There are a lot of how-to books out there and cutesy devotionals for women. We are given drips of water to partake of, if that. We are a glutton in America, and yet starve for spiritual truth. Why?
Recently, I’ve spoken to a handful of Christian women, and we’ve covered topics of what it means to:
– count the cost of following Christ
– have the peace of God upon us
– be comforted by God
– be completely reliant upon Christ
– have Christ alone sustain us
The last two are really important.
I do not know about you, but I often fail at completely relying on the Lord. I SAY I want to rely completely upon Him. I SAY I want to grow closer to Him, and I truly do. But despite my best intentions and desires, I often do not throw myself at the feet of Christ.
Control is a major deception I fall into. I am tempted with control and desiring control more than trusting Christ in all circumstances. Christians, we have a problem.
You know the hardest way to know we do not have control in our life, but God does? Trials.
Trials will cut off the weak roots that we think we have in our castle made of sand. But friends, trials do not mean we will always remain in the same brokenness, the same negative mindset, and forever stuck in a place of no growth.
You see, I believe the reality is we need our roots cut off. Especially when our roots are within ourselves trying it hold it together. We cannot have an empty cup and also be the filler of our cup, too.
But the Lord… well, when we are truly anchored and rooted in Christ then we can have our roots cut off…and thrive because of the Lord!
The Need For Our Roots To Be Cut
We can have all of our support and all sense of our security ripped out from under us. We can be broken, for a while, in light of eternity. But God is faithful. Truly, the Lord is faithful. He promises not that trials will end, but He promises endurance, growth, and strength. (James 1:02-04, 12, 5:11 | Romans 5:03-05 | Hebrews 12:10-12 | 1 Peter 1:06, 3:17, 4:12, 5:10)
But if all we want to do is hang onto a burning rope made from our own hands, we will continue to burn and not ever be healed. Yet, we scoff at God and blame Him for not being sufficient. We dare to accuse Him for our self-afflicted wounds from our negative minds and souls.
Our methods do not work, yet, we want to believe our methods are better than God’s.
American Christians, as of right now, we truly have it easy for our persecution and even the trials we experience are blessings.
The trials can still be painful and difficult. Richard Wurmbrand, who not only experienced persecution from Nazism, but then experienced worse persecution from Communism because of his refusal to denounce Christ. Take a moment to view some of these quotes from a persecuted Christian, regarding suffering.
- “A faith that can be destroyed by suffering is not faith.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
- “I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold – and praying with fervor for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
- “A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
Obsession With Self
Some of you might say, “HOW DO YOU GET THAT? Don’t you know what I’m going through! Don’t you know everything I’ve tried? The Bible isn’t sufficient for daily life. God isn’t sufficient for me. I have to do everything on my own!”
Let it be known that Richard Wurmbrand was whipped constantly on his feet to the point he couldn’t walk. Richard is a perfect example of not having the negative mentality of “you don’t understand.” Yet, Christ sustained him. Christ did the impossible because it is only Jesus Who does the impossible. Christ gives us hope in the darkness. Christ alone helps us love our enemies. (Philippians 1:20, 1 Thessalonians 1:03, 1 Peter 3:15)
Friends, those of us in America, I doubt 99% of us have any idea of what Richard or other persecuted Christians have went through and are going through. It is not about being able to sustain ourselves. It is about the moment we finally let go of ourselves and turn to God, to Jesus Christ, Who sustains us!
We need new roots in Christ, not self.
Where is our love for Christ alone? Where is my love for Christ alone in my own circumstances?
“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communists’ ] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
God is not a genie. God is not a calculator. We cannot just press certain buttons and He robotically responds to us. See, THAT is the issue. It’s US, not Him.
When we list all of the things we’ve done, having a pity party, we are not focused on Jesus, we are focused on ourselves.
Tell me, how often throughout the day are you:
- meditating on a verse of scripture
- praying for your circumstances
- praying for the circumstances of others
- giving thanks to the Lord in all things
- reminding yourself of what God promises to do
- studying the Bible or able to study through the week
- communicating with godly brothers and sisters in Christ
- listening to godly sermons, podcasts, audiobooks
- reading godly material from the Church body
Now, compare that to how much do you:
- complain throughout the day
- go out of your way to love others when they are hard to love
- respond negatively when people are negative to you
- fill your mind with negativity and things not of God
- consume media that encourages negativity or sin
- spend time away from focusing on God
- think negatively about God, instead of delighting in His truth and promises
- think about yourself
Doing what is godly does not give us salvation, only Jesus Christ gives us salvation through faith and grace. Those who are saved will draw to their Lord. Those who have a relationship with Christ will turn to Christ. (See: Answering Critics on Godly Living & Straw Man Fallacy)
The problem is many of us say we are Christians in America, and we are not following Christ. We cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and not follow Him. It just does not work that way.
Do We Really Know Christ? How Can We Speak of Him, If We Do Not Know Him?
See the point is how can we claim to be a believer and have no idea of the God-Man we claim to follow?
We know a lot about ourselves. We could write more than a million books all about us, our complaints, our trials, our weaknesses, etc. But how much do we really know about God?
Why then do we find our lack of knowledge on God sufficient enough to trust when we struggle against Him? Why do we trust ourselves when we are mentally and spiritually weak, instead of trusting God and His truth?
How can we know what is of Christ and what isn’t, if we do not know His word? How can we know what to put our hope in? How can we feed and grow in His truth when we are constantly spiritually thirsty and hungry, but our hunger and thirst is not a priority.
We are slowly killing ourselves through starvation and dehydration. Friends, have no doubt this spiritual deficiency will attack you in your trials and weaknesses. An old tactic of the enemy and it’s something WE are guilty of.
We have opportunities available.
Prayer is always near. Giving thanks is always near. Our minds must be transformed and we must be a new creation to think differently than the way we used to before Jesus Christ. Through Christ all things are possible. We must become anchored and diligent in His truth. We must be sustained by the Rock.
What can we do as Christians?
- Bible Reading
- Frequent Prayer
- Giving Thanks
- Reworking our mind to think positively on what God IS doing, instead of what we think the Alpha and Omega should be doing.
- Being supported, kept accountable, being encouraged by the body of Christ
- Being taught by godly men.
- Ask questions and have edifying discussions with fellow believers.
- Better yet, do our own research on the questions we have, in addition to discussing with others and getting questions answered. We remember better this way when we are the ones studying.
(To learn more about how we can do these things, please check out the resources below.)
Two final quotes from Richard I want to end with.
“Even the best of Christians are troubled by the question, “Why does an almighty God send, or at least allow, suffering?” When you are nagged by thoughts like this, say to yourself, “I am still in elementary school. When I graduate from the university of Christian life, I will understand His ways better and doubts will cease.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
“I tremble because of the sufferings of those persecuted in different lands. I tremble thinking about the eternal destiny of their torturers. I tremble for Western Christians who don’t help their persecuted brethren. In the depth of my heart, I would like to keep the beauty of my own vineyard and not be involved in such a huge fight. I would like so much to be somewhere in quietness and rest. But it is not possible… The quietness and rest for which I long would be an escape from reality and dangerous for my soul… The West sleeps and must be awakened to see the plight of the captive nations.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
The Gospel Message: With the Good News means there’s bad news. We all are sinners and condemned. We all deserve the just punishment of God’s wrath. Christianity is unlike any other religion because we cannot earn our way into Heaven. God saw the weakness of man and his utter depravity. Yet, He showed us grace. Jesus, God, One Person of the Trinity, became God in the flesh, the God-Man. He was always perfect and sinless. And His humanity was perfected on the cross, living the full sinless life. He became our atonement sacrifice. Dying in our place, taking on the wrath of God upon Himself. He died on the cross, and He was resurrected because death could not hold Him. Jesus is the answer. We, as guilty sinners, need His blood to pay off our debt of sin. For all who put their faith in Him – meaning eyes are opened to the Gospel, we see ourselves as a sinner, we see the need for Christ, we desire our Savior, and we see the ugliness of our sin. Putting our faith in Jesus, we seek HIs forgiveness and repent from our sins, we turn away from our old way of life. We, through the work of the Holy Spirit, continue to become convicted of sin daily. Our eyes will never be the same again. We see things in a different light, and the truth of Christ affects how we live and serve Him. Christ tells us to count the cost. Salvation is a serious topic, it is not to be taken lightly. For a breakdown of this powerful message, understanding how Christ could be God and Man, why God required sacrifices, and more -please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
Scripture To Meditate On – (ESV) John 6:48, “I am the bread of life.”
Community Prayer –
Christian Topics/Series Covered
Personal Blog: Peeking Beneath
Second Blog: UnAshamed Christian Housewife
Godly Men & Women I Recommend: Link To List
Resources For False Teaching: Recommended Websites For False Teachers/Teaching
Video Playlist: Christian Questions, Topics, False Teachers, Insights
Video Playlist: New Christian Believer
Video Playlist: Understanding False Teachings
Video Playlist: Sermons To Grow From
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