Thursday, September 17, 2009

Responding

Eccl. 12:13The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

"God is most glorified in Us when we are most satisfied in Him." J.Piper

Phil. 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (The entire book of 1 John is good to read for this).

In response to yesterday's post and comment-thanks Kim- here is my response. I hope that there will be others, especially the ladies, who will chime in on this, as the girls generally have a different angle than the guys.

We can know that we are saved. Hatred of sin is a great place to start. Love of obedience is a good place to start as well. How do we know we have a relationship with our spouse or friend? How does a parent know that their kids love them? In the spousal relationship it would be mutual submission, self sacrifice and communication... In the parent child relationship it would be obedience, honor and willing submission... As a parent do you see you child increasing in the joy of serving the family by doing things w/o being told? In our spiritual relationship we should be ever increasing in our desire to communicate with The Father and to be in fellowship with His people.

Where are your affections? For sure we will love our kids and our spouse; but do we love them more than we love God? Could God allow their removal from our lives and we still say that God is good? If God took away everything from you today, could you say with Job, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him"? Are your affections not only for God but are they growing hotter? If our affections are lukewarm, like those of the Laodiceans, then we can be sure we are not saved.

I often have made this too hard. It is not about what we do. There is no works we can do that will prove we are children of God, but our lives should have evidence of the fruit of the Spirit. We are not going to be perfect while we are here in these tents, but our affections and obedience should be growing. We are either going up or down but we are never stopped.

The fact that you may be concerned about your own salvation is good. If someone is not concerned about their salvation and they are not living in obedience to the Word; this should raise a red flag.

God knows we have weak faith, He knows we are but dust, but He has also prepared work for His children to do from before the foundation of the world, and we need to walk in them, Eph. 2:10.

So for my friend Kim, I would say to pray that God would place His desires over the top of your own desires, that He would increase your faith-help your unbelief- that He would grow your affections for everything that is connected to Him.

The Christian life is hard and living on unseen things is very hard, but God is the One who works in us to delight ourselves in Him and then He in turn gives us the desires of our heart.

None of the change that He has made in my life has been from me. All of the change has been Him changing my affections, growing my love for others, giving me more of a heart for the lost, and giving me a desire to be in The Word and to be praying. I don't know that we can get any of those things w/o being in the valleys. While it is encouraging to see our spiritual growth-to see where we were and where God has taken us- in this case the best view of growth seems to be from the valley floor, rather than the mountain tops. Our growth from year to year is more easily measured by how low we are willing to go with God and still be delighted in Him. If the trials you are facing today are much more difficult than they were last year and you are more delighted today in God than you were lat year, then I think it is safe to say that God is working and you are a Christian. If your delight in God is based on how much He is physically blessing you right now, you may have room for concern.

I am sorry for what seems to me as a really jumbled up answer. I feel very inadequate to respond to questions like this, especially electronically. Will some others please chime in.

Kim- I will pray for you and your daughter. God is so good, we must trust Him with all that we are and let Him work. Thanks for your openness.

3 comments:

Ryan Hall said...

Hello, Chuck.

Your points about hating sin and loving obedience are solid. Because if your life is full of sin and wickedness, and you really don't have a problem with that then your not saved.

We should examine our hearts in light of Scripture and confess and repent of our sins daily. We must make war with our sin because sin never sleeps. It is active in us and we must strive on the narrow gate seeking Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

The only way I know a Christian can love the LORD with all their heart, soul, mind and strength is by praying to our Father and reading and studying His Word. God will do BIG things in our hearts when we do these two things, and we will see our love for Him grow and our obedience to His law grow while at the same time our sin is going in the other direction and getting less and less. This is a good thing for the Christian, because this is how God our Father will grow us....through prayer, Bible study and meditation.

Because there is nothing I can say or do that will confirm my salvation, and that is because you don't know my heart. Anyone can play the game of Christian and look good to the rest of mankind. But God sees what man cannot see. That is why I am trying so hard to focus on my own relationship with the LORD....as I minister unto Him, He will set me on fire for HIM.

I can get so caught up in how people act or live and say they are not saved. I tell myself daily that I am not the standard....God is and when I examine my heart in light of His holiness I am undone. That keeps me from being critical and judgmental with those around me. If I know I fall short of His holiness then I can't examine others actions in light of my standard. We each have been given a measure of faith from our Father in heaven. Not two are the same....we just need to be faithful to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and trust Him in everything and be satisfied in Him more then anything.

Focus on the gospel of Christ and how that plays out in your own heart! When we focus on others it means that we are more satisfied in what others are doing or not doing then in what God has done and did for sinners like you and me.

~Kim (and family) said...

"If the trials you are facing today are much more difficult than they were last year and you are more delighted today in God than you were last year, then I think it is safe to say that God is working and you are a Christian." ~Wow, how true that has been for me...

Thank you so much, Chuck, for taking the time to write this post. I guess when I look at my life in the present, it gets very discouraging as to my battle with sin. But when I look at it as to who I was last year, or the year before, or the year before that...I can see the hand of God in my life and my love for Him growing. I think it was Charles Spurgeon who said the holier a man becomes the more unholiness he sees inside of himself. How true is that!

I tend to be convicted of my sin, feel guilt, and then stay in that guilt....even using it as a way to feel better...thinking that if I feel guilty enough that will pay for my sin. That is a form of self righteousness...thinking Jesus' work on the cross was not enough. So I battle that, and for every one glance at my sin, I need to take 10 glances at the cross of Christ.

Something very encouraging happened the other night. My daughter came up to me and asked me to pray for her in regards to her private worship with the Lord. And she asked me to pray that she have more joy in Him. I need to keep reminding myself that it is WAR we are in for the hearts of our kids. I often feel that the world is on one end pulling her away from me and I am on the other end so weak pulling on the other, exhausted. That is where I trust in the sovereign hand of God knowing that if she is His chosen child, He will never allow her out of His grip. And that He will do His work on her heart, despite her sinful, struggling mother.

Chuck Weinberg said...

In our weakness He is strong. Keep loving your kids and praying for them. Keep living a life devoted to Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.

It is fun to watch God change our desires over the years. Often our early desires are for success or financial freedom but then when He gets a hold of our hearts He changes those priorities all around; which is awesome.

He is the One doing the work, we just need to be faithful to tell others of the work He is doing, which then reminds us that He is working and He gets the glory, since we can't do any of the work anyway.