We recently celebrated a day of giving thanks to our Lord. So, on Facebook, I posted several Psalms to honor the Day. In digging for appropriate Psalms, I ran across one I had forgotten. This morning, let me share it with you:
Your God has decided you will be strong in His service with an impenetrable hardness to temptation; O God, display Your might and strengthen what You have done for us! (Psalm 68:28)
Now, read it again. Did you notice that it says that our “God,” (His name is Yahweh), decided a long time ago, that as you serve Him, you would be “strong . . . with an impenetrable hardness to temptation.” I like that! It doesn’t say that we “might” be strong, or that we “could” be strong, or “hope” we will be strong. No, it says that we “will” be strong! Strong? How? Strong “with an impenetrable hardness to temptation! Cool!
If you turn a little in Psalms, you see this again:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14)
The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him (Psalm 28:7)
Oh yeah! I can win with that in my life! If something is impenetrable, it “cannot be penetrated, pierced, entered.” It will be “inaccessible to foreign ideas or influences“!
Now, that is interesting. This is what followers of Jesus should expect. However, far too many believers are weak; too easily moved off of their faith. For instance, you are praying for a healing of some type. It could be a physical healing or an emotional healing. It doesn’t matter. But then all of the physical evidence might say otherwise. Maybe you are praying for financial help. But you keep looking at the balance in your account. You are looking at all of the “evidence” and you begin to doubt that the Lord will help you.
But that is not what the Psalmist was saying. Scriptures describe another attitude we should have:
Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see (Hebrews 1:1)
The Amplified Version renders that as:
Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]
Ooh, is that the way we are to act? Or, is it too much for us to expect? Interestingly, Carl Sagan, the late and noted atheist, once said, “Faith is believing in something in the absence of evidence.” Hmm. The absence of evidence? That is certainly what we just read.
Tell me, are you satisfied being just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, common Christian? In the church I a member of, we have been reading Watchman Nee’s book, “The Normal Christian Life.” I should point out that Nee’s view of a “normal,” or “ordinary” Christian is vastly different from what many Christians consider to be “normal” or “ordinary” or, that they are experiencing!
Does that describe you? If you are a believer, saved, filled with the Holy Spirit but remain ordinary, with no outstanding abilities or qualities, you are missing something. How is your prayer life? Is it just mediocre? Are you dealing with the same sin over and over and over? Are you constantly wondering if you are “saved“? Do you feel that your faith is “mediocre”?
Hmm. ‘Mediocre.’ That is a word we throw around a lot, but most of us have no idea what it means. Mediocre means “halfway up between the valley and the peak.” It doesn’t mean half-way between earth and Heaven, it means halfway between where you used to be and where you should be.
Sadly, that is where the average Christian lives their life. They are not even close to what Nee defines as normal. No, they are halfway between where they were before they aligned themselves with Jesus and where they should be. Somehow they became stuck part way up the peak. Yes, they can turn back and see the dark valley they came from. It is indeed far below. They have made some progress but stopped somewhere along the way.
Do you truly believe this is the best our Lord offers to us? This mediocre, undistinguished, half-way-up-the-peak life? is this really the best that the Lord offers? Personally, I don’t think so. Hey, I am curious. When you heard that call to “take up the cross and follow,” did you begin to bargain with the Lord?
“Lord, is that really what you meant? That I was supposed to die to all of my desires in order to follow you? Is that what it will cost?”
“What is it going cost me to follow you? My time? I don’t have a lot of time. I am awfully busy. My job; my kids; my spouse. I just don’t have much time.”
“Will it cost me money? Do you really expect that of me? Hey, I have a family to take care of!”
“What about all of my relationships? Will I have to sacrifice some of my friends? I don’t want to give them up.”
Have you ever seen someone looking in the face of Jesus Christ and say “Master, I’d like to follow you all the way but frankly, it costs too much.” Hey, don’t laugh at me, I have met some who were like that. And they proved to be poor, mediocre wretches! I am sorry to be so blunt (or rude) but you need to hear this. No true Christian, or what our Lord is looking for, Disciples, can live their life – their Christian life – at their own convenience! No spiritual growth in a Disciple’s life will ever be made at your convenience! The cross has never, never been convenient!
No, personally, I have found my faith to be a fight; a battle; a labor, a struggle. Yes, I have found joy, even tears of joy. but I have never found it to be convenient or fun! My friend, if that is what you are looking for, then in God’s name, just be bold enough and courageous enough and honest enough to admit it! Leave the church and quit hanging around! If you are looking for convenience and fun, then by golly, hang with the world! They will give you fun. Loads of fun! But if you want to serve Jesus, don’t come looking for fun! The Bible tells us that is was “for the joy that was set before Him,” that Jesus endured the cross! Not fun!
Give yourself to God. Turn yourself over to Him and say, “Father, I’m sick of being a common Christian. I’m sick of this mediocrity. I’m sick of being half-way up to where I want to be. I’m sick of seeing other happy Christians and I’m not.Father, I’m fed up with the whole thing and I want to go on, I want to know you.”
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.