Have you been to the cross lately?
At times the problems we face get so big that they seem to tower over us like an aggressive giant. In the midst of trouble, fears stirred, understanding becomes darkened, and joy evaporates. Yet, rather than look to God for solutions, one leans on his or her own understanding; and as a dark shadow looms over us–we either run away or cower and fold.
In fact, if we learned to face problems like young David confronted the giant Goliath, no one would become paralyzed by fear, and cower just as the Israelite soldiers did before Goliath and the Philistine army.
On the whole, it was David’s faith and trust in an all-powerful God that allowed him to view his opponent in a different light. Therefore, instead of seeing a giant, David saw an uncircumcised Philistine, whom he defeated.
In Psalm 121 David writes the following:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore
The closest anyone can get to God is to have Him live within your heart. When I was a child we used to sing: “Don’t try to tell me God is dead, He woke me up this morning. Don’t try tell me He is not alive, He lives within my heart.” But before He can take up residence in yours or my heart, we must be born again. When an individual is born again, he becomes united with Christ and one with Him. The Holy Scripture says: “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Therefore, if we are one with Christ, we are close to Him. He has even promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you. So, this notion that He is far off is a trick the enemy use to convince us into believing that we have to do more to get closer to Him. Christian author, Gregory Dickow, calls this the ‘Illusion of Separation.’
Consequently, there is no separation between you and God. Jesus fill the gap created from the downfall of Adam and Eve. Therefore, if you bought the lie that God is far off, and you have to do more to get closer to Him, you are actually saying you can earn God’s favor. And when you think you can earn God’s favor–you try too hard. Then, when that doesn’t work–you get discouraged until you either give up or assume your relationship with God is distant. This mindset ultimately affects your peace, your joy, and your confidence in prayer.
Brothers and sisters, your closeness to God is not earned, it’s a gift–made possible through the blood of Jesus. So, if we recognize that God lives within us, it will change how we look at ourselves and ultimately change how we live.
No one will acknowledge it, but we (Christians) question God more often than we will admit. Unlike non-Christians, some of whom question God existence, and especially after a natural disaster, such as hurricane Sandy or a tragedy like the Sandy Hook school shooting; we question God if we think He did not answer our prayers soon enough. But God doesn’t work in our time. The Bible says God makes all things beautiful in His time Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Consequently, when you pray, you must believe. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Yet, lack of faith seems the dominant reason why we think God hasn’t answered our prayers. Often time the break through that we desire is within our grasp, but we need faith to claim it.
The woman with the issue of blood had a mountain size problem, but she also had extraordinary faith, which she exercise to achieve her desired outcome. She was one hundred percent sure if she touched the elm of Jesus’ garment, she would be made whole.
Another person who exercised extraordinary faith was the Centurion. One of his best servants was dying, so he requested Jesus to come and heal the servant. “And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed” (Mark 7:6-7). Jesus later commented, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
Throughout His ministry, Jesus emphasized faith. In fact–in one of His discourses with His disciples, He said, “Therefore I say unto you, Whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
Theologians have debated the question of whether one can accomplish salvation by faith, or by works of the Law, since the first century. Today, the debate continues, and just like the old days, opinions may differ from one denomination to another.
Personally, I err on the side of the apostle, Paul, who writes the following:
No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law only shows us how sinful we are” (Romans 3:20). “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that, not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
All who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God because ‘the righteous will live by faith’ (Galatians 3:10-11).
Whosoever shall keep the law, and yet stumble in one point, is guilty of all. For he that said Do not commit adultery also said Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law (James 2:10-11).
But, despite Paul’s convincing arguments, and his experience as an expert of the law, many Christians still believe we are justified by works of the Law. Even though, some of those same Christians conveniently pick and chooses which Law they should obey. How, then, can anyone who picks and chooses which law to obey, say he or she is justified by works of the Law. If Jesus were here in the flesh, He would call you out as He did the Pharisees.
“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees? For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the most important things. (Luke 11:42).
As i have shown, the laws are mostly rigid. They leave no room for error. If you broke one, you broke all. Therefore, no one can keep them. But God, who knows all things sent His Son to die and free us from the curse of the law.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).