Thursday, June 15, 2017

UnbeliefA man on a tight rope asked his crowd, “Do you think I can walk to the other side?”  They yelled, “Yes.”  He did so effortlessly.  He asked, “Do you think I can walk to the other side with a person on my shoulders?”  They excitedly responded, “Yes.”  Then he asked, “Who will ride on my shoulders?”  No one responded.  Talk is cheap!

Are we like the Jews in Micah’s day?

All of you claim to depend on the LORD.  ‘No harm can come to us,’ you say, ‘for the LORD is here among us.’”  (Micah 3:11).

Solomon admonished, “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself(Proverbs 3:4).

When armies threatened Israel, they looked to see how many shields, spears, arrows, and sword they had.  If it was not sufficient, they called upon the Lord.  When armies marched against them, they looked at how high and thick their walls were.  If the foe was larger than their walls, they called upon the Lord.  They put their trust in their sacrifices rather than the One they were offered to.  Their faith was built upon the existence of Jerusalem and the Temple, rather than trust in the One who provided them.

When we come to the New Testament, the story doesn’t change.  Remember what the apostles did when Jesus was asleep in the boat (Mark 4:37-39)?  Do you remember his response?  “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in me?” (Mark 4:40).  Peter projected himself as a granite defense of Jesus, but he had already turned to sand before the rooster finished its morning wake up call.  Before we swell up with pride, we need to take an inside peek!

How many folks assume they are going to heaven because of “I”?

  •  I have been baptized by immersion.
  • I am a charter member of the church.
  • I am a good person.
  • I pay my taxes.
  • I tithe.
  • I am a good neighbor.
  • I am a good parent.
  • I am a good son/daughter.
  • I’m an honest and trustworthy employee.
  • I am a good employer.
  • I say my prayers.
  • I read my Bible.
  • I go to church.
  • I don’t lie.
  • I don’t steal.
  • I don’t commit adultery.
  • I don’t curse or use profanity.
  • I don’t gamble.
  • I don’t drink.
  • I don’t smoke.
  • I don’t chew tobacco.
  • I don’t gossip.
  • I am truthful.
  • I am compassionate.
  • I am benevolent.
  • I am a Christian and a . . .
  • I am an elder in the church.
  • I am a deacon in the church.
  • I am a Sunday School teacher in the church.
  • I am a faithful member.
  • I am a preacher!
  • I AM doing the right things and I do NOT do the wrong things!

Sometimes we are so focused on “I” that we never notice a huge hole in our faith!  Then, deep in the depths of our soul, a question is waiting to be asked.  It nags.  It is a void that an “I” cannot fill.  Our refusal to hear it brings dissatisfaction.  Deafness is not comforting.  Ignoring it does not bring peace nor happiness.  It begs to be heard, but we don’t give it a hearing.  “I” tries to cover it up.  “I” wants to ignore it.  “I” substitutes something, anything to make it disappear.  It doesn’t.  The more effort put into erasing it only strengthen its existence.   We think just one more “I” will silence it.  For some, it does.  For those who submit to, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), the answer reveals itself!  “I” leaves God out of the equation.  Without God, there is no satisfying answer.  Only more questions.  More doubt.  More frustration.  A black hole inside that eats away at our existence.  It is a failure which multiplies fear that feeds on doubt!

It is only when my “I” understands that my “I” will fail me at the judgment, that “I” see my need for God’s wisdom!  “I” announces that my trust is in “me.”  What I do and did; not what Jesus did for me.  Oh, the words about Jesus being my Savior rolls easily from my tongue, but they are words for others to hear, not truths that I have digested.  My faith or trust has not been in Jesus to save, but my ability to save myself!!

The foolish will remind Jesus about what they have done.  The wise will know that their salvation rest upon what he did for us.  The foolish trust in their “I;” the wise trust in Jesus.  There is a difference between my “I” and his faith!  “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24).