The root cause of all our spiritual problems lies in our not knowing God as our Almighty Loving Father.
One truth that has revolutionized my Christian life is the glorious revelation that Jesus gave us that the Father loves Jesus’ disciples just as He loved Jesus. Jesus prayed to the Father, for His disciples, saying, ".....that the world may know that Thou didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me."(John.17:23). The world around us must know this truth. But it has to grip our hearts first, before the world can realise it.
This promise is not for everyone, but for those who have become disciples of Jesus – that is, for those who love Jesus (1) more than everyone on earth, (2) more than their own life and (3) more than their possessions (These were the three conditions of discipleship that Jesus mentioned in Luke 14:26,27,33). This promise is for those who have fulfilled these three conditions.
We may believe theoretically in a loving Father in heaven. But if we are worried and anxious and full of insecurity and fear, that would prove either that we are not Jesus’ disciples, or that we don't believe deep down in our hearts that our Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus! Humanly speaking, it would be impossible to believe that God loves us like this. But Jesus Himself plainly told us that it was so. So we know it is true.
Once our eyes are opened to this glorious truth, it will change our whole outlook on life. All murmuring, depression, gloom, fear and anxiety will disappear from our lives. I know this can happen, for it happened in my life. This is now the unshakable foundation of my life: God loves me just as He loves Jesus.
It's not because we don't fast and pray enough that we are defeated in our lives. No. Victory comes by faith – and not by self-effort. “This is the victory that overcomes the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4). You may ask, "Faith in what?". The answer is: “Faith in God's perfect love for you”.
Many believers live under the condemnation of Satan who keeps telling them, "You are not fasting enough. You are not praying enough. You are not witnessing enough. You are not studying the Bible enough", etc. And they are whipped-up by such condemning accusations into a frenzy of activity and a multitude of dead works.
Do you realise that all your self-discipline, fasting, praying and witnessing are all dead works, if they do not originate in love for God? And they cannot originate in such love, unless you are secure in God's love for you, first of all. Paul's prayer for the Christians at Ephesus was that they might be rooted and grounded in the love of God. (Eph. 3:16,17).
The world is full of people who are looking for someone to love them. Many Christians go from church to church, wanting to be loved. Some seek for love in friendships and some in marriage. But all of this can end in disappointment. Like orphans, the children of Adam are insecure and as a result are again and again overcome by bouts of self-pity.
What is the answer to this problem? The answer is to find our security in the love of God. Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that the hairs on their head were all numbered and that a God Who fed the millions of birds and clothed the millions of flowers would certainly take care of them. A greater argument than all of that, is: "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up freely for us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us ALL things " (Rom. 8:32). As God cared for Jesus, He will care for us too.
One reason why God allows us at times to be disappointed with our fellow human beings is so that we might stop depending on man. He desires to free us from such idolatry – for it is a form of idolatry to depend on man. God wants us to learn to depend totally on Him alone. And so, when God orders our circumstances in such a way that we are disappointed on every side by man, that shouldn't discourage us. That is God’s way of weaning us away from the arm of flesh so that we might learn to live by faith in Him.
“Thus says the LORD, ’Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength……for he will be like a bush in the desert. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord….for he will be like a tree planted by the water that will not fear when the heat comes, but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” (Jer.17:5-8)
All competition and jealousy among Christians arises out of insecurity. A man who is secure in the love of God and who believes that God made no mistake in making him the way He made him, and in giving him the gifts and talents He gave him, can never be jealous of another or compete with another. All problems of relationships among believers are also basically due to this same insecurity.
So meditate on Luke 14:26-34 and become a wholehearted disciple of Jesus. Then find your security in the fact that God now loves you just as He loved Jesus.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon