Obedience

Five To Focus 49. It Has Been Granted To You

If you have been given the chance to know the Creator of the Universe, to be forgiven of your sins, to be declared righteous by God through Christ, to receive the eternal reward of heaven instead of the eternal punishment of torment in hell upon death–If you have been given this chance, then why would you choose anything else?

Scripture: Philippians 1:29.

 

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Five To Focus 48. Living Worthy of the Gospel Despite Opposition

Are you living a life worthy of the gospel?  Can people look at your life and see that you are living by the truth of God’s Word? Or will they look at your life and see that you are living in sin and there really isn’t anything different in you than what they see in the world? We continue to look at Philippians 1:27 in this episode.

 

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Five To Focus 47. You Are A Citizen of Heaven

Here is our command: fulfill all the duties devolving upon you as a member of the body of Christ. This episode looks at Philippians 1:27 to begin focusing on the truth that you are citizen of heaven and are commanded to live like it!

 

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Five To Focus 32. I’m Scared To Adopt

Moses and Gideon are examples of how to be faithful in serving the Lord even if you feel timid. Ryan’s quick testimony of fear through the process of adopting some of his children can be applicable to your fearful situations and help encourage you to not let fear distract you from following Jesus.

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Five To Focus 29. Follow God’s Plan for You, Not Someone Else

The interaction between Jesus and Peter in John 21:20-22 is a great reminder to us that God’s Word is personal. It is for you–and don’t let others distract you from obeying.

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You Don’t Need Scripture & Your Fleeces To Trust God

What’s the deal with Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:36-40? This passage is one of those strange ones in the Old Testament that makes you wonder how we are to apply it to our lives. Here’s the summary:

Midian and other pagan nations gather together, cross the Jordan River, and camp at the Jezreel Valley. The battle is set between this pagan nation and God’s people, Israel. The Spirit of the Lord is empowering Gideon and God’s people gather when Gideon sounds the trumpet and sends messengers to bring them in. This is going to be a big battle!

You would think that Gideon would be fully confident because God already told him that He would save Israel through Gideon. But instead, Gideon asks for another sign (God has already been gracious to give some) that God would do what He said He would do. He asks him twice to perform a sign with a fleece he lays down. First, to put all of the dew on the fleece and not on the ground around it. Second, all the dew on the ground but not on the fleece.

Gideon is testing God.  And that was a sin. “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah” (Deuteronomy 6:16, ESV). Gideon must have known this because he asks the Lord in verse 39 to not be angry with him! In fact, there is only one time the Lord says it’s okay to test him, and that is with bringing in the tithe and seeing God’s blessing (Malachi 3:10).

This passage is an example of a descriptive passage (explaining what happened, not necessarily endorsing it), not a prescriptive passage (command). We know it is a descriptive passage because Gideon is committing a sin and he even knows it.

Some people ask the Lord for a supernatural sign of some kind before stepping out in faith. But He has already given us His Word! The whole time someone might be asking for a sign, the Lord has already given guidance for the right things that are to be done. Some believe that there will be a new revelation from God, something outside of his already-complete Scripture (the 66 books of the Bible), and they cherish that false idea more than the truth that God has already given to them.   

Just because Gideon put out a fleece and God answered his request to make it wet and the ground dry does not mean that this is how God speaks to everyone. Don’t think that you need the Bible and your fleeces (or just your fleeces) to hear God speak. God was gracious to Gideon–his was a very specific situation of a timid servant needing some reassurance.

Let’s put our trust in the Lord and His Word and not in signs.

Photo by Hisu lee on Unsplash

Two Reminders for Overcoming Timidity

A page in A.A. Milne’s book The House At Pooh Corner said,

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Have you ever felt that way with God? You just want to be sure of His presence with you. In moments of weakness, we can be timid in obeying the Lord. Yet, Psalm 100:2 tells us to serve the Lord with gladness. How do you reconcile those feelings?

Let me encourage you: by God’s grace, timidity can turn to confidence.

2 Reminders For Finding Victory Over Timidity:  

You are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In Judges 6:34, The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon. He was completely covered and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God for his task. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit would empower people for specific purposes at specific times.

The difference now is that the Holy Spirit dwells permanently in all who have repented of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…” (Ephesians 1:13, ESV)

Christians are in the spirit, not the flesh. The flesh can become timid, but living by the Spirit can change that.

9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:9-11, ESV)

You have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in you that dwelt in Gideon and even raised Jesus from the dead!  So when you look out at your task for the Lord and you feel timid, remember that you are not working out of your own power—take time in prayer to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s strength in you.

You have the truth of God to guide you (36).

V.36 is so interesting. Gideon starts by saying “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have said…”  When did God become a liar?  If He already said it, why would you question if He’ll do it?

Timidity comes when you don’t trust the words of God. If you don’t trust the words of God, then what are you going to trust-your words? The words of others? Everything becomes shaky at that point. God has spoken, it is true, and we can follow it faithfully.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Proverbs 30:5, ESV)

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19, ESV)

To be guided by Scripture, you need to listen to what the Lord has said and obey those commands. As you’re faithful in those, you’ll grow in faith and gain more wisdom and discretion to be faithful in more specific situations in your life (Proverbs 3:21).

  • You might say I just don’t like this job and I hate going everyday.  The Lord has commanded that we work with all of our heart (Col. 3:23), so you need to be faithful to that command until another door might open.
  • You might say I just feel like I have no control of my children. God has given much instruction on parenting, so study those passages and put them into practice.

You have the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God to guide you! Be faithful and bold to be committed to the work God has for you.

Are there specific verses or ways that help you overcome timidity in your life?

You Might Be A Legalist If… (Part 3)

Note: This post is part of a series.

 

You might be a legalist if you don’t practice what you preach.  

If you demand others to be righteous but then don’t follow your own words, you’re acting like the Pharisees. And Jesus had some pretty harsh words for them.

Look at Jesus’s words in Matthew 23:2-4:

2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

Within Judaism, the Scribes were experts on the Torah because they interpreted it. The Pharisees were experts in the theological matters that the Torah brought about. They had authority (Moses’ seat), so people were to respect them and observe what they interpreted properly, although they weren’t to mirror their works. They would maybe say the right things, but they wouldn’t do it themselves.

A similar situation is mentioned in Acts 15 during the Jerusalem Council. Peter condemned some there who were trying to put unnecessary demands on Gentile converts.

Today there could be:

  • legalistic preachers, who preach one thing to their people and then neglect their very words;
  • legalistic parents, who demand their children to act in biblical ways and then don’t act that way themselves.  

We can so easily be legalistic simply by not practicing what we preach. We might know what’s right and how to proclaim what’s right, but we don’t always live as if it actually is right.

I believe the answer to this problem is that we need a softened heart that realizes the power of the grace of Jesus Christ. As Peter said, “. . .we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will” (Acts 15:11, ESV).

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