When you have Christian love you have a deep emotional commitment to Jesus Christ. When you know the truth you know how and where to permeate that love. With faith you know how to believe the truth no matter what befalls you. Trust is just the icing on the cake. It tells one how to relax and go on with life. For trust merely means we know that God is in command, here on earth and in our eternal home in Heaven.
Human nature gives man a suspicious will. Man believes in himself, that which he can do and accomplish. Man can readily accept human beliefs and concepts. But it goes against manís will to trust and follow a God he cannot completely fathom or understand. There is a story about a man named Jim who found a beautiful necklace. The gold chain had precious stones engraved into it and held an old tarnished coin. The chain was pretty and looked valuable if one would not look at the ugly old coin. Jim took the chain to a local pawn broker he knew that would not ask many questions. The pawn broker looked at the chain with the inlaid stones and thought it could be worth quite a few bucks. But he could not be sure of the chainís value without having a friend come over to appraise it, and that would cost fifty dollars. Jim took the old coin off the chain and put it in his pocket. The coin was so scratched up it was probably just an old keep sake someone had put on the pretty chain. Besides if the owner was really looking for the chain it would be easy to identify with the coin on it. Jim told the pawn broker he would leave the chain and be back with the fifty dollars needed for the appraisal. Jim didnít know how he was going to get the money, but by hook or crook he would raise it.
Jim went over to the local diner to grab something to eat. Ben, an old friend, was sitting at the counter eating. Jim explained his story hoping Ben would loan him the fifty dollars. But Ben merely asked Jim when he was going to pay him the last twenty dollars he loaned him. Suddenly Jim had an idea, with a hustlerís pitch Jim sold Ben the old coin that had been on the chain for fifty dollars. Ben knew he had probably been taken, but he liked the old coin. As Jim hurried out of the diner he heard Ben beller out that he would be over to get the coin appraised when he was through eating. Jim went to the pawn shop and waited while the friend came over to appraised the chain. Jimís excitement melted way when the appraiser said the chain was only worth one hundred dollars. Just then Ben walked into the store and seeing Jim called out for him to stay and see how much he had taken his old friend for. The appraiser didnít think the coin was worth much, but offered to look through an old coin book and see if the coin was worth anything for ten bucks. Jim and Ben visited while waiting for the coin to be the appraised. Jim hoped Ben wouldnít be to mad for he didnít think the coin was even worth the ten dollar appraisal fee. Finally the appraiser came out half laughing. He told them someone had really been taken. Ben, half disgusted, asked the appraiser to tell him the bad news. The appraiser looked at Ben and said, ďThis is a very rare coin. It is worth over two million dollars.Ē To say Ben was happy was an understatement. But Jim could not believe what he had done. He had been so mesmerized by the shining gold chain he had given away the real treasure, the old ugly coin. So it is with many today. We are so engrossed in human pleasures, possessions, and ideals that seem to fit our lifestyles, that we do not take the time to look for what is really valuable. We do not search in the book, the Bible, to find out how much Christ loves us. Just as Jim didnĎt think an old ugly coin could be worth that much, we do not trust an old book like the Bible to have the most important message to enrich our lives. By not looking in a book Jim lost a treasure. By not opening the Bible we can lose the greatest treasure of all, Godís great gift of eternal life in Heaven.
There are four distinct wills that influence oneís ability to trust in God. The first and most important will is that of our Heavenly Father who created us. The second will is that of our own humanity. Manís strives with his own intelligence and ego to find answers that only God knows. The third will we encounter is that of our own personal fantasy world where we can control and dictate what happens in the corners of our minds. The fourth and last will we face is the guiles of Satan himself. For the Great Deceiver can make wrong look right. Let us look closer at these four wills that are daily pulling on us.
Godís will is absolute and perfect. The trouble is man is an imperfect being. Manís challenge is to trust Godís will even when it goes against his own reasoning. This can only be accomplished when man lets the Holy Spirit work in his heart to enable him to accept Godís ways. We pray to God, ďThy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Ē This sums up what we should try to do on earth.
Human will would have one rearrange God to fit societyís everyday situations, ideals, and standards. Surely God will accept oneís deeds if they are deemed acceptable by society. Arrogantly we believe human intelligence to be a gift of God and therefore to be used to modify the Lordís outdated teachings in the Bible. This humanization of God puts manís will over Godís will.
There was a counselor who was donating her time to work with troubled teenagers. She felt good about giving back to the community where she had been raised. She was speeding down the highway as she was late to supervise some troubled teens after school. She watched her speedometer to make sure she was not going over the speed limit by more than ten mph. For patrolman usually give you a 10 mph break on the speed limit during rush hour. She felt relieved when a couple of cars passed her by. Surely an officer would go after them first. She noticed a motorcycle patrolman in her rear view mirror. Good, now some of those reckless speeding drivers would get the tickets they deserved. To her astonishment the officer motioned for her to pull to the side of the road. She felt insulted, embarrassed, and very angry. Why should she be pulled over when there were other idiots going faster. She explained her situation to the officer, hoping he would let her go. But the officer merely said it would just take a few minutes to write the ticket. Holding back her rage she took down the officerís badge number, as she would fight the ticket in court. At the trial the judge heard both sides of the case. The judge knew the lady was guilty. But this was an election year, and the lady was a minority actively involved in improving the community. The judge let electability overrule legality and threw out the ticket. Outside the courtroom the lady was ecstatic, feeling she had been vindicated. She had been a victim of poor judgment. Besides for all the free work she did in the community she should get a few perks.
Manís reasoning allows for justification by comparison and may be earned by doing good deeds. The problem comes when you try and use manís reasoning in Godís world. For Godís will is absolute. There is only right or wrong with no contingencies. Either you have lived a perfect life or you are a sinner. It does not matter how big or slight your sins are. There are no mitigating factors. It doesnít matter that you have sinned less than most of the people in the world. It doesnít matter if you are rich, powerful, or intelligent. It doesnít matter who you are or what your name is. It doesnít matter if you are a minority or your family never taught you about the Lord. You can not be saved by comparison, being better than others or having different circumstances than others. You can not earn or buy forgiveness of your sins. Nothing one does, no matter how great the deed, can erase your sins. No amount of money given out of love can be exchanged for your sins. On Judgment Day you will be all by yourself, being charged with all the sins you have committed, whether great or small. You will be found guilty and face everlasting damnation. The only way you can be saved is through the grace of Jesus Christ. Only His death and resurrection can atone for your sins. Grace is a free gift to all that believe in Christ, repent of their sins, and follow Him. Only Christís love can open Heavens doors to anyone, no matter how good or bad their past.
The third will is found in our fantasy world. This will is just like a coin for it has two sides. There is a good side when we can picture all the blessings the Lord has given and has promised us. Dreaming about all those God pleasing desires one has in life. Spouse, family, children, a nice place to work, loving and helping those less fortunate. Fulfilling some of our dreams because we are willing to work to achieve them. Realizing many of our dreams will never come true, but being happy and content in that which the Lord has given us. Be careful of the other side of the coin. For one is all powerful in their fantasy world, dreaming anything they desire. The fantasy world can cause desires that make one inpatient, wanting all their dreams to come true, right now. Why wait when one can get a loan and have it today, burdens one with debts. Soon all must work long hours to keep up with the payments. This leaves little time for the family, children, or the Lordís work. Any emergency or unexpected problem causes financial havoc causing many to lose all. The illicit dream wreaks havoc in their lives, leaving burned out people stumbling around in the world of reality. Our fantasy world also controls the most intimate thoughts that we have. Here we can hide who we are, what we want, and our secret desires. Here is where instant gratification tries to rule us. The gratification of power, popularity, ego, sexual pleasure, being the greatest, or any other desires left unchecked are hard to subdue. These fantasies are the breeding grounds of many of our sins. Add drugs or alcohol to enhance the thrill and they become even more tempting. The more gratification one gets the more one wants, pushing it farther and farther until it becomes part of oneís everyday life. Some go to the extreme point of no return where one is only physically in the real world, their mind living in the pleasures of their fantasies. Remember Jesus knows all of our desires, whether good or bad. Fantasies are sin whether we physically commit them or not. There is only one way to control this will, allow Jesus to live in our fantasy world as well as our real world.
The last will pulling on us is the most dangerous of them all, for it is Satan and his world trying to deceive us. We walk through Satanís domain more than we think. There are obvious places we should avoid. This includes Satanic cults, witchcraft, black magic, voodoo, fortune telling, and reading the stars. If we believe Satan does not have all the powers attributed to these practices, then the practices are lies with no power. If we follow and believe lies we fall into Satanís snare. For Satanís greatest weapons are the craftiness of His lies, and the persuasion of His deceit. Satan is the greatest liar of them all. The Lord has taught us to pray, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Evil that defines Satanís world. But we do not respond to the danger. We flirt with danger watching all the trash on television and in the movies, listening to all the garbage on radio, engaging in the night life, reading all the dirt in books, magazines, and newspapers, in our talk, gossiping and telling jokes, and so many more things in our life. They all make a mockery out of God and His purpose for man. Satan just sits back and smiles with the entertainment elite tucked firmly in His back pocket. The world has become so used to anti-Christian rhetoric that it has been accepted by society as the truth. The great battle of Armageddon will not be won or lost on any battlefield. The battle will be fought in the hearts, minds and souls of man. For the battle will not be over who controls the riches of the world, but who controls the will of each individual person on earth. Whose will do you put your trust in?
The best way to explain trust is to consider the different choices we must make in our lives. Man is on a mental journey through life traveling down many roads and highways. Some roads lead towards God, others lead away from Him. God has given man a free will that allows him to chose where he travels. Man does not like to ask for help, believing he can find the way himself. People start from many different locations in life, and there are many different roads to choose from. But it doesnít matter where you started from or what roads you have traveled in life, it only matters that you accept the Holy Spiritís directions to find your way before it is too late. For no matter what your situation the right directions to the Lord are only a prayer away.
There are many well traveled roads in the world today. The Moslem, Hindu, and Buddhist highways are all overcrowded. These highways join in with the Atheist express way of no god, the arterial roads of all the other man made gods, and other antichristian beliefs to form a massive super highway headed in the wrong direction. The vast majority of the earthís population is heading away from Christ, on the fast track towards the burning sands of Hell. There is also a group traveling on the street and narrow road guided by the Holy Spiritís directions. But some can never quite submit to Godís will. How can a loving God allow all the pain and suffering in the world? They forget to look inward and remember how man brought on strife by his own actions. When troubles come they turn around and start back not sure they are on the right road. Others notice the pleasures of the world passing them by in the opposite direction. Temptation soon wins and they take an access road that doubles back to the wider road of instant gratification. A faithful few follow the Holy Spiritís road map until they reach a chasm which they must cross to reach Godís Kingdom on earth.
This chasm is the last battle of wills going on within one as they strive to find peace with God. For the chasm divides Godís and Satanís kingdoms. The chasm is deep and wide, but where it narrows there is a small path that allows ones to cross over. This crossing is unique as the bright shining light of Christís grace makes it physically impossible to see the path as one walks towards the Lord. Only when the Holy Spirit opens one heart can one hear the tender voice of Jesus leading them home, guiding them across the chasm into the His Kingdom. The path is only wide enough for one person to cross it at a time. You alone must trust our Saviorís commands to guide you across, nothing else can help you. This is a hard concept for man to comprehend. There is nothing one can do, nor can anything else help one cross the chasm. The only way to cross over is to trust in Jesus Christ.
It is very hard to take the first step over the chasm, trying to concentrate on Jesus voice, not looking down at how far one can fall, all the way to hell, if one goes off the edge. Turning back and looking at all you have left behind. All those not in Christ, families, loved ones, friends. All earthly possessions, wealth, pleasures, and accomplishments. Some are able to go right across the chasm at our Lordís bidding. Others must go one step at the time, often wondering what they are doing here, that they really canít go any farther, that it is crazy trusting Jesus for everything. Sometimes they even take a step or two back towards worldly ideas. But when with each step one feels the firm underpinning of the path, the magnitude of Christís love for us, the trust starts to build. This trust keeps increasing more and more as one makes their way across, until there is no fear that can keep us from crossing the chasm. We are satisfied and happy to become individually autonomous as part of Christís family, our only claim to fame being how much the Lord loves us.
There are many who come to the chasm and look to find a better way to cross it. Let us build a big, beautiful church and school to worship the Lord with. Let us find the best pastors and teachers to fill our church and school to the hilt. Surely this will get the Lordís attention and He will provide a wider pathway for us to cross. Others bring the most intelligent, learned people together for surely they can devise a superior crossing over the chasm. Some provide money for the poor, the needy by tithing their earnings and giving them to the church. Surely the Lord will notice such good works and help us across the chasm. Many fight for the rights of all people for surely slavery to mankind is what the Lord detests most. It is much worse than slavery to sin, and by loving others the Lord will make a better path for us. These groups stand looking out at the crossing, waiting for the Lord to make it easier for them to come into His Kingdom. After all they are doing all that is humanly possible to carry out Christís work on earth. These groups are always looking in, wanting to part of the Lordís Kingdom. But they are never able to completely trust their Savior, they are never willing to completely let go of their own will in order to cross the chasm.
Some look at the narrow crossing and think the only way across is to have a guide show one the way. They turn to pastors and leaders to show them the way. But man is an imperfect being. It is too easy for the leaders and pastors to focus on how important they are to those crossing. They forget they are only relaying the Lordís commands. They try and use their own reasoning, not concentrating on what Jesus is saying. They are mere mortals who can lose their way on the path, often taking all those that were following. Man can not save man. No intermediary can guide you across the chasm. No intermediary can tell you how to get across the chasm. They can only tell you where to start. This trip to cross the chasm, this battle to save your soul is between you and your God alone.
There are many people who have never even considered crossing over on the narrow path. They live on the human side of the chasm believing God will someday provide a safe crossing for them. A better crossing that will not be as risky or require one to give up so much. The rich and powerful live by the narrowest part of the chasm. They can afford the more expensive property and await the Lord in lavish luxury. Someday this will make a shorter trip across the chasm for them, and they tend to have the most baggage to bring. All the ego, pride, and pleasures that will suffice to make Godís kingdom bearable. A little farther down all the women are gathered waving their flags of womenís rights for the Lord to see. Surely He will make an easy path way for them so Godís kingdom can be fair and more efficient with women having equal leadership with the men. Then come all the leaders and pastors of the churches. They all have out their degrees, their letters of praise, and figures showing how their work expanded the congregations. They can help show the Lord how to make His kingdom grow. Next in line are all the people who would believe devoutly in their church denomination no matter what it may be. Their attitude is I was born a _____ I was baptized a _____ and I will die a _____. They all wait for God to vindicate their choice as the correct church by making a crossing specifically for their denomination. For surely no one can get into the Lordís kingdom if they are not of the right denomination. Farther down a group disputes the need to be married before sex. This is a little old fashioned and to bring a little sex along might help spice up the Lordís kingdom. What about those poor people who have homosexual desires. Surely a little homosexual baggage is only fair for those deprived of their heterosexual desires. Others pack in their suitcases the correct worship service, whether it be classical, liturgical, contemporary, on a certain day, or whatever the conditions. One needs to help the Lord worship correctly. Others baggage includes man made rules needed for one to be a part of the Lordís kingdom. Surely there should be closed communion and statues of saints for all to pray to, while alcohol consumption should be off limits for all. Others have other baggage and it keeps piling up higher and higher as all believe they have the correct way to make a path across the chasm and perfect the Lordís kingdom on earth. Words alone can not describe the whole picture. All the baggage piled up waiting to be moved across the chasm. The confusion as all the people believe they have the correct answer to crossing the divide. Some discuss their beliefs philosophically and civilly. Others argue back and forth. The extreme protest and demonstrate loudly, for surely God will hear them. The saddest part is these people believe they are with the Lord, they are just waiting for Him to justify their human beliefs and make them a path to His kingdom. They are oblivious to the fact one must relinquish their human will to find the Lord. No person can serve two masters. Which master will we trust, God or our own human understanding?
Those who reside in Godís kingdom on earth are not the perfect people one would expect. They only know how to fall down on their knees and ask Jesus to forgive them. The more they learn about Jesus, the more they realize how sinful they are. Their only worth lies in the fact God gave His most precious possession to save them, His only son Jesus Christ. Many come in as little children, others find Christ on their deathbed. Some have their whole families with God and always have been close to him. Others have been very desperate people and have lived in Satanís playground. They have done every imaginable sinful thing. The rough roads and terrain they have been over are littered with lost souls. But somehow they hear the Holy Spirit and follow Him to the chasm. After all the trouble they have been through they know this may be their last chance. They have no fear of falling down into the chasm, they only fear they cannot be forgiven. They pray to Jesus to rid them of all the evil they have trapped inside their bodies. They cannot believe the answer is so simple, that the free gift of Grace through Christ makes their bodies whole once again. They do not understand why so many others, the prominent to the insignificant, are still on the outside looking in.
All true believers compose Godís Kingdom. Not all who enter this Kingdom stay. For† the light on the pathway is at your back making it easy to cross back into the world. Some who leave return, but it is not always easy to find the way back to the Lord. Godís Church on earth is not any particular building or religious denomination. Christís Church is the hearts and minds of all who believe in Him, wherever they congregate to worship their Lord. They worship together to gain strength to stay in Godís will, spread His word throughout the world, and help their fellow man. Loving all as Christ loved them. Daily all the faithful go out in the world working for their Master and their own earthly needs. When the work day is done, they come home to the Lord in their prayers. Laying all their happiness, cares, thankfulness, and troubles at His feet. Trusting Him to always take care of them.
Letís close this chapter with a story about a man who was given a painting for his birthday. An employee had purchased the picture at a garage sale and given it as a present to his boss. The boss took the picture home and was going to hang it in his study. But his wife took one look at the picture and thought it was so hideous that she told her husband to put it in the basement. During a rain storm the basement leaked and water gently ran down the picture. The man noticed paint coming off and suddenly realized there was another painting underneath. He took the picture to a local art dealer. The dealer expertly took off the rest of the water painting and to everyoneís astonishment underneath was an original Van Gogh painting. The owner stared at the painting amazed at its beauty. The dealer brought the owner back to reality by saying the owner could live it up as the painting would be worth millions. But the owner merely shrugged his shoulders and quietly said, ďThis picture is too beautiful to sell. There are many millionaires in this world. With money I would just be another fish in the sea. But how many people can own and enjoy an original Van Gogh painting. This painting is priceless.Ē God has given us a priceless gift in having His Son die for our sins. Whether one keeps this gift or sells it to satisfy their own will and desires is each individualís choice. For many are called but few are chosen.