Our Own Misgivings About Jesus

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The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep.” —John 4:11

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God.

While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things.” And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly— “Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”

by Oswald Chambers

Forgiveness: An Act of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Forgiving those who have wronged us is a tough command to follow. Our human nature finds it easier and more satisfying to hold onto our anger. But as vessels of God’s love, Christians no longer live according to the impulses of the flesh. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, when someone mistreats us, we can not only forgive but also show love to that person.

First Corinthians 13:5 tells us that . . .

• Love does not seek its own. Many people are preoccupied with their “rights.” Yet the idea of entitlements is a worldly construct, not a biblical mandate. That’s not to say we should allow others to take advantage of us; rather, the Bible teaches that our primary concern should be something other than our own interests—namely, we’re to be focused on showing God’s love to our enemy (Matt. 5:44).

• Love is not provoked. Maintaining a peaceful spirit when we are irritated is difficult. But the moments when we are persecuted or wronged are precisely the times we most need to be mindful of God’s love flowing through us. Think how often Jesus had to face religious leaders who deliberately provoked Him, and yet, on the cross, He sought the Father’s forgiveness for them, too.

• Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. God’s love flowing through us can carry away a hurt done by another person. But we must allow this to happen instead of holding onto pain.

People will wrong us. But if we have a caring attitude and refuse to be provoked or preoccupied with rights, then we will be able to let go of bitterness and forgive with love.

Lessons from Amos: Seek the Lord

“But seek not Bethel. . . .Seek the LORD, and ye shall live.” (Amos 5:5-6)

Bethel had a long history with Israel. Abraham camped near Bethel when he first entered the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:8) and “called on the name of the LORD” at Bethel when he returned from Egypt (Genesis 13:3-4). Jacob’s dream of the ladder took place at Bethel (Genesis 28:10-12, 19), and later it was there his name was changed to “Israel” (Genesis 35:9-15).

Later however, Bethel became Bethaven, the “House of Idols” (Hosea 4:15), after Jeroboam I established a temple to the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33). And much later, Assyria, after the destruction of Israel, left false priests at Bethel to corrupt the land (2 Kings 17:27-34). The place became a substutite for the person of God.

The danger comes when God becomes fixed to a place or an event, where there is more concern for property than people. The kind of place (one’s denomination) substitutes theology for truth, or the experience gives more credence to intuition than inspiration. Worship of place or event supersedes the worship of God. Both substitutes will produce error.

The admonition of Amos is to “seek the LORD” (Amos 5:6). The promise is that if we seek the LORD, we “shall live.” We will not find God in a place but in a person (Acts 4:12). We cannot find God in a campaign but in a commitment (Matthew 6:33). We surely will not find God in promises from men but in power from God (2 Peter 1:4). HMM III

As Holy as You Want to Be

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2 Corinthians 7:1

It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is most certainly as full as he wants to be.

Our Lord placed this beyond dispute when He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which, in their acute stages, may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled. The problem is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit Him to do so. The average Christian is so cold and so contented with His wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness.

Lord, quiet my heart today and fill me with this holy longing. I don’t want to be contented with my present condition; I long for that vacuum of desire into which the Holy Spirit can rush. Amen.

The Importance of Right Relationship with God

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

Many men and women are seeking counsellors to aid them with their confessed feelings of emptiness and inadequacy. Each seems to have a plea about becoming a “whole person.”

The importance of coming back into right relationship with God cannot be overestimated as we seriously think and study and pray.

By the mysterious operation of the Spirit of God in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “the divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:9, 16).

Such a one is a true Christian, and only such. Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership—these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place!

Religious externals may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for any others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence” is more than a wise saying; it is a solemn charge laid upon us by the One who cares most about us!

“Be Still and Know”

Be still, and know that I am God. PSALM 46:10

Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified “gold rush.” Almost every book on prayer deals mainly with the “get” element. How to get things we want from God occupies most of our space.

Christians should never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests.

Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful, by comparison.

We should be aware that there is a kind of school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. “Be still and know,” said the psalmist (46:10).

It might well be a revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a time—a time to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God!

Heavenly Father, I desire my prayer time to be more than a “wish list.” Help me to spend more time listening for Your voice than making personal requests.