Coaching Session #5: A Centrifugal, Synergistic Life of Blessings
Living in God’s Gospel Blessings:
The Gospel Is God’s ‘New and Living Way’
A Life Lived In His Mercy, Grace, Peace and Joy
Christ’s Abundant Life and Faith
First, Here’s An Illustration, A Modern Parable
Not all psychology is bad, and we should learn from some of it. Psychology tells us a kid’s behavior is focused. They often
won’t continue any behavior pattern that doesn’t get them what they want. This means if they scream for candy, but only get a pinch on the arm instead, they will usually stop the screaming behavior.
Have you ever thought that this is why some of our prayers aren’t answered? If they are only focused on US, and on our wants and desires (like the kid wanting candy), God doesn’t pinch us. But he also won’t play into our tactics. It is only when we are consumed with him that he can afford to give us the desires of our hearts (Psa 37:4).
If we’re only consumed with US, our wants, and having a better life, then it’s only by NOT giving us what we ask for (the candy) that God gets our attention. If our demands are NOT met, we then approach Father with other motives— sadly if it’s still only to get what we want. But it focuses our attention on our Abba, not just on the candy.
This is our loving Father’s goal for us. If he is our first love (Rev 2:4), this is how he positions us so he CAN give us our heart’s desire.
Christ’s Abundant Life from John 10:10
Abundant life is not about money, possessions, health and prosperity, although these can be produced from it.
Abundant life is about knowing God in all facets of life (Phil 3:10, as an example). And it is about connecting with his power and process at work in us (Rom 1:16). So, abundant life is not about something on earth, but about a Person.
Our faith must begin and end in God himself (Heb 6:1). We are told Jesus is the Author and Finisher, and the Alpha and Omega of our faith. Our faith must always be in God’s faithfulness to us, even if we don’t always think he is being faithful to us — at least in the way we want.
Often, the way we wrongly try to use faith is by trying to get God to be faithful to us in the way we want and ask. But part of faith is seeing that we see through a glass dimly, as Paul says (I Cor 13:12). We don’t think and know reality the way God does (Isa 55:8-9).
Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to have faith for worldly, horizontal type things (like a kid wanting candy). But if this is our prime objective in life, we will always be disappointed. We may have more money, possessions and toys as we grow older, but higher aspects of life diminish if we aren’t careful to protect our Godly, gospel focus.
I make this comment often: If things on earth were always perfect, we’d never have a desire for heaven! Yet Paul says our affection should be on things of heaven, not things of the earth (Col 3:2).
Paul says truly knowing God’s love is what empowers our faith (Gal 5:6). We don’t know his love if we define it by him always giving us what we ask for (candy). If our focus is on things of earth, then our love is for the world, and God’s love evades us (I John 2:15). Living in a love for the world is why we tend to INITIATE things: “God, I want candy.”
Our faith is not to INITIATE things, but to RESPOND to things that happen to us in life with a heavenly perspective.
It’s an old saying: “What happens to you in life, as important as it may be, is not half as important as how you respond to what happens to you.” This is Godly faith!
Worldly success is defined by us as ACHIEVING things. Kingdom success is defined by our RECEIVING from God. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” God has so much to add to us in the gospel of his Kingdom that it is mind-blowing.
Everything We Have We Receive From God
“What do you have that you have not received?” (I Cor 4:7). The fact is God gives us ALL things (I Cor 3:21-22). He withholds nothing from us (Rom 8:32). We have all God’s blessings (Eph 1:3). We have all of the promises of God in Christ (II Cor 1:20). God gives us his entire Kingdom (Luke 12:32). He even gives us the Holy Spirit to show us any free gift of his we may miss (I Cor 2:12).
But we must be totally tuned into Jesus, and the cross of his finished work to see everything God wants us to see. Otherwise we live in All the Light We Do Not See.
Our faith must be in him, not in things of earth.
“The Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding (his gospel truth), so we may know him who is true, and that we are in him who is true” (I John 5:20).
When we live in self and flesh, we often live in guilt because of things we’ve done or haven’t done — and we also live in fear of what may or may not happen that we want or don’t want. I John 4:18 says God’s love in us erases fear. And if the condemnation of the law is taken away, then guilt is also erased. These are two of the greatest tormentors in life. (Can you see how these Coaching Sessions build on each other, and why truly seeing the first three are so very important?)
If guilt and fear are erased, faith reigns,
and the abundant life of Jesus is realized.
Living in gospel truth and reality produces this.
If guilt and fear are not erased, true faith fizzles.
Sometimes We Don’t Live In the Right Faith
Faith toward God is a heart faith in him and in his faithfulness to us. Many believers have re-defined faith and it is more of a mental and metaphysical type of faith. It is a worldly type of faith, not a Kingdom type of faith. It is an initiating type of faith to get what they want from God. It doesn’t really have much to do with God except to use God to get what we want and achieve a better life.
Hebrews 6:1 refers to our faith in God as ‘elementary.’ It is meant to be like a lesson we learn in elementary school, and we never forget it. It is a law of ‘first impression,’ and it rules our thinking and lives until the grave. This is how faith in God is meant to be. We are never meant to not live life in total dependence and trust in him and in his faithfulness to us.
But our faith is sometimes born in love for the world, and I John 2:15 says when this happens, we cannot know the love of God for us. This is because our faith is short-circuited, and because God’s love is what drives our faith (Gal 5:6).
In a humanistic, mental, metaphysical faith, we demand that God gives us a better life, and we want to define exactly what this means, and how we want it to come. We try and try to make things happen according to our wishes. We forget Jesus is the Author, and Finisher of our faith. We forget that we need to decrease so that he may increase, like John the Baptist says (John 3:30). Instead, we take ownership over our faith and do all we possibly can to enforce it.
Living in this type of faith, especially if things go well for awhile, we think we are strong in ourselves. We forget that we are the house of God built on the Rock of Jesus. It is the foundation of the Rock that gives strength and power to us.
We often worship and serve ourselves and not God (Rom 1:25).
Faith is the Spirit’s fruit, not the flesh (Gal 5:22).
Correct Belief and Love Produces Confidence
I John 3:21 says, “If our heart does not condemn us, then we have CONFIDENCE toward God.” Then verse 23 tells us how this occurs: “This is (Christ’s) commandment, (1) that we
believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and (2) love one
another.” This is how we live a life of confidence, that then results in a life of health and prosperity.
Being Prosperous and Living in Health
III John 2 says that God desires for us to prosper and to be in health, just as our soul also prospers. And how does our soul prosper? III John 3 tells us: “I greatly rejoiced when the brothers came and told of (1) the truth that is in you,
(2) even as you walk in that truth.” Of course, truth always refers to having the seed of GOSPEL truth in us. Jesus didn’t come to bring many different truths for us to choose from.
We must live gospel truth
to be prosperous and healthy.
Anything else is a counterfeit
that Paul says should be cursed (Gal 1:8-9).
This is living in faith, trusting God for his faithfulness. We don’t define everything, and tell God what to do and how to do it. We simply live in his truth and believe. Jesus says belief in what he tells us is our job and work (John 6:29).
Living like this, we don’t try to figure out why some things happen that we don’t want, and why other things do not happen that we do want. We pride ourselves to be able to accept or reject doctrines as truth, but what about the person who says he is the truth?
Faith Produces Our Identity in Christ
A lot is said today about our identity in Christ: knowing who we are in God. Faith in God, and in his faithfulness to us, is what produces this identity. We know we are the sons and daughters of God. It’s because of God’s great LOVE for us that we know we’re his sons and daughters (I John 3:1).
I Corinthians 5:17 says we’re a NCIC (a New Creation in Christ). This means we are a new species, and no longer only human. We are a ‘GodMan.’ We know we are known by God (Gal 4:17), and we are his kids.
By knowing who we are spiritually, due to gospel truth we believe, we allow God to take ‘ownership’ over us, which causes us to also take ownership over our prayers, and our expectations in this life. We realize we are not initiators, but responders. By faith, we know we are involved in something that is much bigger than our minds can ever understand.
This doesn’t mean that we give up on wanting things in this life. Of course not! We still want things, and pray for them and work for them. This world is our temporary home and we should make the most of it. But we must combine this knowing our real legal domicile is in heaven, not on earth.
Will Jesus Find Faith In Us?
Jesus asks, “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith in the earth?” (Luke 18:8). And where will he find faith if he does find it? He’ll find it in the heart, which he searches (I Sam 16:7). He will be looking for good hearts that are filled with his grace (Heb 13:9). This is one of two titles Paul gives the gospel: the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). He’ll be looking for the faith of gospel seed in our hearts.
The gospel is God’s greatest gift to us,
except for the cross of his Son Jesus.
We must accept and believe it (Mark 1:15).
Again, I feel God will judge us the harshest
for not accepting his free gifts,
and for not living them to his glory.