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In God We Trust?

by David Fredrickson

 

From the beginning of 2008 “change” has been the key word that was prophesied by many for this season. It is evident that the changes occurring will be in response to a mighty shaking which has only begun. The increase of wars, rumors of wars, political upheaval, natural disasters, disease, famine, economic crisis and spiritual leaders falling like flies are indications that whatever can be shaken will be. Not one world system will be left untouched. Religious systems will either crumble or become more rigid than ever. Relationships will be tested. Belief systems and value systems will be challenged. Trials and difficult circumstances will abound.

Those of us who profess to be followers of Christ are surely aware that it is not within the power of political leaders, economic wizards or scientists to effect solutions to the current world crisis. Yet many seem unaware that the greatest change must take place in the body of Christ. Now is the appointed time for those who truly know God to wake up and apprehend the opportunity before us. Those who put their trust in Him should be bastions of calm in the midst of chaos and a source of wisdom in the midst of confusion. Yet to be so, we must make sure that our trust is based on the only Foundation that cannot be shaken.

Christians who have placed their trust in a religious system rather than relationship must re-examine the foundations of their faith. Of course, most believers would be quick to assert that their trust is placed in God. Yet many find it difficult to distinguish the difference between His voice and the voice of man.

Some look to a pastor or other spiritual leaders to shape and confirm their belief system and/or even hear God for them. They allow their relationship with Him to be mediated by mere man. They look to others for affirmation because they lack intimacy with the only One whose opinion really matters.

Others rely on their own ability to reason things out logically. They lean on their intellect rather than on Jesus because a hundred voices have drowned out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Misplacing their trust in the ability of man to reason negates the place of the Holy Spirit in their lives and places them in control. Such misplaced trust resulting in control is the bedrock of religion and the enemy of genuine relationship with God and other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Still others “stand on the word” as their blueprint and rule book. Yet to them it is not a word made living by the Holy Spirit, because they lack the experiential reality of its practical and unique application to their lives personally. They have a relationship with the Bible but little knowledge of the Person. They have adopted errant belief systems unwittingly based on mistranslation of the scriptures. Impure motives and lack of scholastic integrity have produced man centered rather than Christ centered teachings that have led many into bondage rather than the freedom promised. There is usually a combination of the above that makes up the shaky foundation of those who have placed their trust in dead religion rather than in a living relationship with God.

But there is an increasing number of passionate followers of Christ who are growing in a relationship with Father as they learn to hear his voice and trust him to guide them by his Spirit. They yield to the work of the Spirit in their lives as Christ is being formed within them. These people would never consider substituting another’s understanding for the truth that can only be realized through an experiential relationship with Christ. Nor could they ever trust their own intellect to comprehend mysteries that can only be spiritually discerned. They’ve learned by sometimes painful experience that “the letter kills, while the Spirit gives life” and that He is faithful to interpret the scriptures in keeping with the character and nature of God. They place great value on the Bible as the word of truth is rightly divided. The sweet fellowship and wisdom of godly brothers and sisters is regarded as priceless. They are not afraid to use the mind God gave them. But their trust is placed only in the One to whom the scriptures point.

And in the midst of it all, those who trust Father will realize that it’s a great time to be alive! It’s a time to rejoice in receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, knowing that what really matters can’t be taken from those who are held by Father’s love. They will place whatever they have in the hands of the Master and watch him multiply it for the expansion of his kingdom. As a city of refuge for others who have not yet learned to trust him, Christ’s  true followers can laugh and weep with those whose lives have been robbed by the petty things they counted as their security, but who will now find freedom and fullness through clinging to Jesus. His children will watch in awe and wonder as Father pours out his love and grace on the confused, hurting and fearful. The borders of our lives will become less important while genuine relationships will grow more precious. And though the shaking will increase, His grace will abound as God’s people awake to a great opportunity to be the true church He has been preparing for such a time as this.



Articles by David Fredrickson
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