This message is part of a series entitled, “God Tries His Children”. To see all of the messages in this series, please click here.
Our last discussion concerning God’s trials for His children concentrated on a very special friendship between Jonathan and David. Both were willing to give their lives for the other. Both were willing to take anything to the extreme to prove their love for one another. Both were devoted to the will of God in each others’ lives. Both were driven by a spirit wholly focused upon God’s will, His greatness and His goodness for Israel. Both knew the cost of that idealism.
In today’s society, idealism and fundamentalism are both very bad words, unless the motivations and objects are acceptable to the world. When we use those words, we rather automatically think of the cowardice masquerading as religion in Islam. There could be no two more opposite forces in the world today than Islam and Christianity. The Islamist’s idea of idealism and fundamentalism is total manual suppression of life. The Islamist tries desperately to do enough to please their god. Unfortunately, they are never told what “enough” is. Their god’s hunger for blood is never satiated. To Allah, everything must die; unbelievers, creativity, freedom, commerce, confidence, everything except fear must go. Allah has never demonstrated what he expects because this false god does not exist to demonstrate it.
Christ’s idea of idealism and fundamentalism is selfless love as He has personally demonstrated and taught. Jesus says follow Me, follow where I have already tread. He asks us to have pure faith in Him for all things just as He displayed His faith in our heavenly Father. He asks us to submit wholly in faith to His will just as He submitted wholly in faith to our heavenly Father’s will. For the Christian it is simple: be like Jesus in every way you can. He makes friendship and followership even simpler. Jesus commits to doing that work in you, He will change you. You need do nothing except follow.
For the Islamist and any other religion, including most that claim to be Christian belief systems, one must DO. You must submit. You must obey. You must pray 5 times a day to the east. You must give 10% to tithes, go on deputation, participate in missions, be baptized (preferably as an infant), or any number of things. Just read “you must” and you see why many in our world rebel. Further, as you read, “you must” consider that their god is not enough for them because they have to do something to earn a place in heaven, paradise or utopia.
True Christianity is not a “you must.” True Christianity is instead, “God will.” God will renew our minds. God will convict us to change. God has saved us. God has given Himself for us. God will use us and our testimony for His glory. The function of faith is to turn these trials over to God and let Him work on us, and others through us. This is what David and Jonathan did. They trusted God to change Saul if He would, show Jonathan Saul’s evil nature if he would, or even condemn either David or Jonathan if they were in sin. Both the Spirit of God (Ezek 37:14; Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, et al) and the Son of God (Jn 14:20; 15:4; Rom 8:10; Col 1:27) indwell the believer. With two thirds of the Godhead living within you, God will change you. You will not contain Him. David and Jonathan rested in God’s power for their friendship above all that was in the world for them.
Please turn to 1 Kings 18:17. Today we consider Elijah’s challenge to Baal and the priests of Baal. This passage contains one of the most powerful testimonies in scripture where God’s power is witnessed in a direct and visible answer to the pagan and believer alike. Continue reading