This message is part of a series entitled, “God Tries His Children”. To see all of the messages in this series, please click here.
Tests of preference first involve being able to live with all men peaceably. We understand that our challenge is not to provoke purposefully, but our passions to serve the Lord and dedicate ourselves to Him can be provoking. We need to accept the fact that while we may have control over our passions, we have no control over the response of others. Our passionate faith in Christ may offend.
We also found that a very vital test of preference involves not impeding the development of a believer. We should prefer a successful relationship with the Lord in all believers and endeavor to do nothing whatever to hinder that development.
Identifying with the whole truth of these two texts we found that Jesus is fighting for us. He also stands to convict and encourage us. Jesus is our advocate before the Father and we rest in His perfect love. The tests of our preference come through the temptation of our flesh that can outwardly provoke another or if we take action to lead someone down a road away from the Lord and resting in His pure provision.
Another issue that occurred to me is where a perfect storm of growing faithlessness and sin can develop. As we prefer our fears or reasoning over faith, or we prefer our desire to control and completely understand over faith, we can impede the faith of those around us. As we let our personal pride dominate, faith and the great power of God grows dim in the rear view mirror. Pessimism breeds pessimism, faithlessness feeds further faithlessness. When we promote our abilities over that of the Lord to do His will, we fail Him. Where we offend others in the process we violate Matthew 18:6. As we choose to prefer ourselves, our smarts, our abilities and our rationale over faith, we choose to ignore God’s mercy, power, grace and love. We should always prefer God.
Today we talk about judgment. We open a discussion concerning our attitude with respect to judgment. We find in our scriptures that judgment is not discernment and discernment is not judgment. Continue reading