Return to the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.
John 1:50 -
Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe?
John 2:23-24 -
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,
John 6:26 -
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Why do you believe in Jesus? Is it because He did a miracle in your life? Is it because you saw someone getting healed miraculously? Is it because your prayers got answered when you were desperate for something? Is it because of the many signs you saw which led you to believe that this Jesus is probably real? Here’s a good one….Is it because you have seen that most professing Christians are somewhat good, kindhearted, polite, don’t usually swear and are mostly helpful...and so you probably think its a good thing? What is the most forceful motivator that causes you to believe in Jesus?
Yes, signs do cause unbelievers to draw near and examine the reality of the gospel message we preach, but our faith in Him shouldn’t be as shallow as that.
Friends, faith in Jesus our Lord ought not to be for any of the above reasons. Have you come to a realization of how sin has affected mankind and us? We are sinful people. We think and do sinful stuff..…by nature!!. We don’t even have to make an effort to be sinful. It’s in our nature to be sinful. Even if our actions are not visibly sinful, our thoughts are not the purest at times. Our motives aren't the best at times. Its in our nature to be jealous, greedy, selfish, lustful and proud.
The bible says “Everyone has fallen short of the glory of the God. There is not one righteous. Not even one”.
Have you ever felt convicted of something in your life (felt miserable and guilty about it) and tried to stop it but couldn’t? You found it to be a struggle, sometimes a seemingly unending struggle? Perhaps a weakness or an addiction? That’s because of our deep rooted sinful nature. That’s also because of the evil forces of darkness that have had control over us ever since we lost our oneness with God.
It is literally impossible for us to live a perfect and pure life with the purest of thoughts and motives. We need to realize that we desperately NEED a savior. Jesus is that savior. Without this realization, we’ll find ourselves following Jesus for either one or all of the above mentioned reasons. And when we pray, we may feel like we deserve answers to our prayers, we may feel like we deserve the blessings of God, we may feel like we’re doing everything right and therefore God HAS to bless us. That somewhat sums up much of today's “Name it, Claim it” gospel message. This also is the reason why most people try out their luck with one god and if it didn't work, they'll try another and then another and so on, whilst still not dealing with the root of the problem; which is the sin nature in mankind.
The truth is we don’t deserve anything from God. He doesn’t have to answer any of our prayers. He doesn’t have to work miracles for us. He doesn’t have to consistently entertain us to keep us interested in Him. He is GOD, who created everything around us, including us. He is sovereign and All Mighty. Yet in His abundant grace and mercy, He does love us immensely, cares for us, hears our cries in prayer and provides our needs for us.
I encourage you to read Isaiah 6: 1-5 and get an understanding of how HOLY God is. Then compare yourselves to Him.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
Now visualize yourself in prayer approaching such a God seated on His throne. How do you feel? Proud? Bold? Confident? I didn’t think so…Even the angels in heaven who are holy, never known sin and always been in His presence had to cover their eyes. We see in the book of revelation that when John saw Him, he fell down as though dead. He couldn't stand in God's holy presence. God is too BIG to be limited by man made idols and buildings of worship.
The bible says “No man has ever seen the face of God”. He lives in unapproachable light.
Yet in His abundant mercy and love; He decided to rescue us from our sin and eternal separation from Him. However, because He is just, the penalty for sin HAD to be paid. So God sacrificed His son Jesus for us. He tore the veil that separated us sinful men from His Holy presence and made the way clear for us to enter into His presence. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded to approach this mighty throne of grace with boldness and with confidence. That’s because we normally are not confident and not bold to approach His throne. We can only approach His throne with confidence and boldness because of our faith in what our Lord Jesus has done for us.
Let’s not water down the significance of what Jesus Christ has done for us or who He actually is., by basing our faith merely on signs, wonders, miracles and so called Christian character. He is God, the creator and the very same person we see in Isaiah 6 seated on the throne, living in unapproachable light. Yes, that's Him, our Lord!! He is not someone with long blonde hair whom you can run and hug when you see Him next. Its more likely you will fall as though dead in His presence if He showed up before you.
When we don’t realize our sinfulness in comparison to His Holiness, His magnificence and splendor, we tend to casually approach Him in prayer with an attitude of “it is our right” to get whatever we ask for. We will never be able to manipulate God by praying and conducting religious rituals to get what we want. When we don't realize our sinfulness in comparison to His Holiness, we don't appreciate the free gift of righteousness. The bible says in Luke 7:47, "He who is forgiven much, loves much."
Conversely, a man who loves Jesus much, has realized he has been forgiven much. Such a man's faith in Jesus is simply based on his gratitude towards Jesus. Both for his forgiveness and for his reconciliation to God the Father. Every miracle, sign and wonder is an opportunity to be all the more grateful because he hasn't forgotten that he has been forgiven much. Every miracle, sign and wonder will also then be an end result of "intimacy" with the Father in Heaven and with Jesus.
I thank God for His love because the bible says “He chastises those whom He loves”. If I get chastised, it’s evidence that I’m in His good books. Praise God!!
So I encourage you, let your faith not be shallow based on signs, healings and miracles. Let your faith not be based on anything that Jesus can give you. Let it not be so because you wanted healing for your sickness and couldn't find it with any other god, but Jesus. Let it also not be based on the fact that you enjoy your church, or have good Christian friends or even on the fact that you love listening to a certain inspirational preacher.
Instead let it simply be based on the fact that you need a savior and He is the one. Rejoice in the fact that you are saved. Be glad and content with the fact that you now belong to God and are reconciled to Him. You now have eternal life. You now have God on your side. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Rejoice and seek after intimacy with Him.
Remember Jesus said “Don’t rejoice because the demons are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”. Jesus was glad that He gets to be with us, but we seem to be glad because of the power and miracles we get to see. That ought not to be. We need to rejoice because we get to know Him and be with Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him, despite our sinful nature.
No amount of miracles, healings, signs, wonders and financial blessings can replace the true satisfaction, joy and contentment you get in simple intimacy with Jesus. Signs and wonders will follow those that believe…..not run ahead of those that believe.
So why do you follow Jesus?
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.
True freedom is freedom from self-centeredness. Dying to yourself, your wants, your desires and to what gives you pleasure for the sake of others is more liberating than you think.