By Jesus’ faithfulness
I am currently being evicted from my apartment. Oh, it's happened before, due to layoffs and such. But, this time, I am being evicted because of the deceiving and lying nature of a manager who does not know Jesus. If he did, he would have been more honest in his dealings with my wife and me. But he wasn't, so we now look for another place to live.
Are we worried? No. Are we upset? Yes. Are we despondent, depressed, discouraged, and falling apart at the seams? No. Are we hopeful that God will do something big, and will blow our socks off? The answer is simply yes. Why…because He's done it before. The last two times we've had to move suddenly, God was faithful and had a place ready for us, just at the moment we needed it, because that is the kind of God He is: faithful to supply us with all we need…when we need it.
God will be more faithful to you than even your spouse, best friend, or family member. God will never kick you out of the house (unless He wants you to move to some place where He can use you for His glory). He will never put you down or steal your favorite sweater from your closet. He will never come home late and lie about where He's been all night. He will never tell your innermost secrets to your neighbor over the fence. And He will never, ever abandon you in your greatest time of need. My sister committed suicide last year because her family (other than me and her closest friend) did not come to her aide when her husband died suddenly from muscular dystrophy. For her, it was Satan's faithfulness in wanting to destroy her that won out over her relatively new belief in Jesus. Yes, Satan is faithful, too.
But, unlike Satan, God loves you with a love greater than the universe. His great love for humanity can't let Him do mean things to us, even though there are those who think that every bad thing that happens on this earth comes from His hand, which is not the truth. That is why God sent Jesus to us. We needed to see that God does in fact love us with a love that is never-ending. We needed someone to help us overcome the evil and the temptations of Satan. God's love would not let us do battle in this life alone, so He sent Jesus to reclaim humanity back from the Devil. Jesus accomplished this on the cross, and by His resurrection from the dead, took back what Satan had stolen from God: the souls of every human being that has ever lived, and will ever live, on this earth. Jesus was faithful not only to God by taking on all of our sins for us; He was faithful to all of the prophecies that spoke about Him. Jesus fulfilled each one to the exact letter that was written. Jesus proves His faithfulness to us every time He takes another soul away from Satan and saves that person from the power of sin and death.
Let's look at some of the other ways that Jesus helps us with His faithfulness to us.
Jesus will forgive me of my sins.
The greatest acts of faithfulness that Jesus presents to us is the forgiveness of our sins on the day that we surrender our lives to Him, and give Him all rights to every moment that we spend on this earth to use for His purposes and glory. 1 John 1:9 tells us in a verse of Scripture that puts all other 'religions' to shame when it comes to the simplicity of being forgiven by God: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
How much more simple could it be to be forgiven! Too many religions that say they believe in Jesus say that you have to work your way up to God. You have to say so many prayers each day, do so many good deeds for so many people. You have to be "good enough". We humans have a way of making everything harder, don't we? If Jesus says that all we have to do is confess our sins to be forgiven, they why do we not just do it? Why do we have to add lists of attitudes and certain prayer positions we think we must adopt to "look" pious? Why do we think that we have to say just the right words to get God to see things our way? Why do some of us say the same exact same prayer time after time, as if we want God to memorize our prayer by repeating it to Him over and over? Do we really think that God is pleased when our prayers sound mechanical? Do we really think that it pleases Him to hear us say the same thing over and over, again? We have to remember that God does hear our every prayer, but the ones He responds to the most are the ones that come from a humble heart. God doesn't respond to our pious prayers that sound so religious that even some religious people wouldn't understand them if we told them what we said. No, God responds to the prayers of people who will humble themselves before Him, without bringing anything else to the table but ourselves, our lives, and our problems.
I know there are times when I've come to Jesus with an unclean heart, thinking that he won't hear me because I've brought this sin to Him a millions times before. In my mind I tell myself that He is tired of hearing my pleas for forgiveness of the same sins I that I know I do on a regular basis. Why would He want to forgive me one more time for the same thing? Over and over and over and over, again. But then I have to remind myself that it is not Jesus who is telling me these things…it is Satan who doesn't want me to be forgiven, and wants me to feel guilty and condemned for what I did. That's when I remember that Jesus loves me and will forgive me every time no matter how many times I commit the same sin.
That is the faithfulness of Jesus at work in my life…and in yours. If we come to Jesus and confess our sins, no matter how many times, He is faithful and just to forgive us just as He promised He would, if we put our faith and trust in His work on the cross. Remember, Jesus told Peter that he must forgive others seventy-times seven every day (Matthew 18:21-22). If Jesus told one of His disciples to forgive others that many times, then we can trust that Jesus will do the same thing for us. Remember, Jesus is faithful to His promises…always.
Jesus will never forsake me.
When Jesus promises you something, you can be very sure that He will do exactly what He promised He would do, in His own timing, and in His own way. During your times of suffering and despair, Jesus will be with you every moment and every step of the way. Jesus never said that He would solve your problem your way; for Jesus only does what he hears from the Father, God (John 8:29). But He did promise that He would never leave you, nor forsake you.
In Isaiah 42:16, Jesus said through the prophet, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."
Let's face it. How many of us, in times of suffering and despair are traveling upon unfamiliar paths? If we knew the outcome of our suffering, we wouldn't give despair a second glance. If we knew that Jesus was going to make things right (His way) then we could be joyous during the suffering. Does this mean that we would never have to be sad, or upset, or angry? Not at all! Emotions are not evil. Emotions aren't forbidden by God. Did not Jesus cry when His friend Lazarus had died (John 11:35)? Did not Jesus cry over His people, Israel, before He entered the city of Jerusalem (Luke 13:34-35)? Our emotions were given to us by God. It's okay to feel sad when we are going through tough times; it's okay to get angry at someone who has hurt us, as long as that anger does not cause us to sin (James 1:19-21). It's okay to be upset about losing things in our lives that really mattered to us, as long as those things were not idols we clung to for protection or strength.
Today I am teary eyed because of some new information about my coming eviction. If I say that my trust is in Jesus, do I have the right to be sad about losing my apartment, with no where else to go at this point? By Jesus' example I am. He cried because the occasions were heartbreaking, and when our hearts are breaking we naturally get sad. We are not to deny our emotions because that would be an affront to the God who gave us these emotions. But we must not allow Satan, and our own flesh, to bring us to the point of wanting to sin or hurt others or ourselves. Believe me, Satan will try. But with God's strength, and His leading down those unfamiliar paths, we can overcome the lies of the Devil, because God will bring light into those dark places and will make the rough places smooth. As Jesus says in the last part of the verse above, "These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."
I know without a shadow of a doubt that God will solve my problem in a way that I will not hesitate to accept no matter what the solution may be. Even if that means being homeless, then I still know that my salvation is secure, and that heaven is still my true home, because that's what Jesus promised me (John 14:1-3 (see below)). Will I be happy about being homeless…not at all. But, I will remember who is with me and is in complete control of whatever happens to me. Of that, I will rejoice.
Jesus’ faithfulness gives me hope.
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us to "...hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (10:23). On my own I have no hope. If left to myself, I would quickly fall into despair from not only the pain in my life, but also with having to deal with the pain in my kid's lives, or my spouse's life. There is nothing that I can do to alleviate the fears and frustrations that they may face everyday. Even in their greatest pain I am nothing more than a shoulder to cry on. On my own, I have no real power to bring them the justice they need when they are hurt by another. I can't give them a bright future where nothing bad ever happens to them. And, try as I might, I can't be as faithful as they would like me to be in regards to putting all of my fears and frustrations aside to help them in theirs. If they put their hope totally in me they will find that I will disappoint them over and over again. The Bible says that, without Jesus, we have no hope at all (Psalm 37:9).
All hope, present and future, can only come from the One who can give hope to the hopeless, and faith to the faithless. Hope for the future can only come from the One who knows everything about the future. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Jesus knows your life from start to finish. Jesus knows if you will put your trust in Him before you die. If Jesus knows every second of my life, because He sees my life in a moment of time since He is outside of time, why would I not want to give it to Him?
From my vantage point, I may not see what will happen in the next year let alone the next minute, but Jesus already knows the events of those times, and has plans to prosper me, not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). That doesn't mean that I will never see bad times. Jesus never said that life was fair, and that my life would be a bed of roses. Don't forget, we do live in a fallen world. But when those bad times come upon us, we can have a secure hope in knowing that Jesus has our backs, and that, ultimately, our lives are in His hands. This verse tells us to hold on unswervingly. That means that we are not to be double-minded (James 1:5-8), thinking that Jesus will help us one day, and not really believing that He would the next. You must believe with your whole heart that Jesus knows exactly what He is doing with your life. Even if Jesus allows you to suffer and struggle your whole life, at least you will know that, at the end of your life, there is Heaven to look forward to. Jesus promised us Heaven if we put our faith and trust in Him. His faithfulness wouldn't allow Him to do otherwise.
Jesus strengthens and guards me from Satan.
Jesus has promised to give us the way out of every situation, if we humble ourselves and say that we can't do it alone. For example: temptation. How many of us successfully fight off every temptation of Satan every time he attacks? The answer is: none of us. In our own strength, we will fail every time. Only with the power of God can we avoid and escape the wiles of the devil. If you want to learn to trust Jesus without question, then let Him prove to you through the temptations that you face that He is faithful to help you out of them before you fall. Jesus promised us in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 that "…the Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from the evil one" (NLT). Satan doesn't stand a chance against Jesus' divine power. Satan can only do to you what God allows him to do and nothing more. Satan will be faithful in trying to get you to fall into the temptation, while Jesus is more faithful in lifting you up when you do. Satan is weaker than he thinks.
Jesus has prepared a resting place for me in heaven.
At the end of our suffering, Jesus has promise us a place where we will be free from evil, temptation, and Satan. Even now, at this very minute, Jesus is preparing that place for us. Jesus gives us great hope that, even in the midst of our suffering, there is a better life ahead; one that we all have been looking for since we were born. In one of His many great promises, Jesus boldly tells us in John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
In this verse, Jesus tells us to trust in God and in Him. If we do this then we will become citizens of Heaven, where Jesus is preparing a home for us right now, so that where He is we will be also. As I am, I pray that you are longing to be where Jesus is. Heaven is a place of freedom, peace, long life, no death, and all the food you can eat. Try and find any of those things in abundance here on this earth and you will be searching for a long time. Even while you are here on this earth, Jesus says to not let your heart be troubled, and to trust in Him. The trust of man leaves us wanting. The trust of Jesus gives us everything we need to live and to love.
Jesus remains faithful
Do you see a re-occurring theme here? The faithfulness of Jesus is the bedrock of the Christian's life. If Jesus were to be unfaithful in any area of His promises to us, we would fall away and not follow Him. If your spouse were unfaithful to you in just one area of your marriage, would you be able to trust them with any other part of your marriage? How many of us don't trust others after they had done something to deeply hurt us, no matter what that something was? I still have a lot of trouble trusting men after being sexually abused when I was a very young child.
Building trust takes a long time after a hurtful incident. The wonderful thing about Jesus' faithfulness is that you can trust Him from the outset. He always keeps His promises no matter what we do. If Jesus refused to fulfill just one of His promises to us, He would be denying Himself as God, which is something He cannot do because it is not in His nature to renege on His promises. As the Apostle Paul put it so eloquently to his spiritual son Timothy, "This is a true saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself" (2 Timothy 2:11-13/NLT).
Remember, suffering is a part of living in a fallen world where evil is in some control about what happens in it, with it, and to it. Jesus never said that we would be free from evil in our lifetimes. Also remember that the Son of God was not spared suffering in His time here on the earth. Jesus went to the cross in faithfulness of His promise to redeem His people (Titus 2:14). Jesus came into this fallen world to set things right, and to take away evil's power to do whatever it wants without permission.
The whole of Scripture, throughout the entire Bible, God speaks of sending someone to bring His people back to Him. That someone was Jesus Christ. Before time began Jesus chose to go to the cross. As early as the Book of Genesis, God told Satan that He would be sending someone to crush his, Satan's head (Genesis 3:15). Thankfully for us, Jesus kept His promise and was faithful not only to God, but to Himself and us, as well. If you are looking for someone in whom you can put all of your trust, make it Jesus. He will never let you down or forsake you. Let the faithfulness of Jesus give you a living hope and a peace you cannot get anywhere else. He promised He would, and He is faithful to fulfill it.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved."
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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