This is gospel coaching session number 4.
Kids have faith and they are focused. Psychology tells us a kid’s behavior is focused on getting what they want. But they often won’t continue any behavior pattern that doesn’t get them what they want. This means if they scream for candy, but only get a pinch on the arm, they will usually stop screaming.
Have you ever thought that this may be why some of our prayers are not answered as we want?
Prayers That Are Focused on Us
If our prayers are only focused on US, and on our wants and desires (like the kid wanting candy), God doesn’t pinch us, but he also won’t play our tactics. It is only when we are consumed with him that he is able to give us the desires of our hearts (Psa 37:4). This is created by living in God’s love that produces faith (Gal 5:6), and gospel belief thant produces a solid foundation in God’s Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15).
The prayer of most Christians is to have a better life (and they want to define this). It is sometimes only by NOT giving us what we desire and pray for that God gets our attention. When HE becomes our focus instead of WE, our motives and our ambitions change.
Jesus came to give us his abundant life. He does this when we believe and live the gospel. Abundant life is knowing the person of God, and his Kingdom process and power within us that is the gospel (Rom 1:16-17). Abundant life is not about attaining something on earth. It is about a Person.
Faith Should Begin and End in God
Our faith is meant to begin and end in God himself, as we’ve seen (Heb 6:1). This is an elementary school lesson that should stay with us forever. But if our focus shifts and WE become the focus (our ambition is to get the candy), then we are off-track and our lives stall out.
Abundant life and faith is realized in knowing God’s faithfulness to us. If our focus is US, we don’t usually think he is being faithful, at least not in the way we want. To us, faith is often trying to get God to be faithful to us in the way we ask him to be. This is by defining good and bad, which is the fruit grown from the FORBIDDEN tree. In the intro, I mentioned I started off in a type of ‘legalistic faith.’ This is part of it.
It’s not wrong to have faith for worldly things. But it is wrong to be in love with worldly things because then we cannot know God’s UN-conditional love (I John 2:15). Thus we cannot have total absolute assurance of our salvation.
We Are All Legalists At Heart
We are legalists at heart. Any lawyer will tell you this. We try to live in ‘a law of ourselves’ (Rom 2:14). This is a review of gospel aspects #1, #2, and #3 in a negative way). We should remember that if things on earth were always perfect, we’d never want heaven.
Our affections should be on heavenly things, not earthly things (Col 3:2). Knowing God’s love is what empowers our faith. Of course we won’t need faith in heaven. Our faith is not intended to INITIATE things, but to RESPOND to things that happen. Remember: “What happens to you in life, as important as it may be, is not half as important as how you respond to what happens to you.”
Success is defined by ACHIEVING things. Kingdom success is defined by our RECEIVING things of God. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these THINGS will be added to you.” Paul asks, “What do you have that you have not received?” (I Cor 4:7).
God Gives Us All Things of His Kingdom
As we saw in Gospel Aspect #2, God gives us all things, even his entire Kingdom, and he withholds nothing from us. He even gives us the Holy Spirit to show us any of his free things we may miss (I Cor 2:12). This is living in All the Light We Do Not See.
Because God gives us all things, there is no need for us to try to achieve things from him, as a legalist does.
“The Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding (gospel truth) so we may (1) know him who is true, and so we may know (2) we are in him who is true” (I John 5:20).
This is where true faith beings and ends. Jesus is the Author and the Finisher, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Anything other than this is not living in gospel truth, but in the darkness and not in the light.
We either live in fear or we live in faith, as we saw. God’s love empowers our faith (Gal 5:6). The love of God is also what extinguishes fear (I John 4:18). Can you see how these coaching sessions on the 10 gospel aspects flow together, work together, and become synergistic and centrifugal?
Faith toward God is a heart faith in him, and in his faithfulness to us, even if we wrongly think in our heart that he is not being faithful to us.
A Metaphysical Type of Faith
Too many people have a metaphysical type of faith – a worldly type of faith, and not a Kingdom faith. It is an initiating type of faith to get what they want from God – usually defined as ‘a better life.’
Our big mistake is in trying to take ‘ownership’ over our faith where we do everything from A to Z to enforce it. We forget that faith is the fruit of the Spirit, not a work of the flesh (Gal 5:22).
God’s desire for us is not always for us to have a better life, but a holy and godly and trusting life.
Correct Belief and Love Produce Confidence
I John 3:21 says, “If our heart does not condemn us, then we have CONFIDENCE toward God.” Then verse 23 tells us how this occurs: (1) we believe on the name of the lord Jesus, and (2) we love one another. This is how to live a life of confidence before God that results in a life of health and prosperity.
III John 2 is a verse most can quote: God desires us to prosper and be in health just as our soul prospers. But few know how their soul prospers, at least in the gospel. III John 3 tells us it is because of. . .
(1) the gospel truth that is in us, and
(2) that we walk and live in that truth.
Don’t forget, John became a disciple of Paul. He was pastor (at least an elder) in the church at Ephesus, which was a church Paul founded. John followed in Paul’s footsteps and copied him when it came to proclaiming the gospel.
Faith Produces Identity in Christ
I Corinthians 5:17 says we are a NCIC (I pronounce it ‘Nick’), is a ‘New Creation in Christ.’ Do you know what this means? It means we are no long simply human. As a new creation we’re a new species — a ‘GodMan.’ By knowing who we are in Christ by means of gospel faith, we allow God to take ownership over us. We become the clay, and allow him to be the Potter.
Will Jesus Find Faith in You?