Maybe you, like me, were inclined to believe that we are to express thankfulness toward God whenever something good, in our view, has happened to us. That is not wrong an attitude in itself, however, where is our gratitude when God allows bad things in our sight again (!), happen to us as well? 🤔
I have come to know several people over the years who usually express thankfulness as they discern a glass half-full and not half-empty. Nonetheless, it is not necessary to be a Christian to be able to do so. It is a matter of personality alone that decides whether we have to do with an optimist or with a pessimist. Indeed, it is nothing but innate thinking and behavior of our old nature that makes people appear as if they were Christians. Bold words, huh? 🙄 If you happen to read my blog more often, you might presume that I primarily point to the social gospel type of Christian here, people who work hard for the Lord in their own and other people’s view. However, they have never come to know Jesus on a personal and intimate level themselves. All they know about God was what they read and heard and saw other ‘Christians’ do. Our Lord will make it clear one day what the difference between those who were known and famous Christians in this world and those who were unknown nobodies, yet being known by God, will be.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Mt 7:21-23 ESV)
But today I want to go one step further. My observation over the years was that some people who left Christendom and also eventually left Jesus Christ behind had, from the outside, solid reason to do so. In fact, not knowing the difference between soul and spirit myself, I struggled several years to discern the right from the wrong Christian (spirit). If you have come to know a lot of harshness and rudeness in Christian circles, you will be drawn toward more loving and kind people. If these, then, are no Christians, you might wonder how this could be possible. God is love, they say, and there are people who are loving, even more loving than Church Christians at times… Since the devil does not sleep, he will put in great efforts to push the doubting believer into other religions or esoteric where the love bombing type of personality plays Satan’s devilish game of deception through exhibiting a phony sort of kindness.
Dear brothers and sisters, unless we have been freed from needing other people’s approval toward all we do, say or write, we will fall prey to deception again and again. If you and I want to be approved or even admired by people, we are in big danger of submitting to THEIR spirits more than to God’s. This is particularly difficult if we have to do with loved ones. Nonetheless, we are only brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ as we really follow HIM by carrying our crosses daily and ask for God’s will in our lives in any given situation. I admit that it is sometimes both exhausting and not easy to find out God’s will. However, He will see us through even if we fall at times. Mistakes included, God convicts us of having done the wrong thing until we finally set it right. It is anything but fun to feel the burden He puts on our heart and spirit as we have drifted into the wrong direction. But, dear reader, it is much better than to believe that we always hear God’s voice properly and are never convicted because we have unknowingly submitted to Satan.
T. Austin Sparks said,
There is a difference between being strong in ourselves and standing up in a crisis and emergency and setting our teeth and saying we will see the thing through, we are not going to be beaten, and being strong in spirit. The difference is an experimental one almost impossible to set forth in teaching. But you can know, and if you have that understanding with the Lord that He will make the cross good in your own life, and bring you to the place where in your spirit, the forces of hell and earth no longer have power over you. The measure in which we live the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus is the measure in which Satan has lost his power. As we go on to that side, we have come to the place of strength.
May God help us to discern His voice from all others that close in on us every day. Amen.