- 08 Apr
We live in a microwave society, don’t we? We know little of delayed gratification and waiting patiently for something. We also find many who are not prepared to put in the hard work but still expect massive results and benefits. “I need it, I must have it, and when… Right now!”
People come to me for a coffee and expect that one cup of coffee will resolve twenty years of marital struggle. When I ask questions like, “Are you prepared to put in the hard work, make some changes and forgive some offenses” there is often a reluctance. “But Andrew, can’t you just give us a formula that will make everything better?”
I have a friend who is a Doctor. He has similar struggles. A patient will come to see him and have a heart and cholesterol problem. When he suggests, eating right, exercise and a change of lifestyle, patients get upset. Can’t you just give me a pill, so I can carry on as I please. He doesn’t say this, but we do joke about it, “A pill is not going to resolve your health issues after your 40-year-old love affair with bacon, chocolates, crisps and beer”
I do baby dedications and often will say to couples, “This is not a magic formula, I am not waving a magic wand and it is not something to tick off on your to do list” I go and challenge them, “This is a commitment to walk out your days serving the Lord and bringing up your child according to biblical values. This ceremony means little of you are not going to follow through.”
Think of all the vitamin adverts we see in media and the promises they make. The quick fix benefits of a multi-vitamins.
No need to change anything in your life just take a – Berocca - Gives you your bounce back… One-A-Day Multivit - A better tomorrow starts today… Centrum – (life will be) Always complete… People want to believe that there’s some magical, all-natural, healthy supplement that they can take that’s going to make them feel and look better without making any lifestyle changes.
I wonder how we respond to this thought? How far are we from living a similar kind of Christianity? Do we think, “Lord I go to church, to life group, I tithe and serve. That my bit, now I don’t want to get any more involved than that and please Lord, don’t ask me to change.”
The only place in the bible that I see God saying “Test me in this” is to do with the subject of Gods provision and the Tithe in Malachi 3:10. “Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” In John, we don’t see the words “Test me in this” from Jesus, but I believe there is a litmus test that is similar to the challenge laid out in Malachi. A litmus test is defined this way - a decisively indicative test
If you want to find out the will of God for your life, the directions are to be found in this John seven passage. Jesus lays out a litmus test for us (a decisively indicative test) When He says, “If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:17)
A wise person once said, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it." Jesus invites you; come and make a test. A litmus test…
It's so easy to sit on the sidelines watching rugby and be a couch potato coach. We love to tell others how it should have been done or to speak our mind without really knowing. It’s easy to criticize the players and the game from the sidelines… “HOW COULD YOU DROP THAT BALL!!” But never get on the field and play the game.
I go to church, read my bible but never really take that step into what Jesus is saying, “If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” That is the wonder of God. If you are willing, God will make His will real to you. And the Holy Spirit will confirm it to you. Do you see it? We look for the will of God in our lives and situations but expect that it will just fall into our laps. Or we will get an email from heaven or a plane will write it in the sky. Some magical moment that is going to change everything without my participation.
There are so many who read the bible, sit and listen to sermons week after week, and they learn and know as much but don’t apply it and live it. However, the change happens as we love, as we go, as we obey, as we seek to live out our lives with kingdom values, being true to what we believe Gods call is, He begins to change things, He begins to reveal things. We begin to see His will and that this whole thing is true.
James Jesus’ brother challenges us his book, saying that the person who only hears and knows the Word soon forgets what he has heard. If we don’t put in to practice what we learn, it soon fades from memory. It is just forgotten, and it never becomes a part of our life.
This happens so often. We hear the Word and are convicted of some defect, some shortcoming, some failure that we need to clean up. But as soon as we walk out, we are distracted by the world and its affairs and we soon forget to do what God told us to do. However, as James encourages us, the person who hears and does the Word of God is blessed – “respond to the truth they hear and are strengthened by it—they experience God’s blessing in all that they do!” (James 5 TPT)
When we do we find that we are free from everything that enslaves us on this earth. We discover God’s will for our lives, love, joy, and peace—a soul that just soars with a sense of as Adam Clarke puts it, “Freedom and liberty, purpose and meaning, security and safety, victory over temptation, joy and rejoicing, assurance and confidence, life over death and deliverance from sin.”
It’s a permanent lifestyle of living this out. It isn’t a one-time deal. Say this prayer and everything is sorted. It is a moment by moment decision to work toward transformation and Christlikeness. Three little girls were talking about their dads. One said, "My father is a doctor, and he practices medicine." Another said, "My dad's an attorney, and he practices law." The third said, "My father is a Christian, but he doesn't practice anymore." There are a lot of dads like that today, and a lot of other people too. John Brokhoff. Pulpit Digest, Mar/Apr 1991, p.66. SOURCE: INFOsearch Sermon Illustrations. A Christian's transformation is not a one-time event or a cause we take up today only to abandon it later. True transformation lasts a lifetime!69
Think of it like a healthy lifestyle and diet. I want lose weight and be healthier. I read about the Keto diet, Banting diet, Blood group diet, Herbalife, Fit for life, Gluten Free, Low-Carb, Atkins, Low-Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian. I join Virgin Active, Walk for life and buy a bicycle.
I can have all that knowledge stored up in my mind, I have the gym membership and bicycle. I can go to the gym and sit and drink healthy smoothies but never do a moments exercise. I can share my knowledge with people. I can teach on it, I can develop a business around it. But unless I apply some of what I have learned in my own life I will not see any results. Unless I go to the gym and exercise, get on the bike and cycle, unless I eat properly, I will not lose one gram of excess weight, my energy levels will not change and my health or lack thereof, will remain the same. If I want to be healthy, if I want to lose weight, I must apply some of the principles I have learnt.
Christianity is the same! The litmus test is Jesus saying, “If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” I can learn the scriptures, come to church but unless I apply what I have learnt and endeavour to live my life according to Jesus’ words, I will not discover Gods will and the reality is that not a whole lot is going to change.
You want your life to change? Chose to do the will of God and see the results. What is Jesus saying to you as you read this, is He challenging you to take the litmus test? “If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” Is He saying to you “Test me in this?”
This is my paraphrase of what James says to us – “If you respond to the truth you are reading, you will be strengthened by it—and you will experience God’s blessing in all that you do!” Will you take the test?