Psalms 37:1-2 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
There is a difference between being fearful and fretful. Being fretful happens when a person becomes angry. The passage teaches us to avoid becoming angry toward God when we watch evil prosper. Sometimes it is hard to live our lives for the Lord and make sacrifices, all while watching lost people live like the devil and get everything they want. Sometimes it looks like God is blessing the wicked and placing burdens on His own children. This perspective can cause the believer to murmur against the providence of God. God reminds us to avoid fretting over these issues.
As believers, we have to maintain a heavenly perspective. We have to remember we are not living for this world but the world that is to come. We have to keep our eyes on the Lord and not on our circumstances. The material possessions, the worldly gain, and social achievements of those that live wicked and worldly lives are very short lived. It may be good to keep in mind that Satan does a very good job of using these things to keep wicked people comfortable. It is very difficult for an uncomfortable person to need anything from the Lord. Also, keep in mind that the Lord keeps us in tribulation to help us realize our need for Him.
During these moments of fretfulness we need to apply three key disciplines:
- We need to Depend upon the Lord: We are told to trust the Lord and lean not on our own understanding. Our dependance upon the Lord is key to maintaining peace. The difficulty we encounter in this life propels us to a state of dependance upon the Lord. We have to keep trusting God even when things do not make sense.
- We need to Delight in the Lord: Much of the time our desires do not match our delight. Maybe the reason the Lord cannot give us the desires of our heart is because our heart is is not delighting in the Lord. Much of the time our delight and our desires are not in line with the Lord’s will.
- We need Devotion to the Lord: The passage calls us to a place of commitment. We have to commit ourselves to the Lord. We have to mentally, spiritually, and emotionally determine that we are going to commit to God no matter what we have or do not have.
These disciplines help us come to a place of rest. It replaces murmuring with silence in the Lord. It allows us to come to a place of where we are able to be still and know that the Lord is in control.
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
We often highlight our relationship with the Lord without even mentioning the Lord’s relationship with us. We emphasize how important it is that we know the Lord on a personal level without even realizing the importance of the Lord knowing us on a personal level. One of the greatest aspects of salvation is determining whether or not the Lord “knows” us on a personal level. We speak of relationships and forget that they are two-way streets. While it is important to “know” the Lord, it is more important that He “knows” us.
The passage speaks of this statement being a “seal”. The term is securing as well as preserving. The Lord knows those that are his. He knows us by name. He knows our thoughts, our faults, our weaknesses, our failures, our anxieties, and our strengths. We need to realize as Christians of the power of this one statement. If we belong to God then God knows who we are and where we are at all times. There are a lot of people in lofty positions that would not have a clue who we were. Mention my name to the Lord, the king of Kings, the Creator of this Universe, and He knows us by name. His ever watching eye came by to check on us today. He spoke to us in an eternal love language that Webster would not have the words to describe.
There is joy in this truth. There is peace in this truth. Please understand that we can struggle with our minds and our hearts but the Lord does not. His knowledge of us is without question. The way this passage reads sends reassurance to the spirit of every Child of God. The Master knows those that are His!
Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
This passage speaks of being able to identify a good tree from a bad tree. The comparison between a good tree and bad tree is made between those that are saved and those that are lost. God says to examine ourselves. What are we looking for throughout this examination process? We are examining the fruit. We have to be careful that our salvation is not determined by our works but by our fruit. What is the difference between works and fruit? If we are basing our salvation on works alone then we are looking at what we are doing rather than looking at what Christ has done in our lives. The concept of fruit comes from the inside and becomes visible on the outside. Fruit is produced from an inward work. The spiritual fruit of the Christian comes from the work of Christ on the inside. We have to remember that faith produces work, but work does not produce faith.
What does this fruit look like within our lives? When a self examination takes place what are we suppose to see, feel and experience? The key to all of this is found in scripture. The Bible addresses the “fruit” of the Spirit. If the Spirit is present in our lives then we will definitely see love, joy, peace, meekness, long-suffering, temperance, gentleness, goodness and faith. The thing about the “fruit” is that it is constantly at war with the flesh, which means that there are times in our lives when the fruit of the Spirit is not as evident because we are not cooperating with the work of the Spirit. If we are examining our lives at the times we give in to the flesh then we will be in a constant struggle with our salvation. The Lord has given us some principles to apply that will help us confirm within ourselves that He lives within our lives. Here are some principles to apply when examining fruit:
- Is there evidence of repentance? Luke 3:8 tells us that we should be bringing forth “fruits” worthy of repentance. We must ask ourselves the question of whether or not there is evidence of real genuine repentance. We must determine whether we see a turning from our sin and turning toward Christ. The fruit worthy of repentance is not just examining whether there has been just one moment where you have repented but is there evidence that you are still repenting? Is there evidence that God is still molding you and shaping you into His image?
- What is your attitude toward the world and its philosophies? 1 John 2:15 says that if we love the things of the world then the love of the Father is not in us. I truly think this is a major principle that must be examined. I have discovered that there is a lot of people that want to go to Heaven but they want to be able to keep the ideology of this world with them along their journey. We cannot embrace Jesus and then embrace the carnality of the world’s philosophies at the same time. I have no doubt that there are times where our flesh wants to draw us toward the things of this world. At the same time, there must be a greater desire for the things of God rather than the things of this world. Do you find yourself trying to embrace carnality? Do you find yourself trying to manipulate the Bible to fit your lifestyle instead of making your lifestyle fit the Bible?
- Do you have a desire for fellowship with God, with Christ and with fellow believers? Read 1 John 3-4. The things that bring a fullness of joy within the Christian is fellowship with God, with Christ, and with fellow believers. If a person does not desire to have a walk with God or have a desire to spend time with fellow believers then something is not there. When I gave my life to Christ there were two things I wanted to do automatically: fellowship with God and go to Church. The cool thing is that Church gave me an opportunity to fellowship with both God and believers. It is not a matter of whether we are doing these things, but do these things bring us joy? Are we doing them out of obligation or desire?
- Is there an inner witness of the Holy Spirit? 1 John 4:13 confirms to us that those that dwell in Christ will have the Holy Spirit living within them. You are probably asking yourself how you can know whether or not you have the Holy Spirit. Would you know if someone moved into your house? Would you know if someone decided to start living in your room? If you would realize when a new person moved into your house then you would realize it when a new person has moved into your heart. Trust me, if the Holy Spirit is living within you then you will know it. He is not quiet and is constantly moving.
The most simple thing for us to do in order to find this assurance is simply ask the Lord. There are many today living in religion but have no relationship with the Lord. It is time we operate in the real power of God. It is necessary to examine ourselves and see if there is fruit worthy of repentance.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
How does a person know that they are truly born again? The first thing that a person must realize is that the only two people who can verify an inward salvation is themselves and the Lord. The most important verification we need is from the Lord. It is also important that we ourselves possess an assurance regarding our own personal salvation. Our assurance gives us confidence to go deeper into our relationship as well as elevate our service and sacrifice unto the Lord.
This verse teaches us that we must take a present examination of ourselves in order to determine whether or not we have been found in the faith. So much has been made of making decisions that we overlook the biblical principles surrounding a person’s assurance. I believe we have placed too much stock in a decision that was made, or prayer that was prayed that we have overlooked the fact that God tells us to examine ourselves at this present moment. A good tree will bear good fruit. Instead of looking at something we “think” we did in the past we need to look at fruit we “know” we see right now.
God does not want His children to walk around without assurance. He wants us to live with the security of knowing we belong to him and that He belongs to us. There is something wrong when a person lives in such a state of carnality that he/she is constantly questioning whether or not they are saved. When these questions come about we need to make sure we examine ourselves in light of scripture. Stop getting the thoughts of others. We have to stop comparing ourselves by ourselves or by the lifestyle of someone else. Compare yourself to scripture. God will confirm it or deny it. Please take some time and examine yourself.
John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
One of the greatest chapters throughout scripture is John 10. It identifies God as the Good Shepherd. It also identifies God’s children as “His” sheep. The key to understanding the chapter is to understand that God compares the relationship He has with His children as that of a shepherd and his sheep. God’s children can hear his voice. God also “knows” His children and His children follow Him. The relationship is one in which the shepherd speaks directly to His sheep and the sheep follow in obedience.
There is something significant that is mentioned in verse 28 that needs to be highlighted. The Lord not only speaks directly to His children, but He gives them eternal life. Eternal life brings with it a promise. It is the promise of eternal security. We can often get bogged down in that concept of eternal security but there are some principles indicated in this passage that needs addressing. Primarily, we need to understand that eternal life is a work of God and not a work of man. Therefore, man has no ability to remove it. God is the one who gives eternal life. If eternal life could be removed then we would need to remove the word “eternal”. Another principle to bring to light is the realization that eternal life means we will never perish. The word “never” solidifies the concept of perishing just like “eternal” solidifies the concept of life. The key principle to apply in this passage is those that are in Christ are also secure in Christ.
It is important to remind us all that eternal security only comes through the experience of eternal life. Eternal life means that we have been given a new life in Christ. Eternal security does not give us the ability to continue to operate in worldliness or wickedness. The continued practice of a sinful life does not support the experience of eternal life. Eternal life means we have entered into a relationship with Christ. It means that as our Good Shepherd he will fight for us, and no man will be able to prevail enough over us to remove us from the hand or the protection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is amazing to consider what abilities the believer would be able to demonstrate if we walked in this truth. If we only realized our security in Christ it would give us a sense of reckless abandonment that would send us out to do some of the most extraordinary things. Oh, to operate in this gift!
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
It is clear through scripture that Jesus Christ is the avenue by which we experience eternal life. Everyone wants to experience heaven, but the concept of eternal life is foreign to most. Heaven is the place where eternal life will continue after life here on earth has ended. Eternal life begins when Jesus is embraced and trusted as Savior and Lord of a person’s life. Heaven is the destination, but eternal life is experienced when we have a saving “knowledge” of God through Jesus Christ His Son.
There are a lot of people that want to go to Heaven, but they do not want Jesus to get involved. They want the destination, but they do not want the change that eternal life brings with it when Jesus is accepted. There is usually an acknowledgement of Jesus, but the life change never occurs. People turn to Jesus because they have fear of death, but they do not turn to Jesus because they want to experience eternal life. People need to understand that when they turn to Jesus for salvation he does not rescue us from our sin and walk away. He gives us eternal life through His own life. Again, eternal life is not in a place but is experienced in a person.
Eternal Life begins when a person is born again into the family of God. Some would say that we have to wait to experience Heaven, but the reality is that the Christian has the ability to experience Heaven now. We truly can have our best life now. However, let me be clear when I say our best life now is not found in wealth, material gain, or social status. Our best life now is discovered when eternal life is experienced through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is Life Eternal!
1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Eternal life is located in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. When God gave Jesus to us, he was also giving us an opportunity to experience eternal life. The determination of whether we have eternal life or not comes down to whether we have Jesus or not. If you have Jesus then you have life and if you do not have Jesus then you do not have life. God presented this truth to us so that we could walk in the security of eternal life’s promise. God does not want us to just think we have eternal life, he wants us to know we have eternal life. Those that believe on the Son of God should “know” that they have eternal life. It is not a “maybe so” or even a “hope so”. It is a “know so”. It is through “knowing” (experience and encounter) Jesus that we have the ability to “know” (personal relationship) Jesus, therefore giving us the ability to “know” (assurance) we have eternal life.
One of the great obstacles of every Christian is the assurance of their salvation. This is partially due to the fact that we live our lives with such a shallow relationship with Jesus Christ that our confidence is blocked by our carnality. The deeper the relationship with Jesus becomes the stronger our assurance in eternal life becomes. Eternal life was not meant to be temporary, it was meant to be eternal and everlasting. We have to learn this principle because it is what gives us confidence to face this ever-changing world. The enhancement of evil and the demonic spirit that is operating during this time requires Christians to be secure and assured of the life they possess in Jesus Christ.
You may be thinking at this time: “How can I know this?” The answer to this question is simple. You either have Jesus or you do not have Jesus. The question must be asked regardless of how much time you have spent in Church. It is not about having a head knowledge, it is about having a heart knowledge. It is not a religious experience but rather a relationship experience. Trust me, you cannot have an encounter with Christ and not know it. When Jesus Christ moves into our lives he makes dramatic changes. The question now is: Do you have Jesus? If you do then you have eternal life. If you have eternal life then you are armed with something that makes a believer very dangerous. Can you possibly imagine what life would look like if we truly believed that we are never going to die?
John 3:14-16 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
If a person wants to experience eternal life then they must look to Jesus. The experience of eternal life only comes through Jesus Christ. There is no greater blessing than to experience new life through our Lord Jesus Christ. Looking to Jesus means that we must believe on Jesus. We must render ourselves totally helpless and look toward Jesus for salvation. When a person does that they are saved. The word “saved” is thrown around a lot, but I do not believe we truly know the depths of what it actually means. To be saved means that we have been rescued from the sting of death and the grip of the grave. Destruction is no longer the destiny for the Child of God. It is through the salvation experience that God gives us a powerful promise. God promises that those that believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
The promise of eternal life begins at the moment we trust Jesus. It is also a promise that extends throughout eternity. Please read what the verse says: we will not perish. In other words, he is saying we will never die. Life, for the believer, does not end at the casket. While the mortal body is laid in the ground we must realize that it was just a shell and the believer will live on.
A sobering reality for all of us is that everyone will live for eternity in one of two places. A person will live throughout eternity in Hell because they refused to look toward Jesus, or a person will live for eternity in Heaven because they made the decision to look to Jesus. Will your destiny consist of eternal damnation or will it consist of eternal life?
If you read this and would like to know more about this then please contact me. I would be glad to discuss this with you.