After two millennia of Christian teaching, we find ourselves still needing to be reminded that it is Jesus alone who offers and provides all of the essentials for life and faith. There have been people who lived by really believing that God will supply all of their needs (one such example is George Mueller). We fondly and proudly speak of such people, yet often fail to see ourselves living by the same rules of faith that these, our spiritual heroes demonstrated - but maybe they had something we don't have!
Sometimes the lack of one essential element makes it hard to see or enjoy the available benefits. Living in the physical world, surrounded by needs that are mostly felt on the physical side of our experiences, this is where we are most aware of how God responds, or does not respond to prayer (prayer being the medium by which people perceive to be in contact with God about their needs). So people search through the Bible for promises that God made (They may even buy a book that contains three hundred and sixty five promises of God), and then in sincere faith set out to "claim" those promises for themselves, because they believe that God "will supply all their needs."
The truth in our physical world is that every illness or disease will not be healed, every bill will not get miraculously paid, every love will not be reciprocated, every intention will not be properly understood - disappointments will come, death will happen, hearts will be broken. So, should God not have made the promises? Far from it! But there is an element that God wants His people to possess in order to properly interpret each particular situation. There are those times when life seems to make no sense, until one draws near to God and looks at life from that vantage point. Being near to God, even the most baffling situations have a satisfactory, peace producing influence. So here's the point:
Every born-again believer has in Christ everything they will ever need to meet any trial or longing or difficulty that they may meet in this life. Even the newest convert has all the resources for every spiritual need. From the moment of salvation each believer is in Christ: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17), and Christ is in the believer: To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). The Holy Spirit takes up residence within as well: However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Romans 8:9) - the Christian becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16).
So this is the first and the foremost of God's promises that we need to latch onto - that upon salvation, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and begins to make sense of life. In the Gospel of John Jesus called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth" who will guide the believer "into all the truth" - and from this perspective life is understood, or accepted even when it doesn't seem to make sense, because the Spirit enables the believer to have faith in God.
Every Christian is a self-contained treasury of spiritual wealth. There is nothing more - no transcendental secret, no ecstatic experience, no hidden spiritual wisdom - that can take the Christian to some higher plane of spiritual life. His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us (2 Peter 1:3). The true knowledge of Him refers to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To seek something more is not to realize that the key to the knowledge of God is in the person of Christ.
Satan has always tried to lure Christians away from the purity and simplicity of an all-sufficient Christ: But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of your devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) - and sadly, the devil has always found people willing to forsake the truth for almost anything that has the appearance of spirituality or wisdom.
So, as children of God, let's cultivate the spirit-filled life and see God's interaction in a much better light. Many of the things that we pray for will be granted - but the things that are not granted will become acceptable, and will serve in some way to cultivate our faith in the all-sufficient God!
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)