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Faith towards God (2 of 7)

Mike Connell

Page 2 of 10
So Jesus made it very clear: He's called us to come into relationship - not into doing lots of things, but into experiencing a love relationship with God, out of which our life is transformed. That's what He offers, so these foundations are the foundations of that relationship.

Notice it doesn't talk about prayer, doesn't talk about fasting, doesn't talk about Bible reading. It's talking about foundations in your belief system. The Bible says that what you believe in your heart, that's the way your life will go. So out of the abundance of your heart, that's where your life flows. Your life flows out of what you really believe; so if you come to church, but in your heart you still believe there's something desperately wrong with you, you will never enjoy intimacy with God; because as soon as you try to become intimate with God, the message of your heart, there is something wrong with me, something not acceptable about me, will come up. The shame of your past activities will come up, and there will be a wall between you, and being intimate with God.

So the tendency for church people is to try to work harder, to be good enough to experience the love of God. We cover over, that we have no real relationship with God, by just trying to do the right things - this is what Jesus did not call us to. Notice this: we're called not only to experience that; we're also called to grow.

Now, in the Bible it talks about this. It says in 1 John, it talks about children, while God has forgiven your sins. Then it talks about spiritual young men, you're strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you've overcome the devil. That means they're in a place now they've grown, matured. They're not having struggles with temptations. They've grown - and then He says: Fathers, you know Him, who's from the beginning.

So the Bible lays out stages or phases of growth. We could be a spiritual child, and it doesn't matter how long you've been a Christian. You could be a spiritual child, childish, continually wrestling with failures, wrestling with shame, wrestling with guilt, wrestling with unforgiveness, wrestling with tormenting thoughts. That is child stuff.

If you're a young man, then you've learned how to confront those with the word of God. You become established in who you are in God, you become strong in the word of God, strong in spirit. Now the devil's not a problem for you. You're not worried about attacks from the devil. You've actually learned how to recognise them and subdue them.

Then you're called to grow from there to become a father. A father is one who knows what God is like, as a Father, and is able to reveal that love to people in such a way their lives are attracted, and they are blessed, and benefit from it. Jesus was a spiritual father to the disciples. Why was He like that? Because He could reveal the love of God, and the nature of God to them.

If we're going to grow to maturity, it's not going to be automatic. We have to lay foundations, and the first foundation we saw was Repenting, or turning from lifeless activities driven by guilt, fear, shame, desire to please, desire to impress, desire to be something. All of those kinds of things - and church is full of it. Society's full of people struggling with lifeless activities. When you get into some situations, you'll notice how dead the atmosphere is - there's no life in it. People are being polite and correct, but you don't feel authentic love flowing - you feel there's something missing there.