Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When No More Proof Is Needed


Today, we're looking at the final temptation in the wilderness. 

Satan's third tactic was to suggest Jesus leap off the temple to "prove" His divinity. He almost certainly hoped for a public debacle and a speedy end to the work of redemption by Jesus's suicidal jump. The tempter goaded Him to prove Himself as the Son of God by a foolish act. 

And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;" (Luke 4:9 NASB)

As if the affirmation by the river had not proved Him the Son of God, or had not been impressive enough, the devil asked for another sign. "Prove it!" the devil dared Jesus. 

Jesus, however, was not sent to do flashy sky-diving tricks at the temple. 

He came in flesh and encountered people where they lived and worked. He became a part of people's lives. Jesus demonstrated a personal relationship with God by His every day encounters. His signs and wonders served as proof enough.

It's a very human response to want proof. As a physician, I want a well designed, double blinded controlled study to "prove" new theories and demonstrate the effectiveness of new treatments. Knowing how easy it is to be deceived, I want to be sure. We all do.

The Christian life, however, requires a radical faith that believes without seeing. In this believing, we find a personal relationship with a loving God who actively involves Himself in our lives. 

Although we don't see Him with our eyes, we can certainly see Him at work in our lives

We don't "see" the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that the Spirit gives us, but we can certainly recognize them when they're there. 

Jesus knew that the work God had already done was manifestation enough. 

He knew that the relationship He came to personalize was enough. 

He knew that the work of redemption He would do on the cross would be enough. 

Enough. 

Enough has been done, and response, not more doing, is required. 

There are days when I want God to do one more thing that will somehow prove His love and concern for me, but that's not faith. Faith accepts the proof that's already been given. Faith participates in the relationship that has already been offered. On God's terms. Not ours. 

We don't need more proof that Jesus is our Redeemer or that His words are true. What we need is to relinquish our desire for self-devised, self-centered proofs of God, and accept the proof He has already given us. When we do, we'll soon recognize the peace and joy (as well as all the fruit of the Spirit) that only relationship with our Lord can bring.
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's blog: Discarding the Real to Have the Fake 

For those who want to do the James study on your phone, here's the link: Lessons in Discipleship
If you'd like to participate in the James study, here's how: More than Enough: Living a Life Worth Living
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