That Looks Like a Good Experience! Trust and Follow Him. – Purity 728
Purity 728 05/11/2022 Purity 728 Podcast
Today’s photo of an outcropping of Rock and a tree that resembles a cross in the foreground of a fantastic view of a forest and mountains in the distance comes to us from a friend who spent Monday evening hiking at the Wilson M. Powell Wildlife Sanctuary in Old Chatham NY where they stated they enjoyed a short hike with amazing views that built their appetite for dinner at nearby Jackson’s Old Chatham House.
Well, it’s Wednesday and I figured my friend’s photo with that outcropping of rock, mountains in the distance, and cross like tree smack dab in the middle of the photo was more than an adequate symbolic representation of “hump” day and what is to be the center of our lives. My friend’s recommendations also are representative of what I try to do here on the blog and podcast which is to provided encouragement and advice to anyone who will listen on how to have a life that is rich in meaning, purpose, and peace.
While I have never been to the Wildlife Sanctuary in Old Chatham or to Jackson’s to eat, I am now very open to the idea of something I was not aware of. I trust what my friend says is true and now it is up to me to decide whether or not I will go and see for myself if the views at the Wildlife Sanctuary are amazing and if Jackson’s is a good place to eat.
This wonder and curiosity about my friend’s experience and my consideration of whether or not I should follow in their footsteps is a microcosm of our entire lives. As we go through this earth we gather information about people, places, and things, and we are challenged to accept or reject the inherent invitation that the information provides.
Is this experience for me? Will I enjoy it? Will this experience benefit me in some way? Is it an experience that is worth my time and efforts?
As we go through life we will gather all types of information from various sources about various experiences and whether or not we choose to accept the inherent invitation that the information provides is whether or not we feel we can trust that A. the experience is something that will provide some benefit and B. if we can trust the source of the information.
Imagining that something is worthwhile or could be beneficial to us is one thing. We can imagine all types of experiences that could provide us with some benefit in theory. The list of possible destinations and activities out there are practically endless but the decision to test your theory based on the information you have obtained and actually decide to put it into practice is another thing.
We have to agree the experience is “good”, have to agree that we want to do it, and then finally trust the information enough to actually plan for and to do the activity or go to the place.
Can we trust the information?
Now whether or not I or you decide to follow in my friend’s footsteps is a risk. Maybe my friend’s idea of “a short hike”, “amazing views” and what is presumably “good food” will not coincide with our ideas, or maybe the circumstances of when we decided to follow our friend’s advice will be different from when they experienced it. The thing is we will never unless we try. And that, our stepping out, with hope, but without knowing for certain, is faith.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
All of our lives are faithful. We are constantly stepping out in faith, hoping for certain outcomes that can’t be certain about. To make life less chaotic, we will usually base our decisions on what we will step out into on trustworthy information.
And can I tell you, that there is absolutely no one we can trust more than Jesus Christ.
While I can tell you about my experiences about walking in the Spirit and following the path of Christian Discipleship, you may not trust me. If you knew me before I came to Christ, I wouldn’t blame you for being hesitant to follow in my footsteps!
But I am not telling you to follow in my exact footsteps, I am merely suggesting that you follow the One who is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11) and who works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called to His purpose. I am encouraging all who hear me speak or that read the words that I write to trust in the Lord God Almighty and to follow the One who He sent to teach us and to save us, Jesus Christ who said:
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
We could all use rest for our souls. Jesus also said, in,
24 …, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
In Christ our lives are saved, as faith in Him produces a new and eternal life. Jesus also said in
12 … "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
Christ leads us out of the darkness into a life of goodness and light. And finally Jesus said in:
31 … "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Rest, Life, Light, and Freedom. These are the things that you will find if you decide to trust the information that Christ has given us. I can honestly testify that this experience, of a life of faith in Jesus Christ, of walking in the Spirit, of following the path Christian Discipleship is an experience that will benefit you. It is an experience that you can enjoy. It is an experience that has meaning. It is an experience that has purpose. And it just so happens that this experience, simply does not end.
But I don’t want you to take my word for it.
Instead I invite you to consider the information that has been faithfully passed on since the time that Jesus walked the earth by others that knew that what Jesus said was true. I invite you to read more of the words of Jesus that you can find in the Bible and to investigate it’s claims.
But after you gather the information, it is my prayer that you will decide to step out in faith and follow where the Lord will lead you. It a process, an experience, that begins with trust and results in life everlasting and abundant joy.
So trust the information I have passed along. I have found it to be true but I have also discovered that its true value is not realized unless we apply it to our lives by living it out day by day. Start or keep walking and talking with God, and you too can share in the joy of passing along the information that can lead others to rest, life, light, and freedom.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
24 The LORD rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity.
Today’s Bible verses encourages us that the Lord will reward our efforts to follow Him.
A parallel verse to today’s verse, in my opinion, would be:
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
When we humble ourselves and start following the Lord by applying His wisdom to our lives, or as today’s verse says, we start “doing right”, the Lord will reward us. He will lift us up!
The Psalmist states that the God will see our innocence, meaning our pure and honest decision to turn from out sin and follow His righteous ways. God sees our hearts. So it’s not about outward appearances or surface level obedience. God sees our sincerity.
And the psalmist indicates that we are faithful to follow God, God will be faithful to us. He will reward us.
If we walk integrity, God will show His integrity and make good on the promises that He makes in His word. The Lord through the prophet Ezekiel:
21 "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.
This Old Testament Scripture shows us that God has always wanted us to follow Him and that He would be merciful to those who did and He sent Christ to restate that desire and to seal our salvation.
In Christ we have the forgiveness of sins and the promise of a new and eternal life, but God still calls us to walk in His ways, to follow Him. And today’s verse echoes the promise that when we “do right”, we will be rewarded. So do right, be faithful, have integrity, because when you do God will show you His faithfulness, His integrity, and you will be rewarded.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
Making Others Glad in God Is a Massive Thing
The second clarification is that gladness in God is not a peripheral religious experience. When I speak of making people glad in God, I have in mind all the saving work that God has done from beginning to end. I am not saying that gladness is the whole of salvation. I am saying that gladness in God is the goal of all saving work, and the experiential essence of what it means to be saved. Without this joy in God, there would be no salvation.
So when I speak of making someone glad in God, I include the plan and grace of God “which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:9). I include the all-sufficient redeeming work of Christ in death and resurrection (Romans 3:24–26). I include the divine work of new birth that gives us a new nature (John 3:3–7; 1 Peter 1:3, 23). I include the God-given change of mind called repentance that turns away from sin and turns to God for help (2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 3:19; 26:20). I include faith in Jesus Christ that embraces him as the Savior and Lord and supreme Treasure of life (Philippians 3:7–9). I include the progressive change into Christlikeness called sanctification (Romans 6:22; 8:29). I include the entire life of love that counts it more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). And I include the total renewal of body, mind, heart, relationships, and society that happens partially in this age, by the inbreaking of God’s kingdom, and then completely at the consummation of God’s purposes in the age to come (Acts 3:21; Romans 8:23).
When I speak of gladness in God, therefore, I mean a gladness that has roots in God’s eternal decree, was purchased by the blood of Christ, springs up in the newborn heart because of God’s Spirit, awakens in repentance and faith, constitutes the essence of sanctification and Christlikeness, and gives rise to a life of love and a passion for redeeming the world after the image of God. Gladness in God is a massive reality planned and purchased and produced by God in the lives of his elect for the glory of his name.
What Then Should We Do?
With those two clarifications, I ask again, what should we do to make people glad in God? What paths of risk and sacrifice should we take in our passion for the supremacy of God in all things, and in our zeal to magnify Christ, and in our single-minded commitment to boast only in the cross? That is what the next chapters are about.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 104–105.