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Friday, February 17, 2012

Living by Faith and Not by Need

Deuteronomy 8 : 1 - 3, "Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. NKJV

In this world, we are conditioned to believe that we must make our own way. Can I tell you that this mindset doesn't liberate people? Rather, it places us in bondage to man. At first glimpse, this lie seems to offer people their independence. Nevertheless, this is the very reason many of us fall prey to the idea of self-sufficiency. Let me remind you that this lie found its first victim in the Garden of Eden. Satan appeared to Eve as a serpent and seduced her into believing that she didn't need to obey God's voice or commands in order to live. However, once they bit into that lie, they soon realized that life was over for them as they had known it.

Since we have been told most of our lives that if we want anything out of this life, we must get out and earn it by the sweat of our brow, we have come to accept it as gospel. Nonetheless, any teaching that excludes God and placing faith in His love and grace will ultimately lead people into bondage of some type. Satan told Eve that life doesn't consist or stem from listening to God, but through the efforts of our flesh.

In the verses from Deuteronomy today, we read that if God's people desired to see good life and be blessed, they would need to listen to His voice and obey it. God went on to tell them that He humbled them by allowing them to hunger so that He might feed them with manna from heaven. It was through this process that God taught His people how to live by faith... not according to their needs.

Many people are more "need- minded" than they are "faith- minded." When a need- minded person comes to God, it is always based on what they desire; it is not based on God's desire for them. This way of thinking leads people to live a cyclical life. We have a term which defines this type of livelihood; it's called the "rat race." However, should we reduce us and our existence down to that of rodents? You may ask, "Who sits around and thinks up all these systems and establishes these terms in which to classify people in order to make them feel less than human?" Satan does!

God doesn't want you to be led around by Satan with a carrot dangling in front of you. God has a plan for your life and your families' lives; His plan is to prosper you and give you a hope. So when we come to God and begin to tell Him ALL about our need, if we stop long enough and listen, we will find God is speaking about something "other" than our need.    

Does this mean that God isn't interested in our needs? No, it is just the opposite; He not only sees our needs, but Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that God already knows that we have need of the things we seek Him for. However, He instructs us to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first. Even so, why does God ask us to seek the Kingdom before we seek for our needs to be met? It is because He wants to break the vicious cycle that Satan has placed the world under through self-sufficiency; His desire is to release us to live by faith, thus pleasing God and not ourselves.  

We have both a body and a soul. If our soul dies, our body will perish. Even so, if our soul is alive because we choose to live by faith in what God is telling us, then our body will also thrive. When Satan lied to Eve about the tree of knowledge, he simply caused her to get things out of proper order. This occurs when we place our needs (self) before God's Word and Will for our lives. Once we humble ourselves and begin to listen to His voice and fulfill His purpose, then the other stuff will begin to follow our righteous acts.  

So the next time a problem or need arises, be careful not to slip into a "survival" mindset and begin demanding God to take care of you and your need. "Murmuring doesn't make for a good outcome with God." Instead, when you come to God believe that He has your best interest at heart; He already knows what is needed in your life. In essence, God is teaching us, as His children, to trust Him... not lean on our own understanding. As we acknowledge Him in our everyday lives, He will direct our steps. However, He won't lead us by dropping bread crumbs for us to follow; He will direct our paths by His Word and His Spirit. I pray this word builds hope, encouragement and faith in your hearts to trust God and begin to take Him at His Word today. He has your back.

Living Life by Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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