Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits

Being faithful to anything or anyone can be rare in the society we live in today, whether it’s a job, a relationship or even this week’s favourite football team. It’s funny how individuals are happy to be with you when things are going their way. They’re happy to be with you when you’re cruising in the Bentley but where were they when you were on the bus?  Even some Christians that have never been in a tight place are happy to praise God but what happens when prayers are not answered by next Tuesday afternoon or funds run low and you’re suddenly demoted to life’s waiting room and wilderness?  It’s a well know secret that some people have not realised that faith and faithfulness is like a muscle that needs to be built up and worked on so that it can be developed. The gym is where this muscle gains strength, depth, durability and maturity.  It’s the place of adversity and nothingness.  
Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow.  Let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete needing nothing (James 1:2-5) 

We must aim to be steadfast and as sure footed as a dear on a mountain top in all our actions; in relationships and associations or we will come up short changed. (James 1:5). If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you; but when you ask Him, make sure your faith is in God alone. Do not waiver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave in the sea and can be tossed by the wind.

I believe we all have faith in something, sometimes the wrong things. Some people have a faith that’s subject to change depending on who or what shouts the loudest.  We often try to avoid the tests and trials of life because we are attracted to pleasure not pain. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Things are not going right at work, so we leave; football team gets smothered, you find yourself on the other side of the stadium; your relationship loses its initial excitement so you start looking around for another one; praise and worship at church seems to be off key this week and you’re not selected to lead the chicken frying committee so you think it’s time to find another church. 

Job was tested and lost all that he had and held close but he was sustained by his faith. It’s the only thing he did not lose and it’s the one thing that sustained him and because of his faith he was rewarded double for his trouble (Book of Job).  Faith that has never been tested really can’t be trusted. (1 Peter 1:7) These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when you faith remains strong through many trials it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. So in all circumstances take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flame darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).

God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).  God will bless those who are intentional about His will.  It’s the Lords wish for our desires to be met through His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) but His desire is also for us to be truly comfortable in Him through the power and strength that is within us.  Sadly lots of people get into relationships, jobs and situations for what they can get out of it instead of what they give to it.

I attend business network groups and our motto is “Givers Gain”.  We look out for who we can help and not who can help us therefore, everyone gets helped.  God wants to help you and wants very little in return but He is looking for true worshipers, those who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  His plan is to prosper you and give you a desired outcome (Jeremiah 29:11). He said if you look for me I shall be found by you.   God’s word says He will bless you just for seeking Him.  It’s like getting paid for just turning up for work! 
Who will not want to serve a God like that?

(Ephesians 3:16) I pray that from His glorious unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your heart as you trust Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong and you may have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how deep and how high His love is.

It brings joy to my heart and a tear to my eyes when I try to imagine that kind of love and what having a true friend in Jesus means. A friend with real benefits. To serve a God who loves me in spite of me. I know that there is no one on earth that would love me in such a deep way and want so little in return. You can search high and low but there is nothing and none like Jesus...If there was, I would have found them. God is faithful even when we are not. Many times I have asked the Lord to create in me a clean heart and wholesome motives because without that prayers goes unanswered. I guess we have to check ourselves and surrender ourselves to God because He has made provision in His Word for all circumstances. He says “If you abide in me, I will abide in you and you can ask anything in my name and you will receive it.” (John 15:7)...WOW...guess what?  He means every word of it. I have experienced it in my own life. God’s promises are real and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28) but you will have to exercise faith. Jesus is a friend to the lost and broken hearted.
A true Friend with Benefits
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