"Ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 20–21).
As I read these verses in Jude, I heard the Spirit quietly whisper to me: "David, I want you to enter the fullness and joy of my love. You have the theology right. But you haven't yet experienced the true rest of soul that comes with keeping yourself in my love. Up to now, you've only been in it up to your ankles. There is a whole ocean of my love for you to swim in."
Elijah had just done the miraculous. He had singlehandedly confronted the 400 prophets of Baal and defeated them. God had given his prophet a powerful victory. Elijah was seeing amazing things from heaven being supplied to his life and ministry.
One way God speaks to his children is by asking them questions. We see him doing this throughout both Testaments of the Bible. And the way he poses his questions exposes the thoughts of the heart. For example:
Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18).
When Christ said this, he was addressing his disciples just before he went to the cross. He had gathered his chosen ones for a last moment of communion before being crucified.
What a sad, sorrowful lot these men were. Their sole source of comfort on the earth was being taken from them. Jesus was their guide, their teacher, their joy and peace and hope. And now he was physically leaving them.
The Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:31–32).
When Jesus walked the earth, he knew all too well about the fierce powers of evil. Satan came with every weapon in hell to sift Christ's disciples. And he came to tempt Jesus, too.
We are called to provide for our families. We have jobs, careers, and we face financial problems—but we must trust God for all direction. This entire message is about binding ourselves to his leading.
I want to tell you about a deeply significant experience in my walk with the Lord. It became a spiritual milestone for me. And I believe it's a lesson that speaks directly to what the church of Jesus Christ needs today.
We all have a high calling from the Lord. And at various stages of our lives, he has set before us a preordained plan we are to fulfill. Moreover, God promises that if we act in faith, trusting him, he will bring that plan to fulfillment.
Yet this isn't always easy. As everyone who has walked with Jesus for any length of time knows, following his high calling means we're going to meet obstacles. And one of the most common obstacles is the skeptic's voice. As we seek to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land, we'll hear every kind of voice telling us not to go.
"He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (Psalm 18:16–19, my italics).
I want to talk to you about the subtle danger of a tendency common among many Christians. On the surface this tendency may seem harmless, but in reality it can cause shipwreck. I call this dangerous tendency the practice of "taking a step in the right direction."
Now, it is always good to take a step of faith when we have placed our trust in Christ. As a minister of the Lord, I applaud that kind of step. Yet the Bible shows us there is great danger if we don't follow up that first step with increased faith.