Tempting God versus Trusting Him

The idea of “tempting God” has always been an interesting one for me. Growing up in a religious setting, hearing traditional teaching, I was always told that tempting (or testing) God was a bad idea, and it was a sure way to get yourself hurt.

Of-course being a younger child (physically and spiritually), this made me apprehensive about asking God for anything or trusting Him. After all, how could I truly be certain that I wasn’t testing Him with my request? No-one ever really explained it. And as I grew-up in these same religious environment, any time I tried to reach out in faith and trust God for things, someone would come along and say “Now brother, don’t go testing God!” – and it would reignite that fear all over again.

But what does it actually mean to “test” or “tempt” God? Does it mean we can never believe Him? Does it mean we can never rely on or trust Him? We’re going to talk about this today. Let’s get started!

Don’t Sleep With the Enemy

A phrase that is often heard (at least in the United States) is “Don’t sleep with the enemy” – it’s a phrase of advice, and it is basically advising against maintaining a friendly relationship with an adversary, or someone on an opposing side.

It’s good advice, not only for the physical world, but for the spiritual realm as well. In-fact there is a very interesting example of just such an occurrence happening in scripture, and through it, we can see an amazing truth and a wonderful picture of Jesus, and what we have today in Him. That is what I want to share for you today in this study.

Keep Your Hope High in Christ

One of the biggest areas of doubt for many people is a lack of hope. And as we have studied in the past many times, I am not speaking of hope as the world understands it to be, but I am speaking of spiritual hope, Biblical hope.

You see, worldly hope is like a wish, a dream, something that you don’t really expect.
Whereas spiritual hope, is a confident expectation.

In the Bible, when you see the word “hope” – especially in connection with Christ, it is always the spiritual kind of hope, the confident expectation of good.

For many people, their confidence is constantly being attacked and challenged. Their hope is always being pressed by situations, circumstances, thoughts and feelings. The world even likes to say “don’t get your hopes up!” – and that same sentiment has infiltrated churches as well.

I have been in many churches, where I have shared with my Christian brothers and sisters that I was believing for a miracle, and they would respond with something along the lines of:
“Yeah! That sure would be great… but don’t get your hopes up.”
“Absolutely! That would be amazing! But I can’t count on it.”

What I want to share with you today, is why you should go ahead and get your hope up, and also keep it up in Christ Jesus. And how by having a proper perspective through the lens of the finished work of Christ for you, you can stand against these attacks against your hope, and show others to do the same.

Who’s Your Daddy?

There are literally millions of people who claim to believe in God, and Jesus Christ. Millions of people claim to be part of a vast spiritual family, and claim to be brothers in Christ. The question that I want to pose to you today in this study, is the one in the title… Who’s Your Daddy? Do you know who your daddy is? Do you know His character? Do you know His love? Are you simply existing in a spiritual family that you don’t really know… and if so, what can you do about it?

I had a conversation recently with a person who claimed that they didn’t really know what the will of God was… they didn’t really know what He would do (this happened to be in regards to healing, but the same could be applied to anything really) – this seemed strange to me, because if you have a close, personal, intimate relationship with someone, you get to know them, and you get to know their character and how they respond to things. If you see a couple that has been married for a long time, you find that they know one-another so well that they finish each-others sentences!

So what I want to share with you today, are some things about the character of God, the way in which He has revealed Himself, and how you can get to know Him in a more personal way.

Jesus is the Source of Your Confidence

Do you have confidence? I’m not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. Many people today just aren’t sure. They aren’t sure of God, they aren’t sure of His motives, they aren’t sure of His intentions, nor His character. Many people are afraid that God will strike them down. And they are afraid to ask God for help or provision or just plain fun because they are afraid that He will think they are being greedy or unholy. And then when they do manage to find the courage to ask God for something, they are on shaky ground, because they mostly expect Him to deny their request for a variety of reasons – from God trying to teach them a lesson, to having sin in their life – basically any reason mankind can come up with as an excuse for God not granting their request.

This kind of thinking about God has caused a lot of pain over the years. It is easier for our natural mind to assume the worst about God, than to see a God that actually wants to grant our requests. Our default mindset is “We can ask God, but don’t get your hopes up!”

However today I want to share with you the truth about God straight from the scripture regarding this issue. Not what man has said about God, but what He says about Himself. And the truth may surprise you.

God is Willing and Able

Have you ever faced a situation in which you absolutely needed the assistance of God? A situation where there was no hope or no way out other than divine intervention? Maybe a health issue, or a financial crisis? I have faced such situations, and let me tell you that is when doubts come from all directions. Not only do doubts come from your own mind, but also some well-meaning (and sometimes not so well-meaning) church-folk as well. And it’s interesting to notice in my discussions with people, that the majority doubt not only God’s ability to help, but especially within the church body, they doubt His willingness to do so. For many this has become a convenient excuse, saying: Oh, I know that God is able to help me, but He may not be willing!

That’s why in this study today, we will be examining the truth of scripture, that God is both perfectly able and also perfectly willing to help us. The more that we see of His love and His attentive compassion towards us, we will be able to confidently rest and freely receive the provision which He freely gives.

Jesus Fulfilled the Law in You

I have had many talks with believers over the years, many of whom are at different places in their relationship with Christ. Even so, there is one issue that seems to be brought up again and again… and that is this inner-desire or perceived need to fulfill the Law. These people feel as though the Law somehow remains unmet or unsatisfied and that they are left to fulfill it themselves, and that to not do so, disappoints God or shows Him disrespect.

Another commonly held belief is that by attempting to keep or fulfill the Law, we are showing gratitude toward God for what He has done. However both of these ideas are simply avenues by which the Old Covenant is being reintroduced – placing new wine back into an old wineskin, which Jesus said cannot be done in Mark 2:22. This desire to fulfill the Law ourselves, is erroneous because it fails to recognize the finished work of Jesus Christ for you and in you. This is what we will be studying today.

Your New Nature: Purified in Christ

Each year around the time of New Years Eve, people resolve to make resolutions… promising that they will do better, try harder, accomplish set goals and generally improve themselves. Usually these same people, around this time (three months after New Years) will have already broken every single resolution, with many not even lasting through January! This same pattern of promising resolutions and failing shortly after also goes on with believers – not just at New Years, but all-year-round. It’s a vicious cycle of condemnation leading to destruction that often stems from a chapter in the Bible that was actually intended to free us from such condemnation!

Our study today is going to be on this very misunderstood chapter, looking at the common misconceptions surrounding it, and also of course we will be examining what it actually means for us in Christ Jesus today.

The LORD Goes Ahead of You

Have you ever worried about a future event? An expression often used is feeling as though we are “in the path of an oncoming train.” As humans, we tend to project into the future – and we usually envision the worst outcome However as believers in Jesus Christ, we should have a different hope and a different mindset.

The Bible tells us that even though things may seem bleak and we will have pressures of life come upon us, we have access to divine information and a divine source of help which very few have been drawing from, or even been aware of. This is what we will be studying today.