Can God be our best friend?

Aaron Budjen has a really interesting take on Proverbs 20:27; the insight he reveals is unique, and as always with Aaron, his teaching points us directly to the heart of God; to a closer relationship with our Savior.

I’ve never heard any other Christian pastor teach the way Aaron does, and this is especially seen in his take on Proverbs 20:27 — you can listen to his teaching on this verse found here.

Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.”

His heart? Whose heart? In his radio broadcast (linked above), Aaron explains that “his heart” is referring to the heart of God. And that our born again spirit — “the spirit of a man” — has been created as a lamp that can shine light into the very heart of our living God. Our spirit is the part of us that is brand new, the part of us where our God resides, the part of us that was resurrected from the dead (we were spiritually dead in our sins and trespasses, and God has made us alive together with Christ; Eph 2:4-5).

Our God wants us to know Him and He has given us the ability to “search all the inner depths of His heart.” This verse in Proverbs shows us that this is the way that God intended for us to relate to Him. We relate to Him by growing to know Him. We grow to know Him as our spirit searches and reaches out for the depths of His heart.

We are encouraged in the Bible to grow to know our God. Think of the words of Peter telling us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Our goal as born again believers in God is to grow and mature in the knowledge of Him, Jesus our God.

When people look at me, they see my “outer man,” my flesh, my shell, my tent, my “jar of clay.” But the REAL me is on the inside, the “real me” is my spirit. To get to know my spirit would take some effort on your part, it would take some time, it would take patience. Most people don’t know the real me, and if you think about it, you will probably agree that the majority of people that you interact with do not intimately know the true, inner part of who you really are.

The same is with our God. He does want to be our best friend, and I can testify that He is my best friend. This has taken effort; this has taken time; this has taken patience. But as I have grown in grace, as I have come to understand all that I have been given in the New Covenant, in my inheritance in Christ . . . I have grown to know how gracious He is, I have grown to actually know the heart of Jesus Christ. I know Him better than I know anyone else. He truly is my closest and best friend.

This has been made possible because he has created my spirit to be like a lamp, like a light that can shine into the innermost parts of the depths of my God. He has revealed His goodness to me, and I can attest that He truly is the best thing that there is in this universe.

Please check out the audio message by Aaron that I linked above. I’ll share it again here. This is completely 100% possible: God CAN become your best friend.

Let me know your thoughts and if you can say with me that God is your best friend.

Must faith be accompanied by works?

Forgive me, Father, I have sinned; it has been four months since my last blog post.

Just kidding!  . . . About the asking for forgiveness part.  Not kidding that it’s been four months since I’ve written anything here.  My personal life has been overwhelming and consuming and causing much anxiety — a ‘down-cast heart.’  I have simply not had the energy to blog.

But God is active and living and He is ever-present, dwelling in my innermost being, as I live through the storms of life.  Though the world may slay me, yet will I praise Him.

So, getting to the point, must faith be accompanied by works?  . . . Of course not!  We are saved by grace through faith, and we are sustained each and every day by His grace through our faith; through our trust in Him; our resting in the work He has already accomplished.

But what about the book of James?

But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? (James 2:20, NASB)

Gee, thanks for the encouragement, brother James.

No, sorry.  He got that part wrong.  Faith is IT.  Sola fide.  We are justified by faith alone.

The five chapters of the book of James are filled with things we must do.  There is not one mention of the death or resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  No mention of the divinity of Jesus.  No mention of our forgiveness or justification by faith.  James believes we are justified by works.

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, NASB)

Did you know that the book of James was ABSENT from the first list of New Testament books known as the Muratorian Fragment.  James’ epistle was not confirmed as a book of the Bible, included in the canon of the New Testament, until the fourth century A.D.!  James was added to the Bible in AD 367, after the creation of Roman Catholicism!

Yet there is an excellent argument to be made concerning the fact that including the book of James in the Bible is important because it illustrates the differences between Paul and James, between a life of faith and a life of works. (Click here for a Bible Study by Living God Ministries on that topic.)

Sure James makes some good points, such as “if you stumble at one part of the Law of Moses, you are guilty of the entire thing.”  But, mainly, when I read the book of James, I think, “Man, he’s a raging legalist!”

I’m thankful that I have been set free from a life of works.  I am thankful to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus; a life where I am free to walk in the Spirit, and live each day according to the Law of the Spirit of Life, and not according to the Law of Sin and death.

 

 

November 6, 2019  9:58 AM

The Righteous Man Shall Live by Faith

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17, NASB)

I’ve been texting with a friend, a sister in the Lord, about what it means to live by faith.  We are both learning what it means to trust in God and to wrestle with Him; we are learning how to live by faith through the hard times of life, through the difficulties, the pain, the struggles, and the circumstances that tempt us to trust in the world or to trust in religion.  Through all of this, through the storms of life, we are learning to remain steadfast and to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for our strength. . .when we are obviously so weak.

I have been walking down this new path of freedom for 12 years, and my friend has been walking it for just a few, yet we are both learning the same thing . . . because the learning never ends.  And in 20 or 40 years, I will still be learning to trust in the Lord – because He is infinite and I am depraved.  While I remain on this cursed earth, I will grow to trust Him more and more as I experience the difficulties of life .

My friend and I began this texting discussion after both listening to a radio program by Aaron Budjen on “Living by Faith.”  In his message, Aaron talks about Romans 1:17 and the quote from Habakkuk that says that the righteous man will live by faith.

“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habbakkuk 2:4)

Although I was saved 28 years ago, I spent 14 or 15 years not trusting in the Lord, even though I was born again and had a relationship with Him.  I spent those years trusting in religion and trusting in my church.  I was trusting in the acceptance of other people, in the attempt to earn their acceptance through working so hard doing ministry work.

I looked to and trusted in religion which is really just an aspect of the knowledge of good and evil. (The Lord God said not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we did, so the tree is a part of this world that we live in, it’s a part of this fallen world.)  Although I was not necessarily doing evil, I actually was, because Jesus said there is only One who is good.  He alone, God, is the only One who is good.  Other than Him, there is none good.

So even though we try to live according to the knowledge of what is good, it ends up being a life of evil, because our motives are wrong.  Our “good deeds” are often attempts to earn the acceptance of others, to earn the acceptance of God.  We try to remain in a relationship with God by doing good works, repenting of our sin, asking God to forgive us, and then being firmly devoted to living a life of obedience . . . but all of that is a life of vanity and emptiness.

Being set free from such a life by discovering that I am a forgiven person, started me down a path that will never end.  As long as I am in the flesh, I will always be discovering and anticipating and growing. Learning every day what it means to live by faith.

June 13, 2019  2:14 PM