No Short Cuts To God's Promises
When I was a teenager, I and my friends had to walk whenever we wanted to go someplace. At the time my hometown didn’t have a fully functioning bus service so the only regular transportation available to us was our feet. The place where I lived was an apartment complex that was located off of a highway, but somebody discovered a path up the hill and through the woods which allowed us to stay off of the highway and it even cut our trip by 30 minutes or more. It was a short cut. Now the short cut made the trip less time consuming but the short cut was through woods. Looking back on that time in my life, I’m really glad God was with me and all the other teenagers and children who walked through the short cut. In all those years that I lived there and even after we moved, I never once heard a report that anyone was harmed in those woods. Never once heard a report that any young girl was raped there or young boy molested there. No one ever ambushed any of us. Even though God’s hand was there to keep all of us safe whenever we walked through the short cut, with a wise eye, I can tell you today that the short cut was potentially dangerous.
How many times have you found yourself attempting to take a short cut in life or especially desiring one when your heart and mind are on God’s promises?
The journey from conversion to maturity in Christ doesn’t have short cuts. Let’s consider the paths starting with conversion:
§ Each of us had to come to Christ alone. Conversion doesn’t come as blanket protection. This is individualized protection policy.
§ And while friends, family and others may have interceded on your behalf, you couldn’t skip the step of offering your own prayer in which you confess your sins and accept the saving faith of Jesus Christ. Only your prayer was sufficient, not friends, relatives or anyone else
o Journey from conversion to maturity
§ Develop your real and personal relationship with Christ
§ Submit your self to the authority of Christ
§ Spend time in God’s presence
§ Spend time in God’s word
§ Allowing the holy spirit to form and shape you
Describe the perceived short cuts:
· Talking the language but not speaking truth in your spirit
· Relying on someone’s testimony, prayers, faith
· Using the cop out of “God knows my heart”
· Looking holy but denying the power of God
Never returning to Pharaoh was a promise but there was no short cut around the red sea nor through the wilderness.
The dream God gave Joseph was a promise, but there was no short cut from the pit to the palace .
The promise of a second Adam was given in Genesis, reminded many times thereafter but there was no short cut for Jesus
· He came down through 42 generations – no short cut
· He spent 40 days and nights being tempted by the devil – no short cut
· He was disrespected and rejected by his own people – no short cuts
· He suffered a brutal death on a cross – no short cuts
James wants us to know that for all who claim Christ Jesus as their savior and Lord, there aren’t any short cuts for us either. There are no short cuts to make trouble shorter or to skip it altogether. There aren’t any short cuts to make the testing of your faith easier. Tests and trials are coming but James says to us, “stop looking for short cuts and just learn now to endure”. God’s promises are available for us to receive and actualize but there does not exist a short cut in the process.
God’s goal is for each of His children to be mature. Can you identify a mature Christian when you see one? Mature Christians are known more for what they do than what they say because they know that faith without works is dead. Mature Christians are known more for being a blessing because they know that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. Mature Christians are known by their ability to prayer over a matter instead of worrying. I’m suggesting to us this morning that possessing, activating and unleashing has everything to do with maturity.
And not that we have arrived at the last stage of maturity but it sure is good to know that I’m not what I use to be. It is good to know that everyday you’re taking steps to grow in your faith…steps to be more like Jesus and less like yourself…steps to think the master’s thoughts and speak his words of faith….steps to be focused on what so ever things that are pure and of good report. ….steps to leave my old self behind… steps to put on the mind of Christ…steps to rebuke the devil’s hold that had been so strong over my body, emotions and will.
Don’t waste your time looking for short cuts to God’s promises, they don’t exist. Be not deceived God is not mocked. If you want more of Jesus you have to walk the long road of submission. If you want to possess, activate and unleash the promise of anointing then you have to walk the long road of sacrifice. If you want possess, activate and unleash the promise of a relationship with Jesus, then you have to walk the long road of yielding. If you want possess, activate and unleash the promise of a better witness or testimony then you have to walk the long road obedience. There are no short cuts! If you want to possess, activate and unleash the promise of knowing God’s word then you have to walk the long road of studying. If you want to possess, activate and unleash the promise that the Word can come alive in your life then you have to walk the long road meditation. There are no short cuts!
The good news is that if you take the long road that God has laid out for you, at the end there is a promise that you will lack nothing. I especially like those terms; full effect, complete; lacking nothing because it confirms that God is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him. Full effect means that whatever God had in mind that is what I’ll have in my life. Complete means that I don’t feel empty. Complete means that my life makes more sense, nothing is missing.