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A Special Message About Love And Trust

(Chain-based Faith)

Does this sound familiar? All you have to do is XYZ and you will be ABCíd. How many times have you heard this? In the faith, we build houses around the XYZ. We build churches, denominations, and communities around the XYZ.

Love-based Faith

First, your Christian faith should not based upon what you do, others do, or on what God does or does not do. Your faith should be based only upon the love for Christ you hold in your heart. Second, you live in a flawed world where evil and darkness are more prevalent than goodness and light. To come to grips with the power or influence of evil and to maintain your faith you have to use wisdom to keep your love for Christ protected. In other words, you have to be smarter and more resolved than Satan.

Telling Ourselves The Truth

The mistakes you make can be used. These mistakes can only be used if you use them to press on with Christís agenda in your life and the lives of others. To tell yourself you do not make mistakes is to tell yourself a lie. A lie told to yourself is just as sinful as a lie told to someone else or told to God. A lie told to yourself usually ends up producing the same dark consequences as a lie told to someone else.

Restoring Your Faith

Sometimes finding God or restoring your faith is like trying to catch the wind in a plastic milk jug. You can hold the jug out with the lid end pointed into the wind but you are not going to catch anything. To catch the wind you would first have to empty out any milk that was in the jug. Then you would have to empty out the air that was in the jug, which then would create a vacuum. By this time, the vacuum has turned the jug into a shriveled up piece of plastic. If you had a way of snapping the jug back into its original shape, then you would suck the wind into the jug. Now you have a another problem of keeping the wind in the jug because the extra pressure that exists in the jug because of the wind force is going to go away without some kind of pressure valve. In the same way, to find God or to restore your faith requires you to find His love. To find His love you must be willing to empty everything that is within you, to be momentarily shriveled up (a scary thing), to be willing to be snapped back into place by His divine love, and finally to put into place a valve in your heart so His love will not drain out of you. You are then filled with His love, care, grace, and compassion from the in-filling of the Holy Spirit. Nothing in life is easy, is it?

Who Does What

If you buy a gallon of milk, put it in the refrigerator for 6 months, and never use the milk, then the wise thing to do would be to never drink any of the milk and throw it away after six months. You could pray to God to keep the milk fresh but do you think He would do this? You could pray to God to keep the milk fresh but you could also pour the milk out after 10 days and buy a new gallon. Do you think God will do for you what you can do yourself?

No Strings Or Chains Attached

It is critical for all of you to understand that God comes with no strings attached. Your can believe in Him or not believe. You can obey Him or not obey Him. You can love Him or reject Him. You are not born with a chain to God with the chain connected to your mind and heart. Again, there are no chains or strings attached to God. None. Zero. Nadda. Unfortunately, millions of persons are in a spiritual prison made up of strings or chains of darkness that are man-made ideas about God, humans, and the relationship between God and you. Because there are no chains between God and you, you canít jerk His chain, and He doesn't jerk yours. He may speak to you, but it is your choice and spiritual willingness to listen to Him that enables you to hear Him. Not everyone wants to accept this idea of no chain between themselves and God because they fear they cannot control themselves or their life. Many people want a God who snaps to attention at every prayer. Many people want to hear that all you have to do is send a message to God and He will always do your bidding. However, these ideas of God doing your bidding is a dark distortion of what your relationship to God should be. God is not there for you to do your bidding, you are here to do His bidding. It is only when you are contrite, humble, and meek with God that you can have a real and live relationship with Him. When you deeply love Christ, His love changes your heart without His having to control you or jerk you around. A relationship with God where there are chains is a sick relationship. Your faith should not be based upon what God will do or not do...the foundation of your faith should be solely and entirely based upon your contrite and humble love for Him. Nothing in the Christian life counts unless your heart is full of love for Him. Interpretations of the gospel based upon what you must do, should do, and upon what God will do when you do, are chain-based. God never, ever intends for His children to be put in chains. God wants everyone to be set free from the chains of darkness. It is only when you are set free and are freely able to choose right from wrong, light from darkness, and good from evil that God is glorified. You must not come to Christ and/or live a Christian life because you are forced to do so. You must come to Christ because you freely choose to turn away from your past hurts, past scars, past sins, and because you freely choose to kneel at the Cross of Calvary, freely choose to accept Him into your heart, and freely choose to love Him.

Dark Chains

Unfortunately, when you have a faith based upon chains, the darkness comes in and starts pulling you in directions where you should not go, keeps you in spiritual or emotional prison, and the darkness destroys everything the chains touch. There is no joy, freedom, rejoicing, exhilaration, bliss, happiness, peace, contentment, or righteousness when you or anyone else is imprisoned by these chains of darkness.

Expectations

People caught up in a chain-based faith constantly set up conditions or hold expectations for God to act. Not only do they set up conditions or hold expectations for God to act, they also feel betrayed when God does not act. You must realize that God does not answer every prayer the way you want it answered especially if you are trying to jerk His chain with your prayer. You must also keep in mind that Satan loves to victimize and abuse you by getting you to want and believe in a God who is your servant. God is not your servant, you are supposed to be His servant. Satan loves to see you put God to the test by your holding expectations up to God because Satan can, does, and will attack you or your loved ones when you set up these conditions.

Unconditional Love For Him

Your faith based entirely on your love for Christ has to be unconditional. You must love and trust God not for what you want, not for what you need, not for what you desire but purely for who Christ is and what He has done for you. You must love and trust God not for what He will do for you, not for the prayers you pray, not even for the kind of person you are, or the things you do but purely for who Christ is and what He has done for you. Your faith must never be connected to what God will do for you or what you think He will do for you. When your faith in God is based upon what you expect Him to do, you are headed for trouble and a devastating loss of your faith, loss of your health, loss of your relationships, and loss of your family. Your faith must be based upon your love for Christ and this faith must be self-contained in a vertical relationship with God, with no strings or chains attached. I pray for the protection of my wife and son every day. This does not mean they will be protected. It is because they are vulnerable and could be hurt or attacked that I do pray. If they were not vulnerable and did need protection I would not need to pray. When you pray for someoneís protection, you recognize they are vulnerable to some kind of attack. If something bad happened to them, the bad thing would be a consequence of the action of Satan, not the action of God.

Accountability

You could hold God accountable for all things, both good and bad. Chain-based faith usually does this. Chain-based faith, just by implication, says that when bad things happen that God did not protect because of your lack of faith or your inability to pull hard enough on Godís chain to make God jump to your aid.

Wisdom

Chain-based faith keeps you from going out on a limb because this kind of dark faith keeps you insecure and ignorant about the primary focus of your life which should be the love of God in your heart. When you climb a tree, you need faith. Some limbs are OK to climb on, other limbs are not. Most of us do not climb enough trees to identify limbs in the borderline category. You would avoid a small weak limb because your common sense and experience says not to use that limb. However, a regular tree climber, someone like a tree trimmer who is around trees all the time is going to know, for sure, which limbs are OK and which limbs are not OK to put his weight on. The rest of us are going to climb our tree in ignorance and the some of us will fall and get hurt because of our ignorance. In the same way, your climb in the tree of life requires you to be wise about what is borderline in the Christian walk and what is not.

Little Faith

You must recognize you have little faith. You may want faith, you may even beg for it, but you still have little of it. We wouldnít think we have little faith the way some people act and talk, but the truth is we have faith a whole lot smaller than a mustard seed. However, the amount of faith you have is not the number one priority unless you want to use your faith to use God. It is not the amount of faith you have, it is the amount of love you have for Christ that counts. Besides, faith is not possible without love. When you truly love another person then you have faith and trust in them. You may have faith and trust in someone but still not love them. Chain-based faith, unfortunately, turns this relationship around. Chain-based faith says (directly or by implication) that your faith and trust in God will produce the love. In chain-based faith, trust is more important than love. This is why so many churches that are chain-based must produce stories of miracles, works, healings, visible signs, and dramatic testimonies. Without these visible manifestations there is no reason to trust, believe, or have faith in God. With a truly humble and contrite love in your heart for Christ, you donít need any kind of visible manifestation to keep your faith because the love in your heart produces the faith automatically.

Familiar Ideas

See if the thinking behind these statements is familiar.
You can expect God to take care of things you cannot take care of.
You can expect God to give you money when you are poor.
You can expect God to heal you when you are sick.
You can expect God to repair your appliances when they break.
You can expect God to make it rain so there will never be a drought.
You can expect God to stop the rain so there will never be a flood.
You can expect God to make coke, crack, and heroin disappear so there will be no more addiction.
You can expect God to make all the booze non-alcoholic so there will be no more alcoholism.
You can expect God to change the hearts of criminals so there will be no more crime.

You can expect God to do many things. However, when you have a chain-based faith, there is a problem here. The problem is not what you expect God to do. The problem is whether your faith in Him depends on whether He delivers. What will you do when God does not deliver? Will you run away and hide? Will you pout, shout, whine, and complain? Will you grieve and cry? Will you be devastated and lose your faith? What will you do when God does not do for you what you expect Him to do? When God does not live up to your expectations of Him, what will you do?

Who Is Responsible?

The idea of God disappointing you should make you evaluate where you are in your walk with God, not where God is in His walk with you. In chain-based faith, you are most often ready to point a finger of blame at God. Chain-based faith also produces another dangerous darkness related to your being personally responsible. If you can put all the responsibility for all outcomes on God, as chain-based faith tries to get you to do, then you donít have to be responsible. If you depend upon God to take care of things then according to chain-based faith, you do not have to worry about things. If you do worry about things then according to chain-based ideas, all you have to do is pray, depend on God, and not take any actions or precautions.

Chain-based vs. Love-based Faith

When faith becomes conditional, as chain-based faith is, then you eventually end up using God as an instrument for your benefit, instead of your being an instrument for His benefit as you would be if your faith is based in love. In chain-based faith, you so often go to God with your hand out, trusting Him to fill your needs. What you should be doing is going to God with your hand full of an offering to Him because the love in your heart speaks to you and tells you to serve Him instead of expecting Him to serve you. A living faith depends upon how honest, contrite, and humble you are in love for Christ. Your faith should never depend on whether God delivers. When you go to God in honest humility, with no expectation of what He can or will do for you, then miraculous things happen in your heart and life.

Faith From Love

In faith based upon love, your faith depends upon whether you love Him not upon your getting love from Him. When you love Christ, fully and totally, then you are able to go to God with a heart that accepts total responsibility for every part of your life. When you are humble and contrite in His sight and you love Him then you are willing to take responsibility for every thing you have ever done (good, bad, indifferent, mistakes, failures, sins, you name it). When you take this responsibility for your life and you surrender all you have been and are to Him, your past hurts, heartaches, and scars are turned into foundation stones for your future. Even the worst hurts, scars, mistakes, faults, and sins are wiped away by His blood. These dark blots are turned into sign posts and libraries of wisdom for your future and the future of those you love and cherish.

The Essence Of Faith

When you hold a belief in God thinking that God will do for you, then you do not understand the essence of faith. The essence of faith is the love you hold in your heart for your risen Savior. When you love Him and trust Him you never want to use Him. When you love Him, you are willing to accept Godís will. Jesus did not want to go to the Cross but because Jesus was love, Jesus was willing to do as His Father willed. However, some believers in chain-based faith will take this willingness of Jesus to suffer for you and twist it into making people compliant, subdued, and submissive which can lead to abuse, molestation, and victimization. The only reason Jesus did not call down the armies of angels from Heaven to protect Him from being crucified is because of what His Father in Heaven wanted from Him. In your personal life, when you or the ones you love are under attack by Satan and the darkness, you are not supposed to be a peace-loving victim. In these instances, you are not to let the darkness win, you are to fight back so Christ wins.

In Love-based Faith

In love-based faith, you bow down before Christ on the Cross in your grief, with your broken heart and life, thanking Him beyond words, for His suffering just for you. In love-based faith, you would not ask Him to do for you if you were there on the day He died. In love-based faith, you would not hold out expectations of Him to act on your behalf on that dark day. The essence of faith is love for Him. In love, you do not ask Him to do for you, instead, you ask Him to help you do for Him.

In Darkness

It is only those who are caught up in the darkness of chains who would ask or imply the following questions.

If you canít depend upon God to do for you, then who can you depend upon?
If you canít depend upon God, then what good is He?
If God is going to disappoint you then why bother believing in Him or using Him?

To Serve or To Depend

You do not need to "depend" upon God if you are continually serving Him. He is the Master, you are to be His servant. He is the Shepherd, you are to be His sheep. He is the leader, you are to be His follower. In love-based faith, you do not need to be in a dependent relationship with Him because your love for Him gives you the power to be responsible, strong, and courageous. Chain-based faith makes you push away your responsibilities, it makes you weak, and it disables you in the face of fear and anxiety.

Love Never Questions

In love-based faith, a heart that overflows with unconditional love is a heart that never questions, never doubts, never becomes disappointed. Your love for Christ must be as unconditional towards Him, just as His love is unconditional towards you.

Faith and Trust Follow Love

Faith and trust come after love, not before it. Love must always come first, and when love comes first, then faith and trust happen. Faith and trust come after love like the spring flowers come after the rain and warm weather. All winter the seeds and bulbs lay dormant in the ground. When warm weather and rain come then the miracle of Godís hand taps the bulbs and seeds and wakes them up.

When you let His love into your heart, His hand taps you on the shoulder, you wake up, and healing happens.

Do you truly love Him?

In His Love and Grace,
Patrick

1 Corinthians 13: 1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,B but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For you know in part and you prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now you see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then you shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONģ. NIVģ. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018