"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.
Most Christians know what the Bible says about God's great love for his children. Yet even after years of walking faithfully with Jesus, many have never learned to appropriate that great love. Sadly, there are dedicated servants of God who have never enjoyed the glorious experience and benefits of knowing the Father's love. And nothing saddens God's heart more.
In my years of ministry I have identified three main hindrances that keep Christians from entering fully into the special love our Father has for us.
Throughout the Bible we hear these wonderful words spoken by many of God's servants: "Your God is merciful, kind, gracious, anxious to forgive, full of lovingkindness, slow to anger" (see Exodus 34:6, Deuteronomy 4:31, Jonah 4:2, Joel 2:13, Romans 2:4). These words about God's lovingkindness are recited again and again by such men as Moses, Jonah, David, the prophets and the apostle Paul.
I believe few Christians consider themselves impatient. Most true followers of Jesus will admit they have not arrived, that they're not as Christ-like as they want to be. They will tell you there are areas in their lives that need great improvement. But few Christians recognize in themselves a certain form of impatience that is spiritual in nature.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward" (Hebrews 10:35). If you are a Christian, you are in a fierce war. In fact, you're in a lifeanddeath battle for your faith. Satan is determined to shipwreck and destroy the faith of all of God's elect. And the stronger your faith, the greater will be his attack against it.
The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). At the time these words were proclaimed, the Israelites had just returned from captivity in Babylon. Under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people had rebuilt Jerusalem’s ruined walls. Now they set their sights on reestablishing the temple and restoring the nation.
David wrote about brokenness often in his Psalms. He spoke of God’s nearness to those who are broken: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “The Lord is near unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (34:18).
God tells us he has put everything created under the feet of man. Consider this passage from Hebrews:
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him? Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things. Now when it says all things, it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority!” (Hebrews 2:6-8, NLT).