The Bare Soul - January 17, 2010
God's Pleasure

The following Bare Soul is part one of a two part series on God's heart toward the believer. The attached audio recording is a sermon titled "Yes, Jesus Likes Me" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on January 14, 2010. This recording is also included in part two of The Bare Soul - January 24, 2010 - "Jesus Likes Me, This I know ...".

Yes, Jesus Likes Me ... - January 14, 2010

Psalm 41:11 - By this I know that You are pleased with me, because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

Next time you are at your local bookstore, take a moment to do a quick comparison. First, check out how many books are devoted to religion. There will undoubtedly be a section on Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and of course, Christianity. All these so-called "religious" books will probably take up a few shelves of retail space. Next, check out the psychology and "self-help" section. It is staggering how much space is devoted to self-diagnosis and cure! Shelf after shelf of titles ranging from self-realization to theories on Transactional Analysis and the latest Gestalt therapy boil down to a very simple yet naive assumption -- "I'm okay, and you're okay" if we simply "find" ourselves. The truth of the matter is this ... we're not "okay" otherwise the plethora of self-help titles provided by the secular book market would be providing solutions rather than merely cataloging more ISBN titles. The reality is that the vast majority of people have feelings of guilt and shame from lives devoid of anyone or anything that might successfully remove these gnawing realities from their respective souls. Their childhood religions often gave them feelings of shame as they tried to live a good, moral life, but in so doing, they most often failed miserably. They could not live the life they felt God required which in turn produced shame. Rather than seeking out a spiritual solution to their guilt and remorse, they chose instead to blame God for setting a standard so high that they nor anyone else could attain. They turned their back on God and all religion, not knowing that a Savior had already fulfilled the Law for them and had died to set them free. Rather than accepting this eternal relationship, they chose instead the road of "self-help" which is a broad highway consisting of merely the enlightenment that one blind man might provide for another.

I often speculate how differently people's perspective would be of God if they truly understood His Nature. Then again, most folks would need to read the Word of God with "eyes to see and ears to hear" rather than seeking out the worldly pontifications of puffed up professors. If these "seekers" would but read God's Word with an open heart, they would find out that God is ecstatically in love with the human race. In our opening scripture, David uses the Hebrew word chaphets (khaw-fates') to describe God's pleasure with those who call upon His Name. The implication of its origin and meaning is to have "intense pleasure or strong desire toward". David's epiphany as a warrior-king was knowing the intense pleasure the Father has for those whose ... enemy does not shout in triumph over [them]. This was a situational reality (one battle to the next) in David's day because Christ had not yet come to bring the total victory to believers. Of course today, believers in Jesus Christ can be in a place of constant victory because of the finished work of the cross. The sad reality is that the vast majority of people who have disdained God for being too judgmental and demanding have not been listening to God. They have mistaken the voice of their Heavenly Father for that of the father of lies. Satan, through his continual bombardment of the human soul, seeks to convince mankind they will always be defeated and there is no use coming to God. He continues his lie, telling God's greatest treasure that they are doomed because God has forsaken them. Therefore,  they must seek out their own salvation because the God they seek (he tells them deceitfully) will never be there to provide for those He has "orphaned". This could  not be more untrue. In reality, the scripture is quite clear that our Heavenly Father loved the world SO much that He chose to crush His own Son on our behalf (Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16). Unfortunately, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the those who will not believe (II Corinthians 4:4), stating there is no victory over shame and guilt but only through one's own self-discovery. The only remedy for this deception is to understand our victory in Jesus Christ and our standing in God's pleasure as sons and daughters of the Most High.

Like David in this psalm, we must understand the lie of the devil regarding his supposed victory and triumph over us. Only then will we understand our position in Christ to fully acknowledge the Father's pleasure in our individual lives. As mentioned, David understood that God was there to save when He cried out to Him. Many times in the Psalms we see King David pouring out his heart for God's deliverance. As with all Old Testament saints, there was a continual need to invoke God's deliverance through faith while they looked forward to the promise of the coming Savior who would give all mankind the total victory (Hebrews 11:13). Even as the Law could not justify any Old Testament believers such as Abraham, Moses, or David they all looked forward to the day when the Law would be fulfilled in the Person of the Messiah. Those who believed God in faith (read Hebrews chapter 11) knew that one day constant victory would be the heritage of everyone who believed in God. Whether they truly understood the full implications or not, they were all looking forward to life either in this world or the one to come of life victorious. That's why it is so important to transpose David's words in Psalm 41:11 for our lives today. If one has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior then they have come into agreement with His victory on the cross over Satan and all evil that would ever seek to beset us (Colossians 2:15). This agreement affords us, most importantly, a positional understanding that we truly are ... more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Romans 8:37). This is true whether we believe it or not and will be for eternity. That is why God is pleased with us! Those of us who know Christ and have accepted Him have come into a place of continual victory and God knows it, and the devil knows it, and we should know it. When we don't believe it in particular instances and we allow Satan to tell us otherwise, it does not belie the fact that God still loves us and is pleased with us because His Son dwells within us. How can God not love us and be pleased with us if His very Son lives within? He rejoiced over His chosen with joy and gladness in the Old Testament (Zephaniah 3:17). How much more does He love us now since we are victorious in His Son (Romans 8:37-39).

Beloved, God has taken away all shame and guilt by placing the sin of the world on His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Savior of mankind bled, died, and was raised into newness of life, those also of us who have accepted His life have likewise embraced His victory. No longer do we need to live life on our own; there is no need to self-diagnose or self-actualize our inner healing or our state of well-being. In order for us to be pleased with ourselves we must first recognize that He is pleased beyond measure with all those who know Him as Father. He has truly defeated ALL our enemies, both real and imagined whether we acknowledge this reality or not. His pleasure for us will never cease even if we sometimes fail to recognize it, for He cannot deny Himself who so faithfully dwells within (II Timothy 2:13). However, once we truly know Him who forever triumphed over Satan, that is when we begin to walk in our true inheritance. May we all understand that we have not merely won a battle that will make us feel good about ourselves for a while, but we have won the war through the Eternal Son of David who will rule and reign forever.

Heavenly Father, may we know that You are pleased with your sons and daughters, because Your Son dwells within us. Through His abiding in our earthly vessels, we know that we have the victory everyday until eternity. Help us never to look beyond your passionate love and pleasure for us all to feel complete. For only in You is life and life abundantly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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