[forthright] Advice to a Friend

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 14:49:24 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

Between some technical problems and editorial flu bug, some articles
didn't get sent last week. While we're working on that, check out these
online:

Mike Brooks, Do You Wear a Hat?
http://www.forthright.net/field_notes/do_you_wear_a_hat.html

Tim Hall, Singing Soprano
http://www.forthright.net/heavenly_connections/singing_soprano.html

Paul Goddard, Retired Christian
http://www.forthright.net/up_for_the_task/retired_christian_1.html

COLUMN: FINAL PHASE

Advice to a Friend
by J. Randal Matheny, editor

NOTE: The following is part of a message to a friend who finds himself
involved in something that takes away his attention from Christ.

At some point a Fixation will take hold of your mind. It will tell you
that This is what you must have to make you happy or secure. The more
you think of it, the greater its positive qualities grow. It will assume
an importance far beyond its true place in your life, if indeed, it
should have a place at all. It may be any number of things, valid or
not, licit or forbidden for the Christian. Money, relationships, sex,
success, drugs, alcohol, gambling.

This Thing will obviously center around what you don't have, or what is
forbidden, or what appears to promise satisfaction. But the satisfaction
will always be just a bit further beyond, just around the corner, after
the next business deal, the next tryst, the the next purchase. Before
the realization dawns upon you that you did not find the satisfaction it
promised, another more attractive one will pop into view and send you on
another pursuit, the same chase you began when you first took your eyes
from Christ and his all-sufficiency and let another capture your
interest.

Your daily feeding on the Word coupled with fervent prayer and constant
fellowship with the saints will keep you from running down this
well-worn but frustrating path. It will also bring you back from this
exercise in self-destruction. This daily act of discipline, of
deliberate searching for the Lord has its reward. "He rewards those who
seek him." You must believe that, or the reward will not be forthcoming,
Hebrews 11:6 tells us. And what is the reward? To be filled with his
presence in such a way that you are completely satisfied regardless of
your circumstances. To be so taken with his fullness that the desires
for the things of this world pale beside his riches. To be able to say,
with truth, that you have need of nothing, because you have the Lord
Jesus Christ. Only this reward can keep you from entrancement with the
hollow promises of the world.

The result of Enoch's faith points us to the truth (Hebrews 11:5). God
was so pleased with Enoch, who walked with God, that he skipped death to
be taken up directly to the heavenly Presence. This is not the promise
to everyone who has Enoch's faith, as the rest of the chapter shows. It
does not mean that some, like Abel, will not suffer for their faith. It
does mean that God opens to us a window, a peek at the faith which
applies to us all, a one-size-fits-all faith that regardless of
situation or circumstance, brings its reward. Some are killed and some
do not see death. The juxtaposition of Abel and Enoch is instructive.
Though the full reward was yet future, they acted in faith, in assurance
of the God they served. They believed he existed and that he rewarded
those who sought him. By such a faith they pleased God.

You may not see how, at this point, God can remove the desire for this
Fixation and provide you satisfaction. And that is the very issue which
confronts you. This is the nature of faith, to obey without seeing or
even knowing the land to which you have been called.

This lack of faith cost Israel 40 years of wandering in the desert. The
failure to believe has its price as well. Many have fallen in the sands
of incredulity and were buried under the dry stones that later gushed
with water. I pray it will not be so in your case. I know you want to
change, for things to be different in your life. But for the change to
occur, you must move from wanting, which never changes anything, to
deciding and doing.

----
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