Summary: Stop trying to keep the law and start trusting Christ with your life to be truly blessed.
Tim Wilson, a pastor in Colorado, talks about his days at Fort Benning, attending the United States Army Airborne School. He and his buddies were sitting on hard wooden bleachers as they prepared for their first parachute jump. Soon they would soar hundreds of feet above the red Georgia clay and hear the jump-master bark out the orders, “Stand up! Hook up! Check equipment! Stand in the door! Go! Go! Go!” Understandably, the instructors had their undivided attention.
The Airborne sergeant's voice rang out confidently as he explained what to do in case of a parachute malfunction. “If your main parachute should fail to deploy, don't panic – pull the handle of your auxiliary parachute. Should your auxiliary parachute fail to fill with air, don't panic – pull it in toward your body and then vigorously throw it away from yourself. Should your auxiliary chute again fail to deploy, don't panic – vigorously repeat this process.”
He paused dramatically. Then with a slight mischievous grin he slowly stated, “Should this also fail, don't panic. You'll have the rest of your life to get your parachute to deploy.” (Tim Wilson, pastor of Indian Hills Christian Fellowship, Indian Hills, Colorado, from a sermon titled, Urgency; www.PreachingToday.com)
We laugh at that, but the sad reality is that there are a lot of people who try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, and still end up crashing on the rocks of guilt and shame. If that describes some of you, then I’ve got good news! You don’t have to try and fail anymore, because there is a better way to live your life. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Galatians 3, Galatians 3, where the Bible shows us that better way.
Galatians 3:6 Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (ESV).
In verses 1-5, the Apostle Paul asked six questions about faith and law. Now, he begins to answer those questions with the first of six quotes from the Old Testament, which makes it very clear: The better way to live is by faith. In other words, “Stop trying and start trusting.”
TRUST THE LORD AND BE BLESSED.
Like Abraham, believe God. Put your faith in God’s promises and find true virtue.
God promised Abraham, an old man, that he would have many descendants, as many descendants as the stars in the sky. Did Abraham doubt that promise? No! The Bible says, quoting Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Literally, in the Hebrew, Abraham said “Amen” – it is true for me. And as a result, God declared him righteous. All it took was faith, simple faith in God’s promise, and Abraham found full and complete acceptance with God.
Do you want God to treat you as righteous and holy in His sight? Then, like Abraham simply believe God’s promises to you. Say “Amen” to those promises. Consider them true for you, and trust the Lord to do what He said He would do.
God promised us His Holy Spirit. God promised us an inheritance in Heaven. God promised to make us like Christ. All we need to do is believe those promises and God declares us righteous, then begins the process of making us righteous. All it takes is simple faith.
Over 20 years ago, the Promise Keepers movement swept the country, calling men to keep seven promises regarding their relationships with God, their families, their churches and the world. In an early message, Steve McVey, president of Grace Walk Ministries, announced to these men, “Realize that you can't keep your promises. That may seem like a strange first step toward the goal of keeping promises, but it's true.
“Consider this question: If we could keep our promises, wouldn't we have done it by now? How many times have we made the same promises? Let's face it; rededication to keep promises won't work. If it did, we wouldn't find it necessary to keep rededicating ourselves. Many of us have struggled with promise-keeping for one reason: We have focused on our performance more than on Jesus Christ. We have tried to keep our promises, but the Bible teaches that effective Christian living doesn't come by trying. It comes by trusting Christ to express his life through us. He is the only One who can successfully keep promises.
“Before we can be effective promise keepers, we must become promise receivers. The Bible is clear about God's promise: the One who has given us his life will be the One who lives it for us. Only Jesus Christ can effectively live the perfect life. He lives inside believers today and wants to reveal His perfect life through us. (Steve McVey, president of Grace Walk Ministries, Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2)