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Beware of the Preacher with Rose Colored Glasses

While many preachers air their daily sermons on social media or television, something that became useful during the Coronavirus pandemic, some paint a much rosier view of life than the Bible details. I understand the desire to win souls to Christ, but when a stranger leads a seeker into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, don’t tell them all their problems will suddenly go away. Life is full of challenging trials, James 1:2-4, which are necessary to stimulate spiritual growth.

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Padan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 And Isaac prayed much to the Lord for his wife because she was unable to bear children; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife became pregnant, Genesis 25:20-21.

If you read the Bible too fast, you’ll often miss what’s really going on. As Moses summaries the life of Isaac, he seemingly skips over the fact that it took Isaac and Rebekah 20 years to have their first child. From a modern perspective, most doctors don’t recommend women having children after forty due to the numerous health risks to the mother and child. From Rebekah’s point of view, her biological clock is running out as hope fades, replaced by doubt and fear. These are the trials that preachers with rose colored glasses often gloss over.

[Two] children struggled together within her; and she said, If it is so [that the Lord has heard our prayer], why am I like this? And she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 The Lord said to her, [The founders of] two nations are in your womb, and the separation of two peoples has begun in your body; the one people shall be stronger than the other, and the elder shall serve the younger. 24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb, Genesis 25:22-24.

Isaac prayed for the same thing for 19 years without any signs of God answering his request. Like a well written movie script, Moses fast forwards two decades to highlight God’s blessing of twins. Be careful what you pray for as it appears Rebekah went through a rough pregnancy, another point ignored by preachers with rose colored glasses. While everyone would prefer to hear a positive message, one of Jesus’ disciples writes about the need for Christians to go through fire, tested by God to refine faith. 1 Peter 1:6-7.

by Jay Mankus


The Connection Between Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

From the time human beings are born into this world, there is an internal desire to want satisfaction. Subsequently, infants naturally cry and eventually proclaim “I want, I want, I want.” Some adults don’t grow out of or lose this selfish behavior. Thus, many Christians go through life wondering why they aren’t as productive and successful as they think they should be. This is where the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness comes into play.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your beasts, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock, Deuteronomy 28:1-4.

As he was about to retire as Israel’s spiritual leader, passing the torch on to Joshua, Moses felt compelled to reveal the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. Moses devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to blessings and curses. During his farewell address, Moses compares the choices individuals make to life and death, Deuteronomy 30:11-18. Choosing obedience by being faithful to the commands in the Bible results in blessings. Yet, if you forget God’s advice by doing what’s right in your own eyes, your life will be filled with anguish, heartache and painful remorse.

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned, John 15:4-6.

Whatever decisions you have made in life, remember the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:19-23. This cry for help reveals a God of second chances. In the passage above, Jesus reveals another connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. God is like a gardener who prunes human beings to stimulate spiritual growth. Yet, unless you remain within the Vine which is Jesus, you are unable to bear fruit. Staying connected to Jesus throughout life demonstrates faithfulness and yields spiritual fruit.

by Jay Mankus

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