Resistance Training (Part 1)

Fri, Jul 11, 2014

Featured, Living Life

In Lk 11:5-10 Jesus tells the parable of a man who asked a friend for three loaves of bread at midnight, because he had nothing to offer someone who had come to him on a journey.  It was late and inconvenient, and the friend was unwilling to get up from bed, but eventually he gave the man as much bread as he wanted because he kept on asking.  In a similar vein, Jesus tells us to continually ask, seek and knock, and goes on to compare our requests and relationship with God to those of a son to a father (vv 11-13).

Later on, Jesus tells the parable of a widow who, through persistence, finally received justice from an unjust judge despite his initial refusal and indifference to both God and men (Lk 18:1-5).  This parable was told to the disciples “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Lk 18:1, NIV)

The idea of persistent prayer can seem odd – as if children of God need to pester, plead with and hound a heavenly father to get something good.  After all, most earthly fathers seem happy to give their children good things the first time they ask – sometimes before – and don’t need to be worn down by constant harassment.

But on closer examination, God’s nature is only partly represented in the two parables.  He indeed gives us our daily bread (Lk 11:3) and is the bread of life (Jn 6:35), and he is the judge of us all (2Tim 4:1).  But unlike the friend in the first parable, God will neither slumber nor sleep (Ps 121:4), and unlike the judge in the second parable, God is a just, righteous judge (Acts 17:31).

The main point of the two parables is not to do with God’s nature – and to make sure we don’t get the wrong idea, immediately after the parables Jesus assures us that God willingly gives good gifts (Mt 7:11) and that he will ensure justice, quickly (Lk 18:7-8).  Instead, the parables concern us – and more specifically, our faith.  At the end of the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus said:

“‘And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones…?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’” (Lk 18:7-8, NIV)

That’s what Jesus was on about – faith, and the perseverance thereof.  The two are actually inextricably linked:

“By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” (Heb 11:27, NIV)

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Heb 12:1, NIV) /
“…I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (says Paul in 2 Tim 4:7, NIV)

“…the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete…”  (Jas 1:3-4, NIV)

God doesn’t withhold anything good from us.  He wants to give us the best – and that includes perseverance.

— Joey

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    A Question of Law

    Fri, Apr 12, 2013


    In a dispensation of grace, what kind of law – including penalties and punishments – should Christians apply among themselves?

    And with the separation of Church and State, what kind of law should Christians promote for their country, that would govern both Christians and non-Christians?


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