Thoughts to Ponder

Is Christ Sufficient?

Is Christ sufficient to handle your problems? If you are like most Christians you will quickly say "Yes He is sufficient." One reason for this is we have all been taught that Christ is sufficient to take away our sins. He finished the work of salvation on the cross. We may even quote verses like these to prove our point:

(Hebrews 1:3 NIV) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. He sat down signifying that the work was finished.

(Hebrews 10:11-12 NIV) Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. {12} But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

I totally agree with this. Jesus did finish His work and is sufficient for our salvation. We need not nor can we add anything to the work He has already finished. However, salvation is not what I want to address. Do you believe Christ is sufficient to handle your problems? Problems of living in this world. Problems like depression, childhood abuse, past sins, past wrongs done to you by others, and past wrongs you have done to others?

Don't be too quick to say yes this time. Think about how you live your life and then carefully answer that question. Do you really live your life and witness as if you believed that Christ is sufficient for you? Many Christians don't. They chase after every 'new' treatment or counseling or revelation that comes along. Do you realize that the divorce rate is higher inside the church then it is in the secular world? Maybe Christ can't handle marital problems. Or maybe Christians don't ask Him for help.

One of the most popular fads today in the church is the belief that a person needs to go back and deal with his or her problems from the past. Here are some examples of what I am talking about from some of these 'new' Christian counseling and treatment programs:

If I try to resolve my present conflict without finding healing for my past wounds (memories with embedded lies), I will only find temporary relief. However, if I heal my past, I will redeem my present.

The pain I feel is not coming from the event, but from the interpretation (lie) which was given the event. To be free of the lie requires that I take the lie "captive," rather than reject or denounce it. It is in this painful and helpless state that I am able to receive a healing Word from God. When the way is made clear for me to receive, God will speak His healing Word into my darkness and then I will be free at last.

This last step to freedom is to renounce the sins of your ancestors and any curses which may have been placed upon you. Demonic strongholds can be passed from one generation to the next. This is not to deny that many problems are transmitted genetically or acquired from an immoral atmosphere. All three conditions can predispose an individual to a particular sin. When you tear down a demonic stronghold which has been established in your family, you may have some resistance. Then they go on to give you the (magic) words to denounce and break these strongholds (curses).

Do you see Christ anywhere in any of these statements? Yes I did take some of this out of context so that I could keep them short, however, the central idea of all of them remains intact. Many of these types of programs (for lack of a better word) mention Christ, but either Christ is just there to greet you when you have finished dealing with the problem, or the Christ they lead the people to is not the Christ of the Bible.

Yes I realize these are pretty strong words, but all you have to do is read your Bible for yourself and you will see that these programs do not lead to Him. Most of these programs, without coming out and saying so directly are telling people that Christ can't handle their problems of living because He does not understand these types of problems. God, speaking through the author of Hebrews, tells us that we can lean on Christ, because He does understand what we are going through. He has been tempted in every way, just as we are...

(Hebrews 4:12-16 NIV) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. {13} Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. {14} Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. {15} For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. {16} Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

So we as Christians say Christ is sufficient and then go running after some other way to deal with our problems. How that must pain a loving God, Who has told us to call Him Father. Don't we believe that He truly cares for us? He gave His Son to die for us, shouldn't that prove He loves and cares for us? Or is it that we don't believe He is capable of dealing with our problems? Is God so feeble that we must use the wisdom of men to take care of what He can't?

Think about it, when you 'handle' your own problems you are saying one of those things to God; either you are saying "I don't believe you love me enough to help me." Or you are saying "I don't believe you are capable of handling this one, so I will do it myself." There is no middle ground.

God does a fine job of defending Himself so I will let Him do just that: (Job 40:6-14 NIV) Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm: {7} "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. {8} "Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? {9} Do you have an arm like God's, and can your voice thunder like his? {10} Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. {11} Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low, {12} look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. {13} Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. {14} Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you." Still think that you must deal with your own problems?

One of the things which has become popular lately is the idea that a person must denounce the sins of their ancestors. The thought is that if your mother, father, grandmother or grandfather dealt in the occult you are captive to it also. People will even quote scripture to try to prove their point. Let me make sure you understand now that I am speaking of someone who has been born again by faith in Jesus Christ, not some sinner who has not given his life to the Lord. They will quote a verse such as this: (Deuteronomy 5:9 NIV) You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me

One problem with this is that these people take the verse out of context and second they don't bother to look further into God's Word. I have to wonder why, maybe because this verse 'proves' their point so they don't care to look further? How about these verses: (Jeremiah 31:29-30 NIV) "In those days people will no longer say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' {30} Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes--his own teeth will be set on edge.

(Ezekiel 18:19-22 NIV) "Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. {20} The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. {21} "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. {22} None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live."

The Bible tells something that I think we need to really take to heart: (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we become new creatures, the old (past) is gone! Praise God you don't have to go back and deal with it! That is not to say that some things from your past might not still bother you, but it does mean that you don't have to deal with them. Give them to God. You don't have to worry about what your ancestors are doing or have done, because you are a new creature in God's sight. You now belong to His family line.

Are your actions telling God that you believe Christ is sufficient or not sufficient for your problems? One last thought and that is about your witness. If all the sinners of the world see is a bunch of Christians who are walking around depressed and defeated, why would they want what we have? Why would they believe that they need Christ if our lives show He has not helped us? I am serious, if people look at you and you are always struggling with this or that, or if you are always looking for something new to help you, why should they come running to you to get what you already have?

We were all born with a terminal disease called sin. Christians have found the Doctor Who has the cure. Why don't we act like it? How many people will want to go to a Doctor to be treated for a disease they deny they have in the first place if the cure makes you feel worse than the disease did to begin with? Now ask yourself this question, why would Satan keep after Christians when he knows he can't take their salvation from them? Could it be because he has found it is easy to take their testimony from them?

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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