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.

Fix your mind on Christ and you will be satisfied so that things of this world no longer attract you.

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