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footnotes . . .

Living Carelessly

There is a parable in the book of Luke that illustrates the absurdity, from God's point of view, of His people allowing themselves to fall short of receiving His promises.
Luke 18:1-5
And he [Jesus Christ] spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God [had no respect, reverence, or awe for God] neither regarded man:

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God nor regard man;

Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
The two characters in this parable were quite a pair. There was nothing lukewarm about either individual.

Being without her husband to protect her, the widow nevertheless was not going to stand for being wronged by her adversary. She was a person who was not going to take "no" for an answer, so she troubled the judge to avenge her. Every day in court he would look up and see her sitting there, waiting to come before him again to demand justice. Every day at the office he would get another letter, another petition, another list of telephone messages.

The judge may have neither feared God nor regarded man, but at least he was honest about it. He was definitely not the type of person who worried about belonging to the right church, the right country club, or the right social clique. The sole reason he avenged the widow of her adversary was so she would no longer trouble him.

Verses 6-8
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily...
There is hardly any comparison between the true God and the unjust judge. The reason Jesus Christ made this comparison is to illustrate the absurdity of God's people allowing themselves to faint in defeat.

We are the apple of God's eye, the purpose of the ages, His children. If the unjust judge who had no respect, reverence, or awe for God and who had no regard for his fellow human beings would be willing to act, how much more the One Who so loved us that He gave His only-begotten Son for us?

God has given us exceeding great and precious promises. All the resources of heaven stand ready to bring those promises to pass. That is why men and women ought always to pray, and not to faint. God Almighty is not only able, He is willing to avenge His people, in our day just as much as in the days of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. All that is required is believing.

Believing however, according to Jesus Christ, can be a hard commodity to come by.

Verse 8
...Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith [pistis, believing] on earth?

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There is a way of living that is so revolutionary, so dynamic, so abundant, and so different from what passes for normal in societies today, that few people ever search out whether or not it might really be available.
Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication [petitions for specific objects of necessity] with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
To be "careful for nothing" can only mean that we are supposed to be "care-less about everything."

Now, living carelessly according to God's Word is not about driving around at midnight in excess of a hundred miles an hour with our sunglasses on and our headlights off. It is not about recklessness or disregard. Living carelessly according to God's Word is about living without the anxiety, the fear, the frustration, the guilt, the condemnation, and the defeat of this world.

Imagine life without a care. Most Christians cannot. Just listen to our prayer life, "Oh God, if it be Your will, please..." The reason we do not know God's will is because we are either ignorant of God's Word or we've forgotten it. God has spelled out His will in His Word, so why guess about it? Why wonder?

God wants us to make known our requests, not just with confidence, but with nothing less than thanksgiving --imagine that! -- knowing that we receive the petitions we desire of Him. 1 However, most Christians beg and plead in the unbelief and fear that our ignorance or forgetfulness of God's Word brings. No wonder our prayers are bouncing back at us off the ceiling!

I Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him [God]; for he careth for you.
To live carelessly we must cast all our care upon God. And "all" means "all." We take all our care -- all our worry, anxiety, fear, frustration, guilt, condemnation -- we take it all, and we cast it all upon God. We lay it all on Him. Why? Because He cares for us. And because He will avenge us speedily.

When Jesus Christ proclaimed in John 10:10 that he came that we "might have life," and "have it more abundantly," he said what he meant, and he meant what he said. A more abundant life is the promise of God to every Christian believer. When adversities arise -- as they surely will -- bringing worries, anxieties, fears, or frustrations about manifesting the life which Jesus Christ promised, we have two choices. Either we can accept defeat, or we can cast all our care upon God.

When we cast them upon Him, we do so with all the confidence and thanksgiving of believing. For, if the unjust judge would act to avenge that widow of the care she cast upon him, how much more can the True God be relied upon to avenge us of the care we cast upon Him?

Casting upon Him all care that is against any of His promises -- that is living carelessly according to God's Word. George Müller, a dynamic believer who lived in 19th-century England, once wrote:

[With] the careful reading of the word of God...[the believer] will repose upon the ability of God to help him, [having] seen instance upon instance in the Holy Scriptures in which His almighty power and infinite wisdom have been actually exercised in helping and delivering His people... [And] he will repose upon the willingness of God to help him, because he has not only learned from the Scriptures what a kind, good, merciful, gracious and faithful being God is, but because he has also seen in the word of God, how in a great variety of instances He has proved Himself to be so.... The Living God is with us, whose power never fails, whose arm never grows weary, whose wisdom is infinite and whose power is unchanging. Therefore today, tomorrow and next month, as long as life is continued, He will be our helper and friend. Still more, even as He is through all time, so will He be through all eternity. 2

Yes, for truly He is our Father.

-Jeff Stanley

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1. The book of I John says:

I John 5:14-15
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will he heareth us:

And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

2. As quoted in George Müller, Delighted in God!, by Roger Steer, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, 1980.

This essay was originally published in the July/August 1994 issue of the Biblical Research Journal.

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