Cynicism: Suspicious of Everything and Everyone

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Heb. 11:6 ESV

Cynicism is a jaded negativity which sees selfishness, ulterior motives, and evil intentions in everyone and everything. Cynicism is the opposite of a childlike spirit: a childlike spirit is an attitude of neediness, dependence, trust, and receptiveness to God and his grace.

Cynicism creates a dead spirit; a man or woman with no life in them. Cynicism loses hope in God and anticipation in prayer, all joy in life is lost as we fail to believe that God can be good even in a wicked and fallen world. This ingrained negativity develops scar tissue which kills emotional engagement with people and God. The lack of life, joy, and emotion makes life wearisome depriving us of all energy. Cynicism never believes in anything, trusts no one, avoids disappointment, evades intimacy, runs from commitment, and flees responsibility.

Prayer is the true antidote to cynicism. Prayer believes in God, hopes in answers, asks of God boldly, and trusts his ways. Cynicism contrasts with true faith for he who trusts stands on God’s promises, believes God’s word, trusts the Holy Spirit, looks to Christ, dares to take action, expects answered prayer, and exalts the goodness of God. Cynicism is not a virtue, it takes no assistance from the Holy Spirit to be negative and suspicious about everything.

The mood of the present age is cynicism. Many people are soured on life. They are cynical and negative. This age has three sneers for everything and three cheers for nothing. It has a code of “I don’t believe it this,” “I don’t believe in that,” and “I don’t believe in the other.” They are trying to live by a No. And it is turning out badly and sadly, for you cannot live by a No. You have to live by a Yes. . . .

Now is Jesus a Yes or a No? If he is a No we cannot take Him, because we cannot live by negation. We have to live by affirmation, for we are affirmative beings. We can’t live by No and cynicism.

Jesus is the Yes — “The Divine Yes has at last sounded in Him, for in Him is the Yes that affirms all the promises of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:19-20, Moffat)

E. Stanley Jones, The Divine Yes

The Saint and God’s Goodness

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.

Nahum 1:7 NLT

What does it means for God to be good? It means in him, there is nothing deceptive, misleading, evil, or impure. All of God’s motives are honest, loving, grace-filled, and kind. In him, we can trust and find a place of security, rest and peace. As we place all of all reliance on him, he is pleased and he responds in sympathy, mercy, provision, and blessing. A saint is not one who has achieved great spiritual heights, but one who trusts in the simple goodness of God even in the darkest of nights.

That God is good is taught and implied on every page of the Bible and must be received as an article of faith as impregnable as the throne of God. It is a foundation stone for all sound thought about God and is necessary to moral sanity.

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 88.

The saint is not one who tries hard to be good, but one who surrenders to [God’s] Goodness.

E. Stanley Jones, In Christ (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1980)

What Does It Mean To Be, “In Christ”?


Union With Christ

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

1 Cor. 1:30 NKJV

The phrase “in Christ” or its corresponding idea is used one hundred and seventy-two times in the New Testament with the Apostle Paul alone utilizing the phrase ninety-seven times in his letters. To be “in Christ” is to receive all the benefits of Christ’s saving work on the Cross, to walk in all the blessings of Christ’s life and resurrection and to enjoy all the favor of Christ’s inheritance from the Father’s favor. To be “in Christ” is to be located in the Divine Person—all that Christ’s has done, received, or achieved is ours to be enjoyed.

The phrase, “in Christ” is the ultimate phrase in the Christian faith, for it locates us in a Person-the Divine Person-and it locates us in Him here and now. It brings us to the ultimate relationship-“in.”

E. Stanley Jones, In Christ (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1980), 4.

Nothing is more striking than the breadth of application which this principle of union with Christ has in the gospel. Christianity obliterates no natural relationships, destroys no human obligations, makes void no moral or spiritual laws. But it lifts all these up into a new sphere, and puts upon them this seal and signature of the gospel, in Christ. So that while all things continue as they were from the beginning, all, by their readjustment to this divine character and person, become virtually new.

Life is still of God, but it has this new dependency” in Christ.” ” Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30). The obligation to labor remains unchanged, but a new motive and a new sanctity are given to it by its relation to Christ. “Forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). The marriage relation is stamped with this new signet, ” Only in the Lord.” Filial obedience is exalted into direct connection with the Son of God. “Children obey your parents in the Lord.” Daily life becomes “a good conversation in Christ.” Joy and sorrow, triumph and suffering, are all in Christ. Even truth, as though needing a fresh baptism, is viewed henceforth ” as it is in ‘Jesus.” Death remains, but it is robbed of its sting and crowned with a beatitude, because in Christ. ” Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

A. J. Gordon, In Christ or The Believer’s Union with His Lord (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 12.

Our union in Christ is not just a theological theory, but a reality to be lived and enjoyed moment-by-moment. Christ lives in us by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. As Andrew Murray stated, “It is through the Holy Spirit that we have Christ in our hearts-a mighty force stirring, enlightening, and filling us.” [Daily in His Presence (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004), Feb. 6th.] Christ encourages us each day to trust him, to love him, and to live through him. As we trust him, all the benefits of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection can be experienced now in us. The Holy Spirit makes these truths known, reveals them to our hearts, and enables us to live them.

Christ’s own words to His disciples explain this best. Just as the Father lived and worked in Him, so Jesus lives and works in us. The Son expressed the Father. We are to express Christ. The Father worked in the Son, and the Son gave expression to that which the Father brought about in Him, Christ works in us and enables us to carry on His work. This is His gift to us.

Andrew Murray, Daily in His Presence, Feb. 5th.

Christ’s gift to us was himself–nothing more was, is, or will be needed for us to live the Christian life. Christ is our joy, blessing and victory.

Hearing God for the New Year (Part Two)

A Burning Heart to Hear God

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper (emphasis mine).

1 Kings 19:11-12

Yesterday, we discussed hearing God as an on-going conversational relationship. We determined that it was God’s heart to speak to us and be spoken to by us. God treats us as friends not slaves: he does not desire to order us around. The Lord draws us into his presence tenderly, leading us by his love. He wants a relationship with us, not a command/control robotic dynamic, but a moment-by-moment conversation.


God’s voice rarely speaks in the midst of the noise and chaos of worldly distractions. Most often, the Holy Spirit leads in thoughtful silence, physical repose, and reflective prayer. He is not a “chatty Cathy;” he will not overwhelm us, but will speak to us in unguarded moments. Recognition of God’s voice is not automatic, but is developed over time in love relationship. Remember, God desires you; therefore, he will withhold information in order to keep you near. As we yearn for direction, he will lead us step-by-step to keep us dependent on his wisdom and fatherly care. Christ said that we are his friends, not his robots (John 15:13-15). He desires our love far more than we desire to love him.

The development of character must be the primary purpose of the Father. He will guide us, but he won’t override us. That fact should make us use with caution the method of sitting down with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper to write down instructions dictated by God. Suppose a parent would dictate to the child everything he is to do during the day. The child would be stunted. The parent must be guide in such a manner that character, capable of making right decisions for itself, is produced. God does the same.

E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living cited in Dallas Willard, Hearing God through the Year (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 19.

Ways and Means

The Lord uses numerous means to communicate to us his will and his direction: sovereign circumstances, Holy Scripture, Christian biographies, dreams and visions, audible voice, faithful counsel (Prov. 15:22), church leadership, and even silence. These “lights” will operate by confirming one another, adding means upon means, making God’s will and desire clearly known (2 Cor. 2:14-17).

Common Sense

Oswald Chambers encourages obedient believers; God’s word is “yes” until we hear a “no.” Since, Christ is living in us by the Holy Spirit then he will be faithful to lead and guide us. Not all “words from the Lord” are dramatic and overtly supernatural; often God does use our sanctified common sense to direct our path.

In the life of a child of God, the human motive is the disguised Divine. Sanctification means that I become a child of God, consequently my common-sense decisions are God’s will unless He gives the check of His Spirit. I decide things in perfect fellowship with God, knowing that if my decisions are wrong, He will check. When He checks, I must stop at once. It is the inner check of the Spirit that prevents common sense being our god.

Oswald Chambers, Not Knowing Where (Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1996), 154.

Burning Hearts

God’s voice is precious to those who are members of the fellowship of the burning heart. This fellowship is made up of men and women who love God above all else. Broken and consecrated, they yield in simple surrender to God’s will.

To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), 14.

The “burning heart” ones passionately desire God’s glory over and against the world’s passing pleasures. God will repeat his guidance repeatedly to those who love him and long to do his will. The Holy Trinity’s goal in guiding us is not to bring us into a painless life of ease and comfort. The Father’s ultimate goal in speaking is to develop a deepening love relationship with us. He will lead us step-by-step to keep us dependent on his help and assistance in the midst of the surprises and difficulties of life.

The Basics

Basic truths about God’s guidance: if you are born from above, you hear God. The Father knows you by name and is personally concerned about your personal concerns (1 Peter 5:7). God speaks through a variety of means: each designed to act as a confirming agent of his direction. In addition, a believer instinctively knows the difference between God’s voice, the sinful nature, and Satan’s deception.

Let it be made known, God always leads us to be actively engaged in personal ministry, corporate worship, responsible relationships, and sacramental participation. We have an individual relationship with the Lord, but we are not individualists (1 Cor. 12:27). We value other believers for they see our blind spots: they assist us in hearing God by reminding us of our weaknesses. Last, the Holy Spirit will never contradict his own written Word, the Bible.


As believers, we should all expect to hear God. His speaking may be as low-key as a nudge in our spirits or as dramatic as a face-to-face encounter with Jesus himself. The expectation of the Christian life is a personal, intimate, communicative relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.