Taste and See Nick Ballenger

March 19, 2019

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)

I remember one day when I was teaching high school Bible, I had a parent email me and ask if we could setup a meeting. If you’ve ever taught, then you know that phone calls from parents are not normally what you want as a teacher, and I honestly had no idea what the mom’s concern was since her daughter had a B in my class at the time.

If you teach long enough you will find that there are some parents, and even students, who do not find B’s satisfactory (though the grade actually means “above average”). I assumed that this mom was one of those parents, and would want to know what the student could do to bring up her average.

I was wrong.

The student’s mom came to my classroom after school, and after a few pleasantries, said that she was concerned about her daughter. She said that her daughter had an older sister that had attended the school before and she enjoyed Bible class and had an amazing experience with the Lord while in high school.

The mother was concerned that the student was not “acting with the same passion towards the Lord” as her older sister, and wanted to know what she could do about it.

It was then that I understood that the mom and I wanted the same things; we both wanted her daughter to know and love the Lord. I spoke to the mom about the spiritual life of her daughter, and finally said to her, “Ma’am, I can tell your daughter about the greatness of Christ, but I can’t make her love Him.”

This is what’s frustrating for parents, pastors, professors and all who want to have a positive influence for Christ. We cannot make anyone fall in love with Jesus.

Imagine that you are a single woman, and that your friend is attempting to set you up on a blind date. She tells you that the guy she’s setting you up with is handsome, has a job, all his teeth and no longer lives with his mom.

After hearing those stunning details you agree to go out with him, and enjoy your time on the date, but you don’t see yourself marrying the guy.

This news frustrates your friend, and you tell her that while you enjoyed meeting him and think he’s a great guy, you’re not ready to be in a serious relationship with him. Your friend pleads “Oh please, marry him. He’s great! He’s rich! He’s the most handsome man in the world!” And yet, there’s just no connection.

That’s how it is sometimes in evangelism. We plead, beg, preach and witness about the greatness of God and the amazing Person that He is, and yet, some people do not want a relationship with Him.

We can tell others, and we should, about the greatness of our King and even show them the change that He has made in our lives and the lives of others, and they can still be indifferent about the whole thing. It can be frustrating.

Consider the Israelites in the Old Testament. Seeing the power of the Lord through the plagues of Egypt, the desert and at Mt. Sinai and yet still – unbelief.

In the New Testament there were many who claimed that Jesus was casting out demons by demonic power. These people were encountering God Himself showing His power, and yet still – unbelief.

But what about ourselves? How many times did you hear the gospel before you came to Christ? How many times did you hear testimony after testimony before surrendering to the Lord?

Or how about this question, how many times do we currently doubt our Lord? How many times do we think He’s not sufficient?

Brothers and sisters we must be patient with those we witness to. While we may think we’ve proven our case and argued so well for Jesus, we must continue to pray for those we interact with to hear the gospel with accepting hearts.

In our own lives, we must preach the gospel to ourselves daily and reaffirm the faith that we have through the Word of God. His Word tells us that we are loved, that we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus and that God wants to be with His children forever.

It is important to evangelize and to witness to those that don’t yet know the Lord, and how can we do that effectively if we ourselves do not know that the Lord is good and worth all that we have. Paul says,

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)

We know what the Word of God says, what Paul’s opinion of Christ is, and there are times where our opinion matches these. By occasionally our hearts wonder, and often they go to other lesser loves. It is in these moments that we must preach the gospel to ourselves; remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God and the joy that comes from knowing Him.

Anyone can have their head turned by a fleeting look, but where does the heart rest? Where is your treasure that you would sacrifice everything for? I pray that it is found in Christ and that in daily reading and time with Him you are falling more and more in love with this great Savior who came to rescue!

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