Category Archives: Faith

The Depth of Personal Faith


god-is-in-control

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:30)

A Question About the Depth of Personal Faith

Jesus asks some questions of his disciples that seem so very simple when you read them, but they actually are more difficult for most people to put into action in daily living. This same question has an obvious answer for all that most would agree to, but evaluation is called for at the conclusion which makes the illustration of Jesus much more challenging. The question Jesus poses to them is to consider the amount of faith that they have inasmuch as God cares for nature that does not possess the capacity to exercise faith.

The question does not focus upon God’s ability to supply what is needed, but the disciple’s ability to exercise faith to receive. As the contrast is established, Jesus says to them that God clothes the birds of the air with feathers, the grass in the fields with health and nutrition, and the beauty of the flowers have no worries about their existence.  It seems almost like hyperbole that sets a contrast from the extravagant emphasis upon God’s care for natural things. Jesus emphatically states the greater importance of His care for His disciples, who cannot seem to get past their concern for immediate needs and anxiety about how or when it will come.

I think that often we worry the most because we have a concern for an immediate and pressing need along with a diminished understanding of God’s concern for our lives. This unduly exposes a primary focus upon things superseding a primary focus upon God as an avenue of blessings in life. The statement Jesus made emphatically, “O ye of little faith” reminds all readers about how out of focus priorities become in Christian living as the focus shifts on things and end states. While so much concern apparently arises as a natural human response, it is a misplaced concern with holding on to money and acquiring things first. In a stark contrast, the emphasis centers upon putting God first and focusing efforts upon seeking on His (kingdom-rule) over our heart-life to construct a life of faith. The application stands out clearly that disciples must learn that God precedes all of the material things in life.

Obviously birds don’t have faith, the ability to reason, nor does grass have the ability to worry; they simply live out their existence as they are designed. However, in a contrast disciples are given the ability to think and develop faith; then, reflect their true identity as a believer. The matter that is disappointing points to the failure of this band of disciples to spend time developing a faith life focused upon God instead directing their concerns toward the material matters of life. A lesson Jesus teaches in the story elevates the central importance of our priorities in what we are seeking in life. The message clearly speaks that disciples are to seek Him and in doing so, place their lives in a position to develop faith in Him, instead of worrying about fading material things.

It is hard to wrap our head around the idea that God is supernatural and out of a life of devotion to Him that God will orchestrate things we cannot imagine in human terms. Unfortunately, the fact that faith is developed out of the fires of life, keeps many out of focus until the day that the fire changes our life focus from things on this earth to the Father and His purpose. Today is a good day to change the focus of life and make a commitment to seek Him and His Lordship over life.

Prayer for today: Father may my faith develop a trusting, knowing, powerful faith that will take my focus off of holding on to things, money, or material goods a source of security. In the fires of my life today, develop a faithful trust in a sovereign God who can bless my life with good things as I seek you first, your reign, your rule over my life today.

Advertisements

What Do You Want From Jesus? Persistence, Trust, and Faith: The Pathway to Receiving


There was in a city a judge, which feared not 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. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith (Luke 18:2-5).

Faith and Persistence to Ask for What you Need –Some People Give up to Quickly

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. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?  (Luke 18: 2-8).

The 18th Chapter of Luke is filled with a string of stories that illustrate how limitations are placed on God because of the fear of expressing faith by being a nuisance, by having doubts, not being willing to surrender all that we have, and just not asking when we need to speak up with faith and boldness.  Sometimes we find ourselves in the position that irritates others and us because of our continual asking.  That was the example that Jesus gave of a woman going before an ungodly Judge who responded to persistence that became a nuisance.

A spiritual lesson taught is persistence in our requests can bring results, when we do not give up to quickly.  The tendency of Christians is to try to handle things on our own instead of continuing to ask God for solutions.  When we continue to ask, continuing to ask is an act of faith that says this is something that we cannot handle ourselves.

Simply Trust Without Complicated Doubts

But, Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.  (Luke 18: 16-17).

So often in the Christian life, we have such complicated questions about the things we desire to see God do when all that is required is simple faith and trust.  One of the problems that adults have is they over-think and try to out-think God.  All the time during our asking, God is trying to get us to return to simple, child-like faith and trust in what He says.  Simplicity, not complication is the answer to a life of faith, trust, and obedience–trust,” like a little child.”  When you want the Kingdom of Heaven –God’s rule, God’s presence, and God’s blessing simply trust without complicated doubts.

Eternal Life without Surrender from a Life of Good Works to Life of Unconditional Faith

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  None is good, save one, that is, God.  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that   thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?  And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.  (Luke 18:18-27).

Everything is possible with God when we are willing to give to God a life of total surrender and abandon the things our flesh treasures most.  The story of the rich young ruler illustrates that there are people who know the commands, but not know the commander.  It is obvious when there is an absence of total surrender.  What he had, what he was, His social status stood in the way of a life of discipleship.  Gaining eternal life begins at the moment when we surrender to Christ.  However, discipleship begins when we are able to totally surrender all that we have, all that we are, and all we posses in the flesh to follow Jesus into a life of submission to bear our cross and follow him.  Obviously, this is difficult for people who rate the value of their life by things, appearance, status, and position.  To surrender means giving up their identity and all of those things that are their god’s and the lord over their lives.  In fact, they are idols because they are valued more than surrender to a life of following God’s purpose.  If you want eternal life, Jesus says that we must be willing to give up, surrender, submit, and follow Him into the life of a disciple.  Maybe you should ask yourself the question about what God wants you to give up today in order to follow him and gain a life that is blessed by God.

Healing from Blindness and Asking in Faith

What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?  And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee (Luke18:41-42).

Much of our asking in prayer is just reading a laundry list of things that are bothering us creating difficulty, or just complaints to God.  The real question is what do you really want from God?  When you can figure that out, you have solved half of the equation. So, the question was asked and the answer was simply and straightforward, “that I may receive my sight,” There was a felt need and he recognized that He was blind.  There was no equivocation about the problem because it was clearly understood in his experience of life.  There is someone reading this that may be blind physically or spiritually.  The difference is that if you are physically blind, you know it, but if your spiritually blind, the only way that you will know it is for the Holy Spirit to reveal your blindness.  Whether it is physical, as in this case, or spiritual relief can only come when you express that you do not want be blind, but want to see.  It takes the expression of faith in the ability of Jesus recognized as Lord.  Notice He did not say that his faith healed him, it says, “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.”

Held Back by a Lack of Trust that God Can Make Your Desires a reality.

Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past.  We say, “I always failed there, and I always will”.  Consequently, we don’t ask for what we want. Instead, we think, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.”  If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask.  If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance and God will do what is absolutely impossible.

This man received his sight.  However, the most impossible thing for you is to be so closely identified with the Lord that there is literally nothing of your old life remaining.  God will do it if you will ask Him.  But you have to come to the point of believing Him to be almighty.  We find faith by not only believing what Jesus says, but also, even more, by trusting Jesus Himself.  If we only look at what He says, we will never believe.  Once we see Jesus, the impossible things He does in our lives become as natural as breathing.  The agony we suffer is only the result of the deliberate shallowness of our own heart.  When we will not believe; we will not enter into a life of faith by severing the line that secures the boat to the shore, instead we prefer to worry, rather than have faith.

Prayer for today: Father I praise You I belong to you and are your unique creation.  Help my desires for life to be clear and consistent with your purpose for my existence and your will.  Help me to be submissive by first surrendering my life to you to experience salvation.  Help me surrender everything in my life to be totally surrendered, submitted, and subdued in your grace and power.

Enhanced by Zemanta