Monthly Archives: September 2017

Give Your Faith A Lift

October 2017

 

Give your faith a lift!

I learned a lot of wonderful truths when I attended RHEMA Bible Training Center years ago. In one of our classes the teacher pointed out that God has made available to us forces that aid or cooperate with our faith. The obvious one is love. Galatians 5:6 shows that faith works, or is energized, by love.

Another powerful partner of faith is laid out for us in Hebrews 6:11, 12.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Faith and patience are to be imitated. When we observe others who are realizing God’s promises, we should watch and learn.

Verse 11 describes the attitude we’re to have in this. First we’re told to “show the same diligence.” Strong’s Concordance renders the meaning “interest oneself most earnestly.” In other words, this is one of those areas that requires our attention. “Hope” describes a joyful, confident expectation. Don’t lose hope!

In verse 12 we’re told not to “become sluggish.” According to the dictionary, sluggish has these meanings: slow-moving or inactive; lacking in energy or alertness; slow to respond or make progress. Obviously being sluggish is not being diligent. I think we all want to “inherit the promises.” [Inherit means to receive – or become a partaker of – your portion.] Therefore faith and patience need to be imitated.

Faith is well defined in Hebrews 11:1 – it gives our hopes substance and is our evidence of promises which can’t yet be seen. In light of that, one of the things we should be diligent about is gathering evidence. If we’re experiencing a struggle in our finances, for example, our accounts may be providing evidence of lack. Our part then is to gather evidence to override that. It begins with musing on scriptures like “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack),” [Psalm 23:1] and “… my God shall supply all your need …” [Philippians 4:19] Add to that using the imagination to “experience” the provision. Faith releases God’s grace – His ability in us to do what we couldn’t on our own. As believers faith can (and should) become our natural response to difficult times.

Then we come to “patience.” I can tell you that my understanding of patience years ago was that I was waiting – waiting on God to heal, deliver, prosper or whatever. Then I discovered there’s a flaw in that understanding. Healing, deliverance, forgiveness, peace, provision, security, etc., are already accomplished for us in Christ! There’s no such thing as waiting for what’s already done!

Well, what does patience mean then? Strong’s gives this definition: “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says patience is “the quality which does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.”

If you’re scratching your head trying to digest all that, think of it this way. Going back to our illustration, in the midst of financial hardship we’re assured that everything needed has already been provided. Therefore there’s no reason to quit or even become discouraged (hopeless). Psalm 42:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

An insurance company add used to tell us that when we purchased their insurance we were in good hands. Our true assurance is that we’re in good hands when our faith and patience are leaning securely on our loving heavenly Father!

Faith and patience have been called the power twins!

Do You Know Him?

Most people – Christian or not – would say they know God. Our English word “know” can mean a number of different things. A majority of people would say, “I know God.” Unfortunately most would be referring to knowing ABOUT HIM, not really knowing Him.  God wants more than His creation knowing about Him. Adam and God communed together. God has always wanted a close, intimate relationship with man. And now, through Jesus, that fellowship is available again – and even more!

It’s really sad that we’ve come to be satisfied with a level of intimacy so far below what Jesus provides. And believe me, I’m not judging you, because I’ve been in the same boat. There have been a few times in my life when I finally got dissatisfied enough to do something about it. I think I’m at that place again.

I read once of a married couple who were cruising along a familiar street when suddenly they were passed by another vehicle. As the other car pulled away the wife quipped from the passenger seat, “Did you see how close they were sitting together? Why don’t we sit close like that anymore?” It was quiet for a moment, after which the husband replied, “I haven’t moved.”

Well, we can be assured that God hasn’t moved either! [Malachi 3:2; Hebrews 13:8] But through Jesus He has opened the door to a kind of fellowship beyond all we could ask or think. If we’re born of God we are both qualified and capable of enjoying communion like this every day, in good times and bad.

Jesus defined what our attitude toward God should be when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:37-39] For one thing, loving God is assessing Him great value in your life. And notice that Jesus ties together loving God and loving others. Plus, He tells us the criteria for loving is “as yourself.” To me that means if I don’t see value in myself, I won’t see it in anyone else either.

Are you recognizing, as I am, that truly knowing and loving God requires that I truly know myself? By “truly knowing myself” I mean knowing who I am in Christ and who He is in me. Having taught biblical truths for almost 40 years now, I’m aware of lots of scriptures about who I am in Christ. I’m becoming aware also that knowing where the scriptures are found or even quoting them won’t get it done. It’s my heart-level awareness that counts. What do I down deep, passionately believe about myself? If there are discrepancies on this level, loving myself, others and God are all affected.

Thank God there are ways to change our heart-level awareness! There’s no time or space to share them all here. Let me emphasize one very important one – meditation. Meditation is a wonderful tool we’re all equipped with. Here are three verses that laud its importance:

Psalm 1:1-3 –   Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Purpose to meditate – meditate on purpose! See yourself, even innately experience yourself to be as God says you are!