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13 November, 2012

Faith, Our Stumbling Block

Faith is not an abstract thing. As Christian we must move forward with God until our faith becomes genuine, authentic, with not a shred of doubt. Faith will always be a mystery to unbelievers and we cannot blame them because they are in darkness. It becomes an alarming problem that needs to be addressed when we have been Christians for a while, yet faith is still elusive to us. Without faith, we cannot please God. Faith is a gift from God and He will never give you more until you use what you possess. Thus, faith will always be tested by God. The Israelites never understood that. You see, God has never changed, in the same way He tested the Israelites, He does the same for each one of us as well. Until God tests our faith to make it personal to us, we do not realize that what we call faith is more like “faith in our own beliefs” instead of faith in Him. Faith in our own belief is so strong and real that we can live a lifetime as Christian, never possessing the real thing yet we are not aware of it. But, once faith is tested, it becomes tangible; it is no longer an abstract or just sentimentality. Faith really needs to be anchored down in the person of Jesus Christ. Every time He increases our faith, three things will happen. The first one is that we know him more intimately. The second thing is that we know ourselves better, though His eyes. The third thing is that there will be another hurdle few months that the road to increase faith once more.  

When we read the Israelite’s story from Exodus to Joshua specifically, if you pay close attention you will notice that God would take the Israelites to a mountain top experience, then He would put them through a test. In essence what He was saying is this: “guys, I just revealed more of me to you, now show me that you believe that I am who I say I am”. Our problem which was also the problem of the Israelites, to pass the test of faith God put us through we need to step out of ourselves and it is hard to do when you are hurting and uncertain of what the next step is going to be. In the case of the Israelites, they knew God provided for them, but whenever difficulties aroused all they could think about what was going to happen to them. What God wanted from them was so they would say, “okay, we know you are God, so we are going to trust you and even if it means you are taking all that we possess but because we know who you are, it is well with our souls”. While it is hard to be in this frame of mind when you are being tested, however, it is not impossible.  

This is why this life we have in Him is a life that needs to be lived intentionally for Him. If not, we miss out on almost every cue that He presents to us. For us Christians, our faith is anchored in Christ and His Cross. It is Christ that has to keep getting bigger and bigger in our lives and as He gets bigger, our faith increases too. Answers for faith cannot be provided to us unless we go forward, possessing Him in every fiber of our being. There is no other way about it. We cannot know what is spiritual with common sense and spiritual blindness comes from disobedience. Christ cannot reveal anything to our soul, unless we are ready and have been prepared for it.

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Oswald Chambers Devotion for today

Faith or Experience?

. . . the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me —Galatians 2:20
We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, “I haven’t had this experience or that experience”! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides— He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified. Stand in absolute adoring faith “in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:30). How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices!
We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— not a “prayer meeting” Jesus Christ, or a “book” Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet. Our faith must be in the One from whom our salvation springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself. We can never experience Jesus Christ, or selfishly bind Him in the confines of our own hearts. Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him.
It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.