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03 October, 2013

Faith – Part 8

Hebrews 6:11-12 “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Our faith in the crucified and ascended Christ has to be demonstrated in the way we live out our Christianity and without putting our faith into practice, well, we have NOTHING. It does not matter how good we feel about what we think we have, because if there is no faith, there is no substance, no God, no heaven and no nothing.  Yet, faith is not something that we conjure up out of the blue. It is not like living out some disjointed notion about God as we go on our merry way doing what feels right. If we take the Israelites in the wilderness for a moment we can vividly see that they never understood what faith meant and they never understood how important it was to apply it in their daily walk either. They were not in the mood to learn and they were too busy thinking about what’s in it for them. In their case, the need to possess the land of Canaan was all they could think of while they rejected the giver.

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I am not saying that about the Israelites because I want to criticize them, it is there in black and white in the Bible for us to see that at any moment in our lives we could be like one of them. In fact, I had someone else’s in mind to give you as an example for this post, until I was caught in the same dilemma up until two days ago. I was lying down in bed while in pain with a cold that does not want to let go and I got to thinking about my life. Would you believe while I was in that frame of mind, all that I could see was how lousy my life is and how God is putting me through unnecessary hoops. All of the sudden I felt like a combination of job when he was lamenting and I also was in a winning mood like the Israelites in the wilderness. I had so much pain within because I felt God could be a little bit more merciful since I passed all the numerous trials He put me through. Then all of the sudden I realized as I was in bed crying because I felt so bad for myself, that my thoughts toward God were not at all flattering.

I stopped myself right there. Yes I was still in pain and I felt the only way I could feel better about myself is if I could bash God and let Him have it. But, I also knew within me, that's going onto a slippery slope extremely dangerous and I am opening a door to Satan that I might not be able to close behind me so easily. So, I grabbed onto all the strength that I could muster to stop and think about God’s word.  Honestly, even though I stopped myself from being bashful and critical about God, but, I was not in the mood to hear those verses about how good and faithful He is. These things are knowledge that I possessed already and they are part of my very fibber that makes me who I am in Him which is a holy child of God living a life of intimacy and love with Him.

When I was living this deplorable moment, I was not LIVING in the Spirit. When we allow ourselves to live in the flesh for a moment, it can be devastating and unlike David who gave in, to the point where he murdered Uriah the Hittite in an effort to cover up his sin we have to take a page from his book and stop when we realize what we are about to do. Don’t give into it, and do not even bother to continue your train of thoughts. In David’s case the minute he kept looking at Bathsheba bathing from his balcony he opened the door for Satan to enter.

It is strange to describe myself as a loving child of God, yet having a mind capable of thinking the worse thoughts about Him. That is because in our nature, there is nothing good in us. I knew I had to leave this mindset behind me and go back to what I knew of His word found in Job chapter 38 and 39. When you look at these two chapters you can summarize it in few words, God basically said to Job those seven words “who the heck you think you are?” Remember how much He bragged about Job and what kind of man he was (Job 1: 8. If you play close attention to this verse you will also see that God directed Satan’s heart onto Job. This shows you that no matter how far we travel with God, we cannot escape Satan in tempting us to get us in the gutter with Him.

As I thought about those words God said to Job in chapters 38 & 39, I was put in my place and learned again that it is not my place to question God’s way. If He feels the needs to put ten thousand obstacles in my path and frustrate every plan that I have, while putting only 10 obstacles in any other Christian’s path instead of thousands like me, then it must be the right thing for His own purpose. Believe me when I tell you that I felt awful toward God afterwards, just for knowing that I can hurt Him in this manner.

The writer of Hebrews tells us we cannot afford to become lazy and we have to show diligence. What do you think that is? Because first of all we are on a journey and God arranged it in a way that we can only live this life of faith as long as we hang onto Him and recognize that apart from Him we can do nothing. He wants us to learn to live a life dependent completely on Him so that we can find the strength and grace needed to continue the journey. What I shared with you above, about my sin is something that could happen to anyone of us, especially when you are living a life of one distress after another and you have no idea when enough is enough for God.

I am able to continue what seems like a God forsaken life, because I learned to live and walk in the Spirit instead of walking after the flesh. I rest the whole weight of my life and situation on Him. I can do that, not because I am gullible or because of some vague idea of faith I muster on my own. I know He is real, I know His promises are true and His word calls for an obedience to trust and obey that equate to faith.  His word says that the just shall live by faith and faith is always tested by God. While there is pain in watching the residue of my life now, I know I cannot shrink back. I keep going because His word expects me to submit to His will for me through any kind of difficulties and however long He chooses the difficulties should last.

I shared my experience with you because I share the good and the bad. Secondly, God showed me something today. Times like the one I experienced two days ago, instead of dealing with my pain, I would have gone to my ungodly friend and take a break from God for a few hours, but this time I did not have the luxury. I also shared because what happened to me and the way I dealt with it to avoid backsliding even for a few days is also an example of what God calls endurance through faith exercised as I made use of my daily portion of grace in Him.

The Christian life is a life where we have to continue believing till the end. John 3:36 did not say He who BEILEVED in past tense. It is rather whoever believes and continues to believe day in day out.

John 3:36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”