Faith – Obedience – Patience, Pt 1
A pastor at the end of his morning message extended the call for people to come forward to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
That morning a five year old boy 👦 came down the aisle. When the pastor saw how young he was, instead of leading him in prayer to accept salvation from Jesus, he closed the service and took the youngster to his office.
There the pastor began to ask the child a series of theological questions that would challenge adults. The more he questioned the child, the more confused 😕 the child became.
Finally, the child interrupted the pastor and said to him, “Pastor, you told us that if we believed in Jesus Christ, He would save us from our sins. Please help me be saved, and stop ✋ asking me all those questions.” The pastor led him in prayer 🙏 and the boy confessed his faith in Jesus and was gloriously saved!
You don’t have to understand theology to be saved! Just trust Jesus, and you will have an eternity to understand God better and better! It’s what makes Heaven Heaven 🌅!
“I challenge you to BELIEVE IN GOD TO THE HILT, OR ELSE DON’T BELIEVE IN HIM AT ALL. Believe in the BIBLE OF GOD, every word of it, or totally REJECT IT! SWIM 🏊 IN THE DEPTHS OF GOD WITH LIMITED UNDERSTANDING, rather than paddling in the shallows of God with more understanding. The latter is dry land faith, and is good for nothing.” – Charles Spurgeon
This is the HEART 💓 OF FAITH, and here is the big RUB for saucy, smart, brainy man:
“FAITH IS THE TOTAL SUBMISSION OF OUR UNDERSTANDING TO WHAT GOD COMMANDS US TO BELIEVE❕❕❕”
Yes, that requires a TRIPLE EXCLAMATION MARK❕❕❕Can’t say it often enough, and can’t say it loud enough! Hear this huge we must:
“WITHOUT A HUMBLE, YIELDED, SUBMITTED BRAIN, FAITH CANNOT TAKE ROOT IN OUR HEARTS!”
If you will:
“FAITH CANNOT EXIST WITH A BIG HEAD!”
You know, the guy who must figure everything out and have 10 reasons for everything. That guy will say things to you like:
-Let me tell you something!
-Listen close to me now!
-If I can’t explain it, it don’t exist!
-Follow me, and you will never go wrong!
FAITH will never find a place in that man’s soul!
That is exactly why we read these mutually exclusive words in Proverbs 3:5,
“TRUST (BELIEVE-FAITH) IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART, AND DO NOT LEAN ON(BASE YOURSELF UPON) YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING…”
There it is, the separation of the FAITHFUL and the FAITHLESS! In the first, FAITH (TRUST) IS KING 👑, and in the latter REASON IS KING 👑. It is a roadmap to God 👆 and away from God 👇.
Jesus says in John 14:1,
“BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME.” (Two of the most important commands, if not the most important commands in all of the Bible.)
Two equitable commands. Jesus meant it that way! To believe in one is to believe in the other! God is God, and Jesus is God. But how can two be God? In your head, they can’t! But in God they can and do! Don’t trust your understanding, trust God. You acknowledge Him as God, and He will lead you straight to Heaven and away from Hell! He is the only one who can.
He did not say,
“UNDERSTAND GOD, UNDERSTAND ME ALSO.”
“WE CAN KNOW GOD PERSONALLY AND INTIMATELY, BUT WE CANNOT KNOW HIM COMPREHENSIVELY.”
If we could, He wouldn’t be God!
II CORINTHIANS 5:7 tells us,
“WE LIVE BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT.”
“SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING, BUT BELIEVING IS SEEING!”
“UNDERSTANDING IS NOT BELIEVING, BUT BELIEVING IS UNDERSTANDING.”
If you will,
“LIGHT 💡 DOES NOT TURN FAITH ON, BUT FAITH TURNS THE LIGHT 💡 ON!”
Now hear it again,
“FAITH IS THE TOTAL SUBMISSION OF OUR UNDERSTANDING TO WHAT GOD COMMANDS IS TO BELIEVE!”
NOT EASY IN OUR WORLD
This has been dubbed THE AGE OF REASON. If you will:
“THE PRIMACY OF REASON 🔼 OVER FAITH 🔽.”
“IF IT ISN’T REASONABLE 👆, IT ISN’T BELIEVABLE. 👇”
“IT IS THE SUPREMACY OF THE RATIONAL 🎓 OVER THE SPIRITUAL 🙏.”
“IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT 🌕, YOU CANNOT PUT YOUR FAITH IN 🌑 IT.”
In our society, REASON IS BOTH JUDGE AND JURY. People follow the VERDICT OF THEIR REASONING, and all the other faculties of man must conform. His will, his emotions, his desires all must bow to the foreman of the jury – HUMAN REASON!
And if you don’t follow human reason, not only will they call you unreasonable, but they will call you stupid and retarded! They will call you a FAITH FRUITCAKE!
THE CASE OF JOB
DID YOU EVER HEAR 👂 THE PHRASE,
“BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?”
That it’s true, and in Job’s case, that was the classic understatement. According to Job 1:1,
“JOB WAS BLAMELESS AND UPRIGHT, AND HE WAS REPULSED BY EVIL.”
Then Job 1:3 tells us that,
“HE WAS THE GREATEST MAN IN ALL THE EAST!”
He was a family man with a wife and 10 children. He also was a cattle rancher of unheard of proportions.
Then for the man from the east, things went south in unheard of proportions:
1. The cattle rustling Sabeans came and stole 1000 oxen 🐮 and 500 donkeys, and killed all the ranch hands pertaining thereto.
2. The fire 🔥 of God came and killed 7000 sheep 🐑 and all of the shepherds pertaining thereto.
3. The Chaldeans came and stole 3000 camels 🐪 and all the servants pertaining thereto.
4. A rare eastern cyclone came and killed his 3 daughters and 7 sons, leaving him only with a God-cursing wife 😠.
Sorry about the cold statistics 🔢 and me sounding like an even colder statistician 📠. How can you compute something like that, when you end up with what feels like less than nothing =-O?
Who in the world ever heard of something so JOBIAN and devastatingly catastrophic for one person? In recent times, there have been entire families wiped out by horrendous car accidents, or by some psychopath who murders his entire household and then kills himself! But 10 children and your entire cattle ranch and all of your servants!?
Of course, the Jewish Holocaust wiping out millions and thousands of families stands alone.
But then again, who in the world ever heard of CORONA VIRUS that has killed over 19,000 Americans and 94,000 across the globe 🌎 in a matter of a few months? And the networks keep score complete with SPIKES, SURGES, LEVELINGS, HOT SPOTS AND STOCK MARKET PLUNGES.
Statistics conceal more than they reveal! There is no heart!
Job’s response – quite typical! Job 23:2-4,
“EVEN NOW MY COMPLAINT IS REBELLIOUS, HIS HAND ✋ IS HEAVY DESPITE MY GROANING.”
“IF ONLY I KNEW WHERE TO FIND HIM,
IF ONLY I COULD GO TO HIS DWELLING.”
“I WOULD LAY OUT MY CASE BEFORE HIM, I WOULD FILL MY MOUTH 😩 WITH ARGUMENTS.”
Of course Job, of course! We all would! We did when our only two daughters died of ovarian cancer in their early 50s within a 3 year period. Breathless and broken, we too could not find God! He seemed very far away, and we could not make sense out of anything!
Job now wants to have several arguments with his Maker! He wants to dispute the entire disaster with Almighty God! He has several REASONS why God is wrong! After all:
“HOW DARE GOD TREAT SUCH UPRIGHTNESS WITH SO MUCH MEANNESS?”
And after all:
“HE FAITHFULLY OFFERED SACRIFICES TO GOD ON BEHALF OF HIS CHILDREN IN CASE THEY HAD COMMITTED SECRET SINS.”
“EVEN IF GOD HAD AN OUGHT AGAINST HIM, HE CERTAINLY COULD HAVE EMPLOYED GENTLER METHODS!”
He admits it – EVERYTHING IN HIM, INCLUDING HIS SMART REASONING, IS IN REBELLION AGAINST GOD! He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last! Nor will I!
Until at length, the boiling of his emotions having exhausted themselves 😰, and his reason having run out of arguments 😝, he utters himself many octaves lower in Job 40:4-5,
“I AM VILE, WHAT SHALL I ANSWER THEE? I WILL LAY MY HAND UPON MY MOUTH 😱. ONCE I HAVE SPOKEN, BUT I WILL NOT ANSWER 😷.”
Hard learned fact:
“NO MAN CAN BE SAID TO TRULY BELIEVE UNTIL HE TOTALLY SUBMITS HIS REASON TO GOD!”
Might just as well learn it now,
“NO ONE CAN COME INTO TRUE FAITH WHILE HIS MIND IS IN MUTINY AND REBELLION!”
It is right here that countless scores of people have ended up faithless! This is the stumbling block – the unwillingness to silence the disputes of FINITE HUMAN REASON AGAINST INFINITE DIVINE REASON.
But when reason is silenced in those painful and perplexing times in our lives, then and only then with full faith in God can we come to say:
“IT IS SO BECAUSE IT OUGHT TO BE
“IT IS NOT ONLY RIGHT GOD, BUT GOOD FOR ME THAT YOU HAVE AFFLICTED ME.”
BEING AND WELL BEING
You see, we equate the two! At least subconsciously we do! By we I mean mankind not only, but even religious mankind.
“WE WILL ADMIT THAT GOD GAVE US BEING AS LONG AS IT IS ATTENDED BY WELL BEING.”
By WELL BEING what is commonly meant is GOOD HEALTH – GOOD WEALTH – GOOD SUCCESS 👍!
That is what man generally means when he says to someone, “BE WELL!”
“BUT LET THERE BE UNWELL BEING, THAT IS WHEN PEOPLE’S FAITH DROPS TO THE BOTTOM OF THE DRY WELL.”
But you see 👀, and now get a HOLD of this strong, and let it get a HOLD of you even stronger:
“GOD DOES NOT VIEW WELL BEING AT ALL THE WAY MAN DOES – HEALTH 💪 – WEALTH💰- SUCCESS 🏆!”
No, and let this grab us stronger still:
“GOD’S DEFINITION OF WELL-BEING IS BEING CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST!” (Romans 8:29)
To be like Jesus in thought, word, and deed, now we are talking about WELL BEING! I know very healthy, wealthy, successful people who are terribly UNWELL. WHY? Because it is not WELL WITH THEIR SOULS! (III John 1:2)
We love to quote Romans 8:28,
“ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD.”
We love 💓 that verse, and WELL WE SHOULD! But we quote it out of context, for the very next verse tells what the GOOD is that God is working – ENABLING US TO BE LIKE JESUS!
“That ENABLING can only come about by His DISENABLING us – OUCH!”
Like Charles Spurgeon once said to God,
“LORD, PINCH ME HARD IF THE BLUENESS 😰 OF THE WOUND MAKES ME BETTER!”
How it all works I don’t know, and so I submit my brain to God’s infinite loving and all wise care!
Now comes the real stinger, and it is found in Ephesians 1:11,
“GOD WORKS ALL THINGS (not a few things, not some things, not most things, not a lot of things) HE WORKS ALL THINGS ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF THE COUNSEL OF HIS WILL!”
That means no matter what it is, whether He sent it or allowed it, IT HAS HIS FOOTPRINTS 👣 ALL OVER IT! That includes CORONA VIRUS!!! You name it, somehow somewhere God is in this, working all things together for good to those who love Him! And each day through it all, they look more and more like Jesus. Amen!
END OF PART 1