Saturday, April 25, 2009

Without Faith...

The Scriptures tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

There are times in our lives which we face where we know with perfect certainty that there is no other way to deal with these issues than to trust the Lord. With sincere hearts full of expectancy we cast those cares upon the Lord and look to Him for provision and guidance. Then hours, or even minutes, later, our hearts are churned up again, seemingly with the same turmoil we had before we even prayed about the situation initially.

Does that churning in our heart mean we have no faith in the matter? Does it mean we did not truly "cast our cares" upon Him? Does it mean we are not pleasing the Lord because we do not have faith to believe Him in the situation?

We would be foolish to deny that it could mean those things, for everyone of us can at some point be deceived. Even the Apostle Paul spoke of keeping his body under subjection, lest he become a "castaway". (1Corinthians 9:27) But there are other dynamics at work here to be focused upon.

When we became believers in the Lord Jesus, the Bible states that we were, somehow in the mystery that is known only to God, crucified with Christ and "buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. " (Romans 6:4) We were crucified with Him, put to death and then we were raised with Christ Jesus as a "new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17 ) Our spirits are joined with the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures say that "he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." Corinthians 6:17)

So we have this wonderfully new spirit inside of us that seeks to do the will of God, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). But that spirit, joined to the Spirit of God (which could not do evil while joined to the Spirit of God, could it?) is clothed upon with a mortal body which still has not been redeemed. Let me give an illustration.

If I went out in the yard and did yard work all day during the summer, I would become quite dirty, sweaty and smelly. When I came inside I could take a shower with my favorite Mandarin/Bergamot scented soap. My body would smell marvelous. If I were then to put back on the dirty, sweaty and smelly body would be clean and sparkling, but I would be clothed in that which had not yet been Tide had yet touched those clothes.

This is what has happened to every believer. Our spirits are marvelously clean and sparkling with the Righteousness of the Lamb that has been granted to us by His sacrifice on Calvary. But our bodies still have in them the law of sin, "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." (Romans 7:23) This law of sin pulls at our flesh and we become sorely tempted by the world, our enemy and yes, even our own flesh.

Here is where the real faith steps in. Faith in the situation is not a "wish-list' of "Lord, I want this and that. Lord, do this and that." Our faith is when we feel in our flesh the pulls and stings of the law of sin, but we know in our heart what the Scriptures have said is true about our Spirits and we agree with the Lord that it is true. Regardless of what we see now, regardless of what we have seen in the past, we agree that it is true. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for," not "things" as in tangible, monetary things, although we often must trust the Lord for provision in times of need. The things we are hoping for are to see the fruits of the Spirit walked out through our own spirits in spite of the law of sin in "our members", as Paul referred to our flesh. This is the walk of faith.

Does that mean that there is no churning of the heart, then? Does this eliminate the feelings of fear? By no means, for even Paul said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. " (2 Corinthians 4:9-10) The times when we feel the least able to fight the battle of faith, the times when we feel the weakest, are the times of His greatest ability to be Strength in and through us.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
2 Corinthians 12:10

No comments: