Tuesday, December 31, 2019

God Always Requires More Faith For The Next Step

As you actively pursue this life of faith, you will discover that God wants to take you deeper and farther. (I say pursue because for many it is not a pursuit, merely a possession with no intent to deepen the relationship with God.) It seems that our faith is never quite mature enough to match the next purpose God has for us. We have two choices at that point, to open our hearts and minds and submit our will in obedience by faith or to say “I can’t do it” or “I won’t do it” or “I don’t understand why I should do it.” As I have faced greater and greater challenges in God’s leading over the years, I have also found greater joy and blessing by saying “yes” and trusting God. You have heard the saying “I don’t trust you any farther than I can throw you?” Well, you can trust God knowing, no matter what comes your way,  that His intent is in growing you. Christian, as you go about living your life, put your faith in God’s leading, follow Him in obedience and stop depending solely upon what you see.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.” ― 2 Corinthians 5:7

A pastor and his wife were the one family we helped while we were in Mississippi. The pastor was disabled and unable to do the difficult work of rebuilding. Martie and I had been, "generally aware", of a pastor and his wife who lost their home and their church to the storm for a few months. I had sent volunteers out to their trailer to encourage them and to assess their needs, but we had not visited them personally. Martie kept meticulous records and mentioned that we needed to stop by to see how they were doing. The pastor had been in the hospital when Katrina made landfall and had not been physically able to do anything with regards to rebuilding his home or the church. Helping them seemed to be beyond what we could do.

While returning from delivering sheds to families in Pearlington I received a call from Art, a friend who inspected FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) trailers for FEMA. Art asked if there was any way we could pay a visit to ― you guessed it ― the pastor, to talk to him about his roof. We "just happened" to be driving by the road that led to his house. I "just happened" to have a roofer sitting in the back seat of my truck. To make this story a bit shorter, after that phone call, we reroofed his house, installed all of the wiring in the home, set exterior doors, installed a heating and air conditioning system, and completed the rough-in plumbing. God hears the prayers of the righteous, and He heard that pastor. And ultimately, we did more than repair his roof, we finished his house.

We have had our faith challenged in this way, many times over the years. So often, I have struggled with my thinking that, in terms of what God was leading me to do,  "Jesus has nothing with which to draw water from the well". Time and again, the Lord has shown us that He can and will draw the water on our behalf and on the behalf of the people we minister to. Why do you suppose we have trouble trusting God even after He has intervened on our behalf in the past?

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” – John 20:24-29

Even after the Disciples had walked with Jesus and had seen Him perform miracles, there was a limit to their belief.  What do you think Thomas was struggling with? IS it something that you, yourself, struggle with?

God grows our faith in Him using life’s circumstances.  We wrongly believe that God will always do what we want if we ask right the right way or do the right things. 

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.  ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’” – Isaiah 55:8-9

What we do know is that God will always do what is right and best, even when we cannot see, trust, or understand.  That is the very definition of faith.  You will never fully arrive with respect to faith in God until you leave this earth.  In the meantime, while you are waiting on heaven, your heart will be in a virtual tug of war between your old and new nature.  You can expect for your faith to be tested and proven throughout your life. You won’t always pass the test, but God can even use your failing the test for His glory and your good. God will always require more faith for the next step in your journey.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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