I was just thinking
We just started a series on faith. Not new or exciting but it is fundamental. Many times, as Christians we walk a crooked path when it comes to faith. We struggle with faith, wondering why we can’t get our answer or overcome that obstacle. We think we are broken somehow because we feel powerless, and it seems our prayers don’t go anywhere.
When we first come to God, we believe anything is possible and then years later wonder if anything is possible. As Spirit-filled believers we know God has power and that He does in fact answer prayer. The problem is not God, He doesn’t change, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His word doesn’t change, it is true and consistent. The only variable in the equation that changes is us.
We must understand the process. Jesus took His disciples into every situation and circumstance possible. He put them in stressful and even dangerous situations. He placed before them impossible problems. In each scenario Jesus taught about faith, authority, and God’s word. By the time the disciples experienced Pentecost they had been exposed to and trained for what laid ahead. It is the same for us.
When we discover God and faith and salvation, we are newborn babes. We enter this new life bright eyed and full of wonder. We are consumed with the promises of power and prayer. We are told God can do anything and we begin to put this to the test. Our emotions run high and hot, and we celebrate. Yet, in time, we discover that there is a difference between faith and emotion. We soon find that faith is not a phrase or sound bite but something more solid, certain, and tested.
Faith begins in hyped excitement but as we interact with people and the variety of problems and conditions, they find themselves in, faith then becomes uncertain. Mainly because we become uncertain about ourselves. Faith has ceased to be about God and His word and more about us and our spiritual qualifications. Is my spiritual checklist complete? Instead of believing God we must first qualify our faith through us.
The training begins. Faith falters but we begin to learn about love. We find that love teaches us about sacrifice, self-denial, and placing value on God and those around us. Soon we discover that Paul was right, faith works through love. Love helps us to hone our faith and place us outside the equation. We find a stability to what truly matters. But we still struggle with prayers that go unanswered or storms that won’t let up.
This last lesson may be the toughest. Jesus took His disciples into a storm and they feared for their lives. When they woke Jesus up to save them instead of a pat on the back, they got a rebuke. “You of little faith.” It was the hardest lesson to learn, trust. In the Old Testament faith is taught as trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your hearts.” Proverbs 3. It was the lesson that was most important. Trials and tribulations were promised. Persecution was expected. If they hated Jesus, they will hate you. Faith at its deepest is about trust. Do you believe if only the storms cease, or deliverance is sure?
Trust forces us to move past the rush and hype of the miracles that make us shout and place us on firmer ground. We still expect God to move and work, but we know that if He doesn’t our faith remains secure that He is still with us. We trust Him to bring us home, to save us to the fullest measure. This depth of faith looks beyond the temporal to the eternal. That is why Paul stood firm in his faith even as he endured every type of suffering and rejection. He knew who he had trusted.
It is a long journey but if you hold on your faith will find maturity and depth and carry you through any storm.