Molded or MoldingOctober 12, 2017
Thanksgiving for TrialsOctober 26, 2017
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” —Luke 8:18
When I first started to teach the Bible, I was fond of saying we could summarize the entire Biblical message from God into these two ideas: “trust and obey.” I still believe this to be true, but these days, I would change it to “trust… and obedience will follow.”
God tells us that the Patriarchs and the stars of the Old Testament were commended, as well as saved, because of their trust:
Now faith [trust] is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Heb. 11:1-2)
And in case we were a little fuzzy about this all-important truth, God reinforces it with this: “The only thing that counts is faith [trust] expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6). The only thing that counts? Okay, I’ve got the trust thing down pat when the situation doesn’t directly affect me or my daughter. Oh, I love many of you and care for many of you personally and sincerely, but as long as it threatens you and not me, I have to admit I’m rarely scared. Concerned, yes… very… but scared?
If it’s your problem, I’m encouraging you to trust. I’m seeking to strengthen your faith with assurances of God’s presence, power, and perfect love. I do this not only because it is helpful but because I know it to be true. But when it is me or my daughter, I’m like the father who cried out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
Elisha, when surrounded by the enemy’s soldiers, calmly reassured his servant:
“Don’t be afraid.”… And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:16-17, bold added)
Elisha didn’t pray, “Oh, Lord! Please, come help us.” He simply prayed that his servant would see God, God who was already there, surrounding them and saturating their presence.
King David lived in a God-saturated world. He saw God everywhere. And thus, God called him “a man after my own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). As we all know, there were times when David turned a blind eye to God’s presence, and the results speak for themselves.
I’m not asking you to conjure up images in your mind to help bolster your confidence as in some positive-thinking exercise. I’m encouraging you to see the God who is already and always there. If we can see Jesus standing beside us and his Holy Spirit permeating through us with power and presence, no matter the situation, wouldn’t our trust strengthen?
My obedience flows more readily when I see God standing beside me. My confidence and clarity grow when I view my world through a prism of Jesus’ constant presence and power. Following his guidance and his design for my life becomes the only practical thing to do when I see God everywhere. But to see God takes practice. We must practice the presence of God. When we practice the presence of God and learn more and more to see him saturating our world around us—because he is!—we will trust him, follow him, and more naturally obey him. This will lead us into the A-plus Life that is truly life.
Seeing is believing. Believing is seeing. Will you start now, today, practicing the presence of God?