Around a table last night I saw sad eyes in a meeting that was a long, hard discussion about the work of our church. We are being forced to ask hard questions. “What stays, what goes? How do we best carry out the mission of ‘being the people of God’ in a time when He is marginalized by the majority?” A shared view of life and meaning, something we (Christians) once took for granted, is no longer are a part of the culture into which we speak the Word of God. Forms of ministry that flourished 30 years ago are not effective today. The question at the core of those deliberations at that board table, at least for me, was an age-old one. “Where does the reality of our circumstances meet faith?” Should we just keep on and lay claim to ‘faith’ as our rationale?
You probably ask the same question, but for different reasons. You may wonder about questions like these –
How do I live faithfully as a Christian when all of life seems to be a conspiracy against that?
How do I trust God to reach my children who have grown indifferent to all things spiritual?
Where do I prioritize my use of time and resources when serving and giving collide with the urgencies of making a living to pay the bills?
How do I make what I hear on Sunday morning part of my life on Monday?
God does not promise to endorse and support every decision we make, just because we can find a proof text in the Bible for it, or because ‘that’s the way we have always done it.’ Simply hanging onto something in life is not necessarily an evidence of great faith. It may be fear of change that drives us more than faith. True faith is anchored outside of ourselves in the expressed will of God!
I meditated on the ‘faith’ chapter, Hebrews 11, at length. Buried deep in the text was this phrase that the Spirit made a living word for me. Moses, the man of God, was preserved by the godly and faith filled acts of his mother and the providence of the Lord. He grew up in the palace, trained in Egyptian ways, but never forgot that his God was the Lord. He murdered a man, fled into the desert, and spent 40 years in character training while tending sheep! Then, God met him and spoke to him. It’s a fascinating story that centers around a revelation of the great “I AM” at a burning bush. Moses left that encounter with a purpose and mission – to lead his people out of Egypt to become the nation of Israel. But, the project was tough! Nothing went right. The Pharaoh changed his mind multiple times. As Moses agitated him, he made life miserable for the Jews who then turned their anger against Moses. How did he keep going?
Here it is – “He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” (Heb 11:27). Stop and think about that … really. Read that again. “He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” (Heb 11:27).
Faith is not formed nor is it sustained by just ‘hoping for the best’ or staring down our difficult situations. Faith is not anchored in our resolve or our abilities. Faith demands a vision of God, a heart that loves Him, and eyes that see Him. The question is never ‘what should I do?’ It is “What is His will?” Our greatest desire must be to be able to say, with confidence, “I have heard from the Lord.” When we know that God wills it, nothing – money, hardship, distraction, demon, or pressure from our world – will defeat us.
So, friend, what does God will for you?
Answer that two ways. One answer is general, for all of God’s children. He wills a pure and holy life for us all. He wills that we will love Him, worship Him, and serve Him as our one true God.
And then there is the more difficult answer, in the sense that it requires listening and waiting- the personal will of God in whatever situation we find ourselves. There is no formula that I can give you to discover God’s will today. But, I can assure you, He speaks! May we, like the boy Samuel, hear His call, responding readily – “And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10, NLT)
Here is a word from the Word. “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. … It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. … By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going.” (Hebrews 11:27, The Message)
Abba, open our eyes and ears.
Help us to separate Your voice from the clamor that surrounds us.
Lead us and, in Your patient mercy, may we find new hope and purpose.
Teach us what is good, how to live, what to say.
Give us the courage of a warrior and the gentle trust of a beloved child.
Above, make Your radiance shine out of us so that it is obvious that
“we have this Treasure in clay pots” so that all will know that You are a wonderful God.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen
Jerry D. Scott, Pastor
Faith Discovery Church