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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You Will Never Find Faith in Security

I like guarantees. I want one that excepts me from any worry. I want one that allows me to do things that never have consequences. I want one which allows me to recover from any decision I have made. I really want one that doesn't require faith.

But no matter how much I really want guarantees, they really don't exist. The guarantees I have depend upon the faithfulness of the one giving the guarantee. Therefore, no matter how truthful a person has been, the guarantee cannot be extended beyond the person's (or company's) ability to ensure that guarantee can be met.

In short, even faithful people and companies die and go out of business. They can't keep a guarantee forever.

But this isn't true for God. He can keep a guarantee forever. The difference is that He often fails to spell out all that He will guarantee. For example, He told Moses to take His people to the promised land but failed to tell Moses all the trouble he would go through in getting there. He often keeps some of the information for Himself.

And why would He do that? I believe He wants us to have faith in Him rather than in (just) what He has said. He says He will take care of us but the details of doing so would take the faith out of faith in Him. His promise should be enough for us.

Thus, like Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah and a host of others we strike out to do His will without the type of guarantee that we would like. We would like to have more money than we knew what to do with before we struck out on any new god-given project. He simply tells us to trust Him. Often we find very little security in that. If we always had all that we needed to do what God wanted us to do, we wouldn't be putting our trust in Him; we'd be putting it in all that we had.

So, we will never find faith in security. But, we will find security in faith.

Our great unreasonable fear is that God will send us to do something and not give us the means to do so. Our fear is that He sends us out and makes His own name mean nothing. Our fear is that we will fail even though we have been completely faithful. Our fear is that God doesn't really know what He is doing when He calls us.

Does that ever really happen? Does God send people out to fail with no purpose?

That's why we need a word from Him before we strike out on our own. We must have the plans that He has for us specifically and know that they are from Him. We accept these things by faith and this is where the security lies.

In fact, i would say that there is no security in waiting until everything is in place before obedience. Anything that appears assured can be taken away except for His word. Circumstances just happen to be what is happening at the moment. Real security is built on the never changing God who has faithfully kept His word.

1 Samuel 3:19
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.

6 comments:

high-expressions said...

There is a lot of wisdom in this saying, and from time to time, we are reminded of it; let me say it here, so that we are again reminded of it, and it is this: “Don’t look to men, look to God”. Why? Because men can fall, God cannot.

Now, it is NOT that I am saying you cannot look to your pastor or your spouse, or your friend; or that for a child, he shouldn’t be looking to his parents; that is NOT what I mean. What do I mean? I mean you and I must know, ultimately, only God is fully reliable. It is NOT so much that God has UNlimited resource, while we have NOT, that makes the difference. It is because God cannot wrong you. Even His thought towards you are only good (Jer 29:11 points to it – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” {KJV}). God is goodness absolute or holiness; in Him there is no evil. Scripture said, in Him there is no lie (Num 23:19 points to it - God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?). That is what makes God full reliable. God cannot dishonor His words, His promises, and His covenant.

The other powerful revelation of God is that He is Wisdom; meaning He knows what to do, and what He does, cannot be wrong, for He is constrained by His own holiness. Principally, all of what God says or does is the outworking of His holiness and wisdom.

The third aspect of God is of course, the might of God; He is the El Shaddai, the Almighty God. But the might of God can never be applied in/for evil, for
He is holy. Even the might of God is constrained by the outworking of His holiness and wisdom. In other words, God can never do this:

“He promised you a spouse, and then He is NOT going to honor that, and before you could complain about Him, He smashes you with a mighty hammer, into a pancake!”

Another example: You cannot say to God, “God, if you love me, use your mighty hammer on Anthony Chia; smash him into a pancake, for I like him but he doesn’t reciprocate!” and expect God to do it. No, He cannot do it, for He cannot love you anyhow! He can only love you unto righteousness. Even God’s love is subjugated to His holiness. Indeed, it is because God is holy that makes all the difference.

You see, a rich man, he can still go back on his word, NOT that he does NOT have what he promised you, to let you have it; it is that he can still want to wrong you, deny you of what you are promised. Many men and women, they promised they would love and remain faithful to their other half, but they would still go back on their word; they switch to love another, and be unfaithful, and they abandon their other half for all kinds of reasons, including the mere change of worldly status, like they have advanced up in social and financial ladder, but their other halves have NOT. Rich and powerful people, some of them will do this, “If I can eat you, I will eat you”; in other words, if you are unable to fight for your right, they will swallow you whole! God, on the other hand, is NOT like that at all.

cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

In Nehemiah’s prayer to the LORD (Neh 1:5-11), before he went to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the City, he declared in his prayer that our God is a God who keeps covenant with men. You think about it, can you do anything to God if He does NOT keep His covenant or promises with you? No, absolutely nothing; men can do nothing to God! Yet, He still keeps covenant or promises with us. To Nehemiah, that was an important aspect of the “great and awesomeness” of our God.

From time to time, and it is currently happening around the world; we see men of God (pastors, preachers and Christian leaders) fall from grace. When such a person falls, it is NOT just about that person, we see the impact of the fall, the responses and the reactions of the followers. Of course, there is no lack of this (from the mockers): “See, see-lah, Christians, cheaters; big con men; immoral fellows!” Then we have our fellow believers who are followers of such leaders, “Shit! Again, I have enough of this; I am leaving the faith (or the church, or the institutional church).” Then, there are those who refuse to acknowledge their idol has fallen, “I don’t care what is reported, pastor so-and-so, will come out as white as snow!” or “Minister so-and-so, cannot be wrong; I have trusted him/her, and I will continue to trust him/her”.

It is NOT right that we worship men instead of God. It is right to love men; Scripture exhorts us to do so; but it is always that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and that love of us for God, and therefore, for men, is always unto righteousness, too (God loves men unto righteousness). Pastors and preachers are only messengers of God, meaning they convey the messages or words of God; and so, whatever they teach, if they are NOT correct exegesis of the Word, we are NOT to take the teachings in. This is entirely independent of the size of the leader’s followings. We must adopt the attitude of the Bereans as far as the teachings of the Word are concerned:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.(Acts 17:11)

Now, all of the above argues for the stand that God is reliable, and that we can take His Word for it. Many people (and believers too) will counter with this, “But, so very often, it does NOT appear to be true, for me; so every often, this promise does NOT come true, and the guarantee cannot be claimed upon.”

I often tell people that many of the promises in the Word are conditional, and so, if there are conditions given, it is NOT UNreasonable for God to expect you and I, to fulfill the conditions, before the promises come to pass. Then, of course, there is the context in which it was given, meaning we have to see clearly if it is applicable in our situation. I mean if this bottle of glue is meant for sticking together 2 pieces of paper, and you apply it to 2 pieces of metal sheets, of course, it won’t stick!

Ps Prentis pointed out yet another reason why people feel God is NOT reliable. And that reason sounded like this: “God does NOT say much, and so, I just thought I just hop onto the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) train, and I will be brought from point A to point B; when after 2 hours, I still don’t arrive, I conclude ‘I have been taken for a ride!’”. Or it is like, if you come to Singapore and you hope onto a taxi or cab, and the taxi driver tells you, he will take you from the airport to heart of the city, where your hotel is; and then, after 1 hour, you see NOT any tall building that resembles a first class hotel ahead, you say in your heart, “Shit! I have been taken for a ride! Mr so-and-so said the last time he came to Singapore, it took less than 1 hour to get from the airport to the same hotel.”

Cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

But you see, Mr so-and-so did NOT tell you, he arrived late at night, and so, there was not much traffic on the road; but you arrived at the peak hour – morning traffic rush, lots of people driving to work! And, there was no road-works on the stretches of the roads to the hotel, but now there is! Your friend told you enough? God also, NOT telling us much? Before we address what could possibly be the reason(s) for God NOT telling us, ALL {info}, is it practical to tell us, ALL {info}?

Scripture, in John 21:25, said that if all that Jesus done were recorded on paper for us, there would NOT be enough room to accommodate all of the volume of books! Now, that was for one man (alright, one special man); if we want it to be recorded for each of us, what each of us is to do, for the rest of our life, what kind of volume are we talking about!? Enough room?

One may even venture to say, “Ok-lah, it is NOT reasonable to list, specific to each person, what each of us were to do, for the rest of our life, into the Bible”, but why can’t God, the moment I entered salvation, do a complete download into me, that which is personal to me!?”

Think about it, if there are 7 of us on the earth, maybe it is possible, but there are billions of us, and interacting real-time! On top of that, we are with volition; if we are without, I believe it is still possible; but with volition, can our lives be written like a shopping list? If we are with volition and our lives are NOT a gigantic movie ALREADY directed, edited, and now is BEING SCREENED, it is NOT possible (NOT that it is NOT possible as in, impossible to God, but rather it is NOT meaningful for God to do such a thing. If you don’t buy this, try this: write out EVERYTHING your newly born child is to do from the moment he is just being born to he dies in the future, and you will appreciate the impossibility of it)!

Yes, God looked and looks into the future, but the entire future is NOT fixed {change NOT}, only certain things of the future are fixed, because God fixed them (for example, God previously fixed the 1st coming of Christ), other than that, things are happening real-time, and God tweaks real-time! If you are under the mistaken teaching of people who tell you, your life is already set, and is being screened, like a movie being screened, and you want to believe it, you go ahead, to your own peril. Maybe you should just sit down at where you are, and just do nothing! But for me, my Bible does NOT paint a picture of “Whatever will be, will be”. If you believe that, why bother to study (go to school), why bother to work, and why bother to teach your children or tell them to do anything, since whatever they will be, they will be!

People can come up with all kinds of scenarios like we are in some kind of simulation like a computer game, scientology, etc, etc; the point is that we have volition, and that makes all the difference why it is NOT meaningful for God to have it written down, everything to be done by each one of us, specifically, for every step of the way, of our life.

This is the primary understanding we must all embrace, we have volition, without which, there is no faith to talk about. Without volition, there is no hope to talk about, and lastly, there is no love to talk about.

For a no-volition scenario, there is no faith, for you can only do as you are told, whereas faith is about a right belief with an inaction busting conviction. When there is no volition, there is no such thing as you believe in something or NOT. A robot is without volition, if you tell it to move forward over the cliff, it can do nothing but the very thing you tell it to do, move forward over the cliff; it does NOT have a belief if it can fly or walk on the air, and so, would NOT crash to the bottom of the cliff! No, there is no such thing for the robot; and we are NOT robots.

Cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

Why is it that when there is no volition there is NOT the element of hope? A hope means there is more than one outcome; is it NOT what hope embodies? Minimally, there are 2 outcomes, Yes or No. You buy a lottery, and you hope to strike a price; it is either you strike or you don’t – 2 outcomes possible. You hope he will date you; again it can turn out, either a Yes or a No. No volition means there is only one outcome, there is no choice, and it cannot turn to be any different; you just cannot hope it be anything different, in a no-volition scenario.

Do you know why salvation is talked about in the Scripture as a hope of salvation? No, it is NOT for the non-believer, there is a hope of salvation, because maybe, they will enter salvation; and maybe, they will NOT enter salvation and therefore, SHALL not go to Heaven (instead, to Hell). The hope of salvation is for the believers. “Wait the minute, I thought when I turned {to become} a believer, I was and is assured of going to Heaven, there is no other outcome; what are you talking about!?”

Yes, when we have turned to Christ, entered into salvation, we are different from the non-believer, because they don’t have a hope of salvation, we have, and because God is faithful (and we are to trust God), we hold out that we will NOT “crash out”, and will get to Heaven; but it is nevertheless a hope of salvation – going to Heaven, this is. I will NOT, here, go deep into the discussion of “hope of salvation”, but I will leave a verse here, for readers to ponder, especially, for those who are tempted to “go legal” with God (legalism). When do you become a child of God or a son of God? Yes, the typical answer and correct answer is when I enter into salvation or at my conversion or when I give my life over to the Lord, the first time. Despite there is a place for that answer, see what the Apostle John said about this:

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10, NIV84); “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10, NKJV)

Repeatedly, I tell people, God does use “The test of the pudding is in the eating”. May this verse also shakes those who promote right standing as what is required with right living,NOT, or that right living is NOT that important.

Alright, I will come back; I have said too much for the “hope” aspect. When there is no volition, there can be no true love. Love is firstly a choice, and then it is a commitment. Money is NOT said to be the root of all kinds of evil, but the love of money is said to be that. Why is love used here? It is simply because love means a choice – choosing of money over, say, God; and that was and is what is frowned upon, by God. Very simply, how do we know you love A and NOT B? You chose A and NOT B, as your wife or husband. Where is no choice, there is no evidence of love.

How do we know God loves us? Yes, God chose to let His one and only begotten Son to die for us; that is how we know; God could have left matter be, let us all go to Hell. God had a choice, and He chose to do what He did (let His Son die for us), and there, there was the love of God, evidently expressed to us.

Cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor 13:13, we can look at this, and we can look at that, but if he were to “cut to the chase”, 3 words, he would give to us, to hold onto, for our living – faith, hope, and love. So, even and despite all is NOT revealed to us, by God, we carry on with life, according to Paul, with 3 things, faith, hope and love. The Apostle Paul fully understood that because we are with volition, and there are so many of us, men, interacting over and across time, there is just no way, for each of us, to have a “shopping list” made out for each of our life. We have to, and God expects us to, deal with life real-time.

All of us tend to want to look for certainty. Ps Prentis expressed it as security. We want to be certain of this, and we want to be certain of that, and so on. How can we be certain? Human tendency is this: “If it is all laid out, and confirmed NOT changing, then I am certain. In other words, there are no negative surprises; and with that we say we feel secure.” Actually, this humanistic expectation is almost always, if NOT always, a fallacy!

“I am still young, and I am NOT earning enough money, and so, I am NOT certain I will be able to afford a house of my own. I don’t feel secure now without a house of my own; but I also do NOT feel secure, buying a house now, because I am NOT sure if I will be able to pay for the housing installments for the so many years to come. If I have all the money needed, NOW, to pay fully for the house, I will be certain, and I will be secure.”

Are you sure? Let’s say you do have all the money required, and you pay up for the house, and so, you have a house; so you are secure because you now owns a house of your own. Are you sure there will NOT be any negative surprises, possible? What if a hurricane Katrina-kind of thing hits your place!? What if an earthquake hits it? Not possible, not hurricane zone, not earthquake zone? Well, can’t a terrorist throw a bomb at it or sets your house on fire? Unless everything for everyone is all cast in stone, so to speak, there is no such thing as an absolute certainty or security.

There are many things, no one can guarantee you; who can guarantee you that no terrorist or madman will torch your house? So, how? Buy insurance? But insurance does NOT cover everything under the sun, too! Just pretend nothing with happen, turn a blind eye, or just ignore the matter? Yes, people do that, you know! So, how should Christians deal with this? What is the right attitude for the Christians?

Obviously, if everything for everyone is all cast in stone, so to speak, then there is certainty and security. But for that scenario, which is hypothetical, there is of course, no element of faith involved; this, Ps Prentis, has stated in his article – no faith in security. So, is there a way to find security, since there is no certainty!?

Unless a thing is a fact; there can be no absolute certainty. That is why people correctly say that faith is NOT a fact, or if it is fact there is no element of faith. Scripture also said we do NOT hope for something we already have (Romans 8:24c). So, how can we be secured? We can be secure when our faith in the one who declared, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,…, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end”, is strong.

Cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

This One, God, His thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, NOT of evil, and of giving us an expected end, when we have a strong faith in Him, believing and trusting that He is the Holy One, the Wise One, and the Almighty One, we can feel secure. Despite NOT everything about our life is known to us, we, believers, can be secure, because of our strong faith in our God. Why do some Christians feel more secure, others less? It is because of the faith level. How come the faith levels defer? No, it is NOT primarily God did NOT give some, the faith level required, and so, they feel less secure! If you say, primarily, faith is to be given by God, be careful that you are NOT trying to absolve your responsibility for growing your faith level. If you insist God has to give you your faith, then you may end up (sure, you want to deny it) pushing the buck back to God, saying, “God is to be blamed”; which of course, is NOT correct.

How does one grow one’s faith? We will NOT go in depth, on this, as this comment is already too long, but I will say, one key area impacting it, is the proper acquiring and handling of faith knowledge; for primarily, faith comes, by receiving of the Word (Romans 10:17). And it is NOT surprising that Scripture said that God once said that His people would perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

Security is to be found in the faith in God. But you must get to know God {knowledge}, in order that any faith came develop in you. If you are a non-believer, you have NOT, this security for you have NOT faith in God. How can you begin to have faith in God? The beginning is that you need to hear/know the gospel {knowledge}, accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour on the basis of the gospel revealed to you, and then begin a journey of knowing God more and more.

If you are a believer or Christian, if you do NOT feel secure, it may very well be because your faith in God is NOT strong. Why is it NOT strong? It is because you have NOT taken time and effort to know your God more. The more you know Him, and the more you align yourself to Him and His ways, the more you know your end is the expected end, as expected by God. As for our journey, the more we know Him, the more we love Him and continue to love Him, and when we are doing just that, we know the many promises of the Word are holding true to us – promises of protection, and promises of goodness, and even honour, in our journey. It is right that Ps Prentis concluded that security is to be found in our faith in God; additionally, may I say, the secret of a Christian’s well-being is in his loving the Lord. A lot of Christians, they have a lousy well-being, worried sick, stressFULL, etc, because they have poor sense of security. If you want understanding of this secret, read this article of mine: http://high-expressions.blogspot.sg/2012/07/please-you-have-to-continue-to-love-god.html

Anthony Chia, high.expressions