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Friday, November 28, 2014

When Is Faith the Hardest?

John 14:1 (ESV)
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Often I visit people in hospitals who are facing medical procedures which could lead to their deaths. . Some of them are very anxious about death when they are forced to face it. Many of these people will openly tell me that they believe in God, the atonement given by Jesus and eternal life. Yet, their anxiety betrays them. They are afraid of dying. They know what to believe and want to believe it but their own flesh rears up and says there is nothing else. They aren't afraid of hell. They are afraid of nothingness.

This same scenario is painted similarly when there is any other crisis in life. The job has been lost and the savings are dwindling. The people facing this crisis want to believe that God is watching over them. They want to believe that He will supply what they need but they can't see Him doing anything. They waver from believing in God who is involved in His creation to disbelieving He will do anything.

Troubles test our faith. They make us dig down inside. They open up our prayer lives. They either bring us great anxiety or deepen our faith. It is the hardest to believe when all that we said we believe is being challenged. Somewhere in the back of our minds is the thought, "What if none of this is true?"

So, I ask you, "Where does your faith come from?" You can't believe in a time of crisis in a faith which you are generating from within yourself. Faith is supernatural and brought to us by the Spirit. It is a gift of God. Our own salvation proves it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The Christian life can only be lived out in the spirit. Trying to live the Christian life in the flesh is like dressing up a pig, calling it a debutante and taking it to a ball as your date. it doesn't matter how much you want to believe the pig is a beautiful girl, down deep you know the truth. You can't believe from the flesh. No faith is true faith when believed in this manner.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Thus, the time of crisis demands that we are being filled with the Spirit so that we can believe what can't be believed by the flesh. We crucify the flesh and live in the spirit.The problem is that the flesh doesn't give up easily. It will demand dominance in our lives if we do not keep our minds upon the spirit. The battle is in the mind.

Romans 8:5 (ESV)
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The mind is not the brain. The brain is merely the CPU. It organizes and interprets the data given by the stimuli it receives. The mind is the decision part of the person. It is with the mind that we determine where we shall place our concentration. We concentrate on this world and what this world tells us is true or on the Spirit and what He tells us is true. We believe what we are focused upon.

What makes faith difficult in times of crisis is that the believer is forced to truly abandon the fleshly world view. It is difficult because the person has a verbal faith rather than a spiritual one. They said the right words but didn't really believe them because they were speaking from the flesh rather than the spirit.

The only solution is to believe from the Spirit. The only way to do so is to set your mind on the Spirit. The only way to do that is to be filled with the Spirit. And the only way to do that is to stop resisting the Spirit.

You must make a complete commitment to God without holding back anything. You must listen to God and do what He tells you to do promptly. You must confess any unconfessed sins. You can't hold back.

The Apostle Paul said that he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him. He said this after saying that he knew what it is like to go hungry and have plenty. He was saying that he had learned to be content in any circumstance. That is a statement of faith. That comes from Christ who strengthens.

This blog is for those who are going through difficult times and whose faith is wavering. Please send it to someone who needs it. Encourage them, lift them up and let your own faith bolster them when their faith is dim. Troubles make faith the hardest.

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