This is one of those studies that God gave me, for me, but it is also to share with everyone. Truly meant to bless all of us.
The Circumstances of Life vs. Our Faith
In life we often face challenges, obstacles, events, trials, tribulations, temptations and troubles, all of which brings with it confusion and confoundedness to our spiritual sense – our faith.
The understanding man gains of the world around him is perceived by his senses. All of man’s knowledge is natural, organic, which derives from our senses. By touch, we feel and discern things around us to be tangible. By seeing, we discern those things we perceive to be real. By taste and smell, the body reacts and formulates likes, dislikes and appetites.
Our sense of hearing is much nobler than our other base senses, in that, with hearing, we engage our mind to formulate thoughts, opinions, feelings, emotions. We distinguish in ourselves of what we heard to be true or not. Hearing brings reactions, you can hear a loud noise distances away, such as thunder and become afraid. We can hear a whisper and be set at ease. Hearing can bring comfort or fear, encouragement or discouragement, joy or sadness. We make judgments and choices by what we hear. Hearing brings a wide sphere of action.
Our basic five senses provide us with nothing that goes beyond the mere physical realm. Our senses furnish us with no information at all concerning the invisible world. But our wonderful wise Creator instilled in each of us, an innate ability to go beyond the basic five senses. He has appointed in each of us faith. Faith takes us where sense don’t go. Faith begins where our senses end. Senses are an evidence of things that are seen; of the visible, the material world. Faith, is the "evidence of things not seen;" of the invisible world. We all have this intangible, innate ability to have faith. Now, faith in God is quite different from just having the ability of faith. Each and every day, we all exhibit faith in the invisible world. It doesn’t make it faith in God. If you believe in germs, you have faith in the invisible, knowing you have never seen a germ with your naked eye, you believe what you were told. If you watch t.v., everyday, you turn it on believing in the invisible t.v., waves in the air being received by your receiver, knowing you have never seen a t.v., wave with your naked eye. We all believe in some form or another about something we have been taught and told, which we never witnessed, experienced, but were only told and taught. All of these things are but an expression of our innate ability to have faith in the invisible.
The Word of God tells us, not only is “faith the substance of things hoped for – But, the evidence of things unseen;” It also tells us, “through faith we understand or (???? noeó (naw-a'-o); meaning to perceive or realize. To apply mental effort needed to reach a "bottom-line" conclusions)), that the worlds were framed by what: the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear – faith! (Heb. 11:1-3).
Most people believe the world they live in, they see, touch, interact with in the visible, was created by God, who is invisible to us, but spoke things into existence. Now, here’s the thing, most people do believe there’s a God who created the earth and all it’s inhabitants, “the things visible”. They don’t no how, but do believe He did. You can ask almost anyone on the street and they will tell you they believe in God, and that God created the worlds as it tells us in the Bible. Yet, many, most, don’t believe in what He said – “that the worlds were framed by the word of God”! Did you get that?
What am I talking about? To truly believe in God, is to believe in His Word. Let me say it another way. To believe there is a God, or believe about God, thou does well, but the devil believes and trembles, my brother James tells us. But, to believe in God is to believe His Word. He tells us, that faith in Him brings us to the formulated conclusion that what He has spoken is true and evident – “by His Word have all things been framed and made that are evident and true.” So, by faith we are to take God at His word. When I was young, there was the phrase used, “Word is bond!” Meaning, you can take me at my word! Yet, how many of us live before God that His Word is bond!
To believe in God is to believe in what God said! However, if I choose not to believe the words I hear, to me but words, even if they are words spoken by God. In all instances, I choose whether to accept what I heard to be true or not, factual or nonfactual, believe it or not believe it. The choice is mine. I choose to believe or not believe what God has spoken. Heb. 4:2 tells us,
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
You can hear, but doesn’t mean you choose to accept what you heard and truly believe it. Make no mistake, the Israelites believed there was a God, and even that God was the God of all gods, the creator of all things, but they did not choose to believe what He told them.
See, it’s easy to say I have faith in God, but when circumstances are set before my senses, do I choose to stand by what the Lord God Almighty has told me, or allow myself to be swayed by my other senses? I must make a choice, believe what God said or believe my senses. There is no middle ground. There is the fence and everything on that side or everything on this side. This is the proverbial “when the rubber meets the road.”
Many of us tend to believe we can say we have faith, and even believe it, but faith in the Lord is an absolute choice, to believe what He said or don’t. There is no mostly, somewhat, part way or kind of. It’s all or not. Life itself will always challenge our faith in the Lord. And, in each challenge, the circumstances of life will call to us with confusion, doubt, to waiver or be double-minded. It’s one thing to say it. It’s another to believe it. It’s altogether different to live it – faith!
Look at the Israelites, who had first hand witnessed the miracles of God, with all their senses, in delivering them from the hand of their oppressors, then being lead by God, by their senses, with a cloud in the day and a pillar of fire by night. Yet, when they were camped by the sea and looked up and saw the Egyptians coming, to their senses, they made a choice to believe their sense, over the words of the Almighty God. In choosing their senses over the Word of God, they went into confusion and confoundedness, and began murmuring against God and Moses, even wanting to return to Egypt and go back to being slaves.
Look at Peter, he proclaimed that he would go to jail, die for Jesus. Yet, when faced with the circumstances of his senses of pride and fear, he faltered and denied the Lord three times.
Between the Israelites and Peter, there are hundreds of testimonies of people proclaiming faith only to allow what they see and feel, their circumstances to win out, bringing them to confusion, confoundedness, doubt and double-mindedness, over what the Lord God Almighty has said.
Many of times God brings us to circumstances in our lives to test us, to try us to see if what we have heard from Him, we will believe. Look at the example of this in the Israelites we just spoke about. Ex. 14:1-3
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’
The Lord brought them to a place where they would be hemmed in on both sides, facing the circumstances of what they see and feel, “here comes Pharaoh and his army”, and on the other side is the sea. We have nowhere to go! On the other hand, they had the Lord God Almighty on their side, who promised them deliverance from the Egyptians. A choice! Believe what the Lord God Almighty told me, or believe what circumstances are before me.
They could have said, “O’ Pharoah, you made a big mistake. You should have stayed in Egypt instead of coming out after us, you already seen what our God can do. Your in big trouble now!” Instead they choose to believe their circumstances, their physical senses, vs. 10-12: As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
You know, the funny thing is, we read this story and want to talk about the Israelites, but truth is, many of us do the same thing, Peter did the same thing. We know God is in control, able to do all things, but when faced with the circumstances of our senses, we panic, get confused and give the circumstances more power in our lives than God. Come on now! Be real with yourself! This is but double-mindedness.
Many of us want to believe we’re not being double minded, but truth is, we are. Just because you say you have faith in God, doesn’t make it faith in God. In many cases, it’s but having faith in our faith, that we have faith in God. Let me put it to you like this: Peter, believed he had faith in the Lord, even said he would go to jail for Him, die for Him, but Jesus wanted Peter to learn something about his proclaiming to have faith, He replied to Peter: “Satan desires to sift you like wheat, and I have prayed that your faith fail not, and when you come through it strengthen your brethen. Peter you’re just proclaiming to have faith in your faith, that you have faith in me, but I prayed that your faith fails not. Not only are you not willing to go to jail for me or die for me, you’re not even going to be willing to stand up for me when circumstances confront you. Your going to fold in the face of the circumstances. Now, what does Jesus mean, that He prayed for Peter that his faith fails not, when He knew that Peter’s faith would fail him? He’s telling Peter, that through this trial, testing, proving ground, Peter would come to learn that his faith needs to be placed in God and not in his faith that he had faith. Peter would come to realize that his proclaiming to have faith in the Lord, was nothing more than his believe in himself to have faith, but that his faith was not in the Lord. Peter would come to realize what Jesus had earlier told him, “if you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can tell this mountain be ye removed and cast into the sea and it will obey you.” It is not the proclaiming to have faith, but where that faith is directed, no matter how small it is. Meaning, faith in God is not in what you believe, but believing in what God said! Peter would come to understand this.
Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times, making the point there would be no excuse. Peter could have brushed off the first time he denied Jesus by rationalizing in himself. By the second time, Peter had to squarely see himself, by the third time, he knew his choice! He wept, because he knew his faith was only in his faith that he had faith in the Lord. Peter now realized his faith was only in his proclaiming to have faith but not faith in the Lord. As we know, Peter learned this lesson. When confronted again with similar circumstances, Acts 5:29: Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
When I have faith in God, I believe what He said, there is no confusion. There is no wavering. There is no double-minded thinking. There is but a choice made, and I stand on that choice waiting upon the Lord. I’m not moved by what I see or what confronts me. I stand to the promises God has spoken in His revealed Word to my life. That’s a choice people! A choice! If, you have to think about it, re-think it, analysis it, question it, then you are not taking God at His Word. And, anytime we’re not taking God at His Word, we’re wavering, being double-minded. There’s no in between! You may say, “what if I don’t know God’s will for my life or particular circumstance?” That’s a fair question; and, that’s o.k., but go find out, because anything and everything you can face in this life is in God’s Word. Find it and stand on it! Believe what God said, not what you think or feel.
Having faith in God is more than just proclaiming it; yet, when circumstances confront you, you panic, you get confused, and begin letting the philosophies of the world, yourselves, your friends, society, and even other church members dictate to you how you should deal with the circumstances, issues and problems, while telling yourselves you’re trusting God. Man, if you don’t stop it!
Brother Paul tells us in 1 Tim. 6:11
But thou, O man (woman) of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith
Paul commands Timothy and us, to not only follow after, aim at, or pursue, "righteousness, godliness, faith, etc., but to fight the good fight of faith.
He tells us, having faith in God is a fight! Our faith in God is challenged and threatened daily by our circumstances that only bring to doubt and unbelief to our senses. Daily we must fight to maintain our faith in God, His promises, His Word spoken to us. "Fighting the good fight of faith" is to fight through our present circumstances, by looking beyond them to believing in God, what He said, trusting his promises against the forces of our circumstances, doubt and unbelief.
The fight of faith is the struggle to trust God with our burdens of life. It's a fight for freedom from the worry and anxiety the world brings us, exchanging them for belief I can cast all my cares upon the Lord. It's a fight to maintain hope in what The Lord said, and not what I’m faced with. The fight to believe I can trust in His Word, and not what I see, feel or what the world says. It’s the fight against all that threaten me with doubt and unbelief about God's promises. Faith is a daily fight to choose what God says over all else!
It truly is:
In this corner: Circumstances of Life vs. In this corner Faith in God’s Word
I will conclude with what Jesus said,
And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
For those of you who don’t realize Jesus speaking of a mountain is not literal, but in reference to mountains in our lives, problems, issues, those things that seem to overcome us. Those things that seem so insurmountable to our lives. Notice what Jesus says, “have faith in God!” And, not doubt. You must not only believe God able, but without doubting, believe He is willing to fulfill His promises to your life. Let it marinate!