"Problems With Faith?"
I'd like to elaborate on a point addressed in yesterday's message, namely, an established and growing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ does not result from focusing on our performance of trust, but on His perfection of trustworthiness. Or, we might say, problems with faith are not actually problems with faith, but rather with lack of knowledge regarding God and His truth.
"O Lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth" (Isaiah 25:1).
We trust someone to the degree we know them. Loving parents would never entrust a child to the care of a stranger who knocked on their door and offered to babysit. A faithful grandparent, however, would be a different story. The parents would trust the faithfulness and care of their loved one to those they know will do all for the well being of their child. In precisely the same manner, we trust God to the degree we know Him and understand His truth. Our Heavenly Father has always provided more than adequate light regarding His faithfulness. Have we adequately opened our eyes to behold, and thus to prepare ourselves for the challenges of life that will demand confidence in God, and thus result in a still heart of peace in whatever storms may come our way?
Of course, we could all rightly confess that we have not sufficiently availed ourselves of our Lord and His truth. "If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:2). We have all missed opportunities to more fully behold the light of our Heavenly Father's pristinely perfect character, nature, and way. There is much we "ought to know" that does not reside in our hearts and minds, leading to greater difficulty in trusting God than should be the case. What do we do, therefore, if we rightly perceive our need for greater faith, based on greater knowledge of God and His truth?
First, we begin from where we are. We cannot change the past. We can repent for it, as necessary, and we should. No excuses exist for failure to know the God who ever beckons to our hearts, "Call unto Me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). We do well to acknowledge with remorse our neglect and distraction. However, we more importantly remember how powerfully the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ provides restoration and enabling to arise and proceed from where we are. We do not allow proper regret to result in paralyzing continuance in darkness. We go forth from where we are in the forgiveness and cleansing of the blood of Christ, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us unto growth in knowledge, both personal and doctrinal, and thus, growth in faith. We might pray accordingly:
"Heavenly Father, I have not trusted You as I should, and there is no excuse for my unbelief. I have too often failed to access the many gifts You give that reveal Your perfectly trustworthy heart, and Your intimate involvement in everything in my life. I am sorry for this, and acknowledge my sin. I also acknowledge Your delight in mercy, and the perfectly adequate means You have provided in the person and work of the Lord Jesus for my forgiveness, and the enabling to go forth from where I am. I trust You to lead and enable me accordingly, and to reveal Yourself to my needy heart as I "look unto Jesus the author and finisher of my faith."
Problems with faith are not problems with faith. They rather result from failure to know our Lord well enough to trust Him. The obvious remedy is to know Him better, the first step of which presents itself to our hearts in this very moment as we pray with the Psalmist…
"Show me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day."
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
Weekly Memory Verse
O the depths of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!