Topic: Decide to Believe [Friday April 21, 2017]
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. — James 1:2-4
Too often people stare at me with a blank look when I urge them to decide to believe. It’s as if I’m asking them to do something they can’t do. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (see Romans 10:17), but it also involves a decision.
We enter into a relationship with God through believing in Jesus Christ, but that’s only the beginning.
Believing doesn’t end there. As I understand the realm of the Spirit, if we follow the Lord, we live with a growing faith. That means we learn to believe for bigger things. We learn to trust God for things we would never have thought of in our earliest Christian days.
When we become Christians, the Bible says we are adopted into the family of God: . . . but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in . . . which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! (Romans 8:15b).
That’s the beginning. That’s also where too many Christians stop. The Spirit keeps reaching for your hands so He can pull you forward. That’s when you must decide to believe—or you resist and stay exactly where you are in your Christian experience.
Read the verse at the beginning of this topic. It says your faith will be tested, but you must hold onto it and move forward. The testing may come when the devil attempts to make you doubt the promises God has given you.
There is never a stopping place in your spiritual growth—God wants to take you onward. But you have to make the choice to believe. Sometimes that takes courage, but that’s how the Christian life functions. We grow by taking steps of faith.
When God speaks to your heart—to your inner being—you need to learn to say without hesitation, “Let it be so, Lord.” You have to learn to agree with whatever the Spirit of God says or wants.
Instead, many tend to resist. They don’t say no. Satan is too subtle to nudge them to do that. He puts questions in their minds, urging them to ask, “How can that be?” They start asking God to help them understand. If your boss wants you to do a task, you can ask, “Why?” or ask for an ¬explanation.
But that is not how the Holy Spirit works. You say, “Lord, if You’ll help me understand, I will believe and obey.” God says, “Just obey. If I want you to understand, I’ll make it clear to you.” God doesn’t have to explain anything to us.
It frequently happens that believers know something down deep in their hearts—in their inner beings—but their minds fight against it. They may consider themselves unworthy. They may ask, “Who am I that You would use me to change lives?” They waste a lot of energy by telling God why they can’t do what He wants them to do. God already knows everything that is wrong with us or ever will be wrong with us, and He is willing to work through us anyway. God requires availability not ability.
God asks you to do something quite simple: Believe. That’s all. If God speaks, you need to learn to say, “Even though I don’t understand, I’ll do it.” One of the best examples I can think of in Scripture is the story of Ananias of Damascus. God told him that Saul (later called Paul) was blind and in a particular house. He was to go and lay hands on him, and God would heal him (see Acts 9:10-19).
Ananias was afraid. Saul was the great persecutor of Christians, but God told him to go because the blinded man was a chosen vessel. Despite his fear and inability to understand why God would choose a great persecutor to be a chosen vessel, Ananias went and prayed for Saul, and the future apostle was healed.
That’s how God wants us to behave. He wants us to choose to believe Him even if what He’s asking us to do doesn’t compute in our thoughts.
Holy Spirit of God, help me always to believe Your promises, even when I don’t understand Your purpose. I want to learn to trust You more, as I move forward in faith to accomplish what You have for me to do. Help me always to be obedient, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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