Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Divine Quest - Part 10

A Final Word

In the pages of this book I have shared how my heavenly Father has wrought a number of tremendous deliverances in my life and that of my family. From healing my son of a hereditary bone disease that has no known cure, to healing my body from diabetes, to providing financially for us over the course of many months when He had called me out from wage earning, in all of these things we have seen the mighty hand of God supporting us and providing help in the time of need. We have also looked at examples found in Scripture of men like Abraham, Gideon, Joseph and David who have received children, won battles, received promotion and seen the faithfulness of God in a myriad of ways as they have stood firm in their confidence in Yahweh’s love for them.

I do not want any child of God to think that such faith is the heritage of a few select men and women. The faith spoken of in this book is that which God desires to see present in the heart of ALL of His children. It is not some supernatural gift of faith, as that gift mentioned in I Corinthians 12:8 and 9, that is spoken of here, but rather that faith that is allotted to EVERY child of God.

Romans 12:3
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 

The saints do not need some supernatural gift of faith to manifest confidence in the love of God. They need only the measure that is given to them to follow Christ wherever He would lead them. Christ will not lead us into places that are beyond the measure of our faith to follow. Yet our faith, can be exercised and grow over time. We need not remain with the same measure of faith that we began with. The principle of God is true that those who are faithful with little things will be given greater things. Christ spoke a parable to His disciples that revealed the way to a greater faith.

Luke 19:12-26
So He said, "A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back...’ When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”

If we take the measure of faith we have been allotted and we exercise it in obedience to God, bringing Him glory, He will bestow upon us a greater faith. However, if we take what we have and hide it in the dirt of this flesh (Matthew 25:25), bringing no increase or benefit to our Father in heaven, then even that which we had will be taken from us.

Matthew 25:29
For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 

The Scriptures are plain that our faith can grow, and it is the normal course of things for faith to do so. Paul wrote to the Corinthian saints:

II Corinthians 10:15
But with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you...

George Muller was a man who lived an extraordinary life of faith, and he has given much hope and encouragement to the saints who have heard of his life, and read about him in the many books that were written by him and about him. Mr. Muller was intensely interested in seeing the faith of God’s children built up, and he gave much advice on the matter, including the following quote taken from a biography of his life written by Roger Steer.

Muller’s answer to those who asked how they might have their faith strengthened was as follows. He would begin by quoting James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness or shadow of turning.” Then he would point out that as the increase of faith is a good gift, it must come from God, and therefore He ought to be asked for the blessing. But, in addition, he recommended four steps which those who wished to see their faith increased could take to help the process along.

First, he advised ‘the careful reading of the word of God, combined with meditation on it.’ This, he said, is how the believer learns more of the nature and character of God and ‘thus sees more and more, besides His holiness and justice, what a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise and faithful being He is’, and therefore when  difficulties arise ‘will repose upon the ability of God to help him’, having ‘seen instance upon instance in the Holy Scriptures in which His almighty power and infinite wisdom have been actually exercised in helping and delivering His people; and he will repose upon the willingness of God to help him, because he has not only learned from the Scriptures what a kind, good, merciful, gracious and faithful being God is, but because he has also seen in the word of God, how in a great variety of instances He has proved Himself to be so.’

Secondly, he warned that ‘it is of the utmost importance that we seek to maintain an upright heart and a good conscience, and, therefore, do not knowingly and habitually indulge in those things that are contrary to the mind of God... All my confidence towards God, all my leaning upon Him in the hour of trial will be gone, if I have a guilty conscience, and do not seek to put away this guilty conscience, but still continue to do things which are contrary to the mind of God. And if, in any particular instance, I cannot trust in God, because of the guilty conscience, then my faith is weakened by that instance of distrust; for faith with every fresh trial of it either increases by trusting God, and thus getting help, or it decreases by not trusting Him; and then there is less power of looking simply and directly to Him, and a habit of self-dependence is begotten and encouraged.’

Thirdly, he advised those who wanted their faith increased not to shrink from situations where their faith might be tested and thus strengthened. ‘In our natural state we dislike dealing with God alone... This cleaves to us, more or less, even after our regeneration. Hence it is, that, more or less, even as believers, we have the same shrinking from standing with God alone - from depending on God alone - from looking to Him alone - and yet this is the very position in which we ought to be, if we wish our faith to be strengthened.’ It is in trying situations, depending on God alone, that Muller said the believer ‘may see the hand of God stretched out on his behalf.’

Finally, Muller said it is important that ‘we let God work for us, when the hour of the trial of our faith comes, and do not do a work of deliverance of our own... However weak our faith may be, God will try it; only with this restriction, that as, in every way, He leads on gently, gradually, patiently, so as with reference to the trial of our faith... God never lays more upon us that He is willing to enable us to bear. Now when the trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God, and to trust rather in ourselves, or in our friends, or in our circumstances. We will rather work a deliverance of our own somehow or another, than simply look to God and wait for His help... Would the believer, therefore, have his faith strengthened, he must especially, give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove to His child, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver him, the moment it is good for him.’
(From “George Muller - Delighted in God!” by Roger Steer.)

I have found my own faith strengthened as I have meditated on the lives and words of men of faith, such as Mr. Muller. It should be our aim to edify one another in this way, and I hope that this book in some measure has accomplished that aim. Paul wrote of the effect that the saints have on one another as the faith of one is brought into contact with the faith of another.

Romans 1:11-12
For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine. 

Faith is such a precious thing. It is what Yahweh is searching for in the hearts of men and women. May Christ receive a positive answer to the question that lingers with such pregnant expectation to this day,

Luke 18:8
“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

May it be so, Father!


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