Voice of faith

 

Where There is Faith – 4Him

 

These are three questions that find their way into my thought pattern every day:

  • Has God spoken to me today through His Word?
  • What needs to change in my life for me to look more like Jesus
  • Who is the Holy Spirit going to put in my life so that I can invest in them?

Hebrews chapter eleven challenges me when I seem to be slowing down by not being able to answer those questions – it stirs me up. It is the kind of faith that without having, I cannot please God.

It also happens to be the only place in the Bible where there is a clear, stand alone definition of faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1  ESV

Faith is one of the three foundations given to us from where all other Christian graces stand on. It is the foundation by which I keep my place as a follower of Jesus in which produces the good works that I am called to be known by. It gives me the confidence and conviction that enables me to grasp the future while living in the present – seeing the unseen in the midst of the seen. So I walk by faith and not by sight.

The world in which I live does resemble God in nature but not in operation. There are strange contradictions of justice, truth, goodness – we see wrong prevailing over right, honour given to what is known to be dishonourable. We honour the strength of mind and body over being good. I am confronted with my own hypocrisy, at every moment of temptation where the consequences of yielding to them seem far away. Even as far as I might be, or forgetful of my own inclinations or of my weakness, I have to share the truth – there is a voice from the depths of my soul that never ceases to repeat that right is really stronger than wrong, and truth is better than dishonesty and justice is more real than injustice.

I believe that this voice is the Holy Spirit and to believe in it, obey it and surrender to it as He guides me through life, I come away with a firm conviction that He will guide me and keep me until I come to be with Him. It is in believing in His voice that enables me to hear the voices of the world and understand that those do not belong to Him.

So when I talk about the questions I ask myself every day, there is still one more. When the enemy comes against me at the moment the voice demands my obedience, he proclaims my sinfulness. So I think I am too weak. So now which voice will I follow – the one that leads to peace or my own destruction? This is where this chapter captures my heart.  Jesus’ life, words and death allow me with confidence to confess that He is in fact the very image of the Father. He laid hold of a human nature and made it His own. He declared promises that corresponded to every need of my soul. These have taken place in the lives of people of God throughout history. So He bids me to surrender to Him, following Him and His leading, trusting in His protection and ultimately His power.  The promise of His power comes with the promise of victory over sin. He will forgive, He will love, He will carry me through all that I will encounter. I am to cling to Jesus in spite of the pain, darkness and perplexing questions, even the thoughts of my own sin – for this is the expression of my faith. For what is not seen by many is the strength of my Master who walks with me through the seen and the unseen.

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No division

 

I was reading up on some Shakespeare pieces as there was pointed out to me that he was not free to put God in any of them but alluded to things about God in them. In particular, I wanted to read The Phoenix and the Turtle as there was a stanza there about the Trinity.

So they lov’d, as love in twain 
Had the essence but in one; 
Two distincts, division none: 
Number there in love was slain. – Shakespeare, The Phoenix and the Turtle 
I see the math dynamics for sure and if I were to read some of the Trinity pieces in the same era as Shakespeare I believe I would understand the counterparts even better.  I do understand John much better and I think this explains just how united and close the Trinity operate together in community.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. – John 17:20-24  ESV
Could it be that Jesus selection of disciples were so radically different in temperament, personality and political philosophy – so that because of their glaring differences, their unity was so evident.
Jesus desires unity, closeness and a love with His disciples and that love reflects the very same love in the Trinity.
Notice how different this prayer was from the one in which He taught the disciples to pray.
“The request of our Lord thus given in John’s seventeenth chapter is clearly no prayer of an inferior to a superior: constantly there is seen in it the co-equality of the Speaker with The Father. The Two have but one mind… Where the Son speaks He is not seeking to bend The Father to Him: rather is He voicing the purpose of the Godhead.” – Trench
The message to me as a disciple is this – without love and without unity I do not deserve credibility.
Unity does not mean uniformity, but rather to remain in love, in spite of tensions and conflicts. The unity in love revealed in the Trinity is the model for communities – no division.

The advantage of believing in the Trinity is not that we get an “A” from God for knowing the right answer. The advantage of believing in the Trinity is that we then live as if the Trinity is real, as if the cosmos around us is actually beyond all else a community of unspeakable magnificent personal beings of boundless love, knowledge and power. – Dalles Willard

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