To Know God and Believe Him…
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me. –Isaiah 43:10
Because we want to get our eyes off ourselves, our reputations, our shortcomings, our
needs wants, our hurts, our performances, we are going to focus on 5 benefits God describes in His Word that he intends for his children. These five benefits depict the Spirit-filled life. They show us the character of Jesus and of Christ in us.
This allows us to change our focus from “Am I doing it right?” to “How can I believe God, glorify Him, find satisfaction in Him, experience His peace, and enjoy His presence?”
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. –Genesis 1:27
For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.- Colossians 1:27
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. –Galatians 2:20
Time to reflect:
- What would your life be like if you totally believed God?
- How would your life be different if your greatest desire became to glorify God?
- What would it mean for you to find satisfaction in God?
- Describe your life if God’s peace wrapped around you and protected you even in the midst of the greatest possible turmoil.
- What difference would it make if you could perfectly enjoy God’s presence with nothing to come between you and Him?
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. –Hebrews 11:6
What you believe about God is the most important thing about you. We are in this room tonight because we believe IN God, but like Isaiah 43:10 says, do we BELIEVE HIM?
Do we believe God IS who he says he is? That he can do what he says he can do? That we are in him who he says we are? That he can work through us? Do we really believe He has promised an abundant life for us? That he wants us to have a peace that transcends all understanding? That he is with us and for us and will FIGHT for us? That we can do ALL things through him?
God has chosen us for two reasons: 1) to know him and 2) to believe him.
Know = yada “to ascertain by seeing”
Believe = aman”to believe, trust, have confidence”
God wants us to know him intimately through personal experience. He does not want us to settle for secondhand faith. He wants us to trust him because we know him intimately and because we can see evidences of his work. Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” **See God refers to unveiling himself to us, glimpses of himself, and eternity.
Many variables in our life affect our willingness to trust God. A painful loss or a dreadful betrayal; a broken heart never mended by the one true Healer; any of those handicap us terribly when we’re challenged to trust God. (Our view of God is sometimes limited interactions in other human relationships, although we know Isaiah 55:8- that his ways are higher than our ways.)
Read Mark 9:14-24.
As simplistic as it seems, the largest obstacle we have in believing God is unbelief. We can believe in Christ for salvation in a matter of seconds, yet spend the rest of our days believing him for little more. (We trust God with our eternity, but sometimes struggle to trust him with the day-to-day stuff.) The Greek word for unbelief is ‘apistos,’ meaning “not worthy of confidence, untrustworthy.” Unbelief is crippling. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” In other words, the steps we take forward with God we take through faith or belief. Therefore, unbelief literally cripples our spiritual walk, casting huge obstacles in the way of victorious journey here on earth.
Sometimes if we feel God hasn’t been faithful to us, it’s because:
- We misinterpreted a promise from God. (or don’t know His promises)
- We compare our lives with others.
- We missed the answer altogether.
- We gave up before God timed his response.
Help for the Weary…
Now for the good news! If we’re willing to admit our lack of confidence in Him, Christ is more than willing to help us overcome our unbelief.
The most effective key to believing God is right before our eyes: The more we know Him, the more we will believe Him.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. –Psalm 119:28
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. –Romans 10:17
The more you digest God’s Word, the more you will find it filled with precious treasures. Ex: Revelation 1:8, Isaiah 44:6
Christ is fully God. He can heal anyone or perform any wonder. Christ isn’t asking us to believe in our ability to exercise unwavering faith. He is asking us to believe he is able& asking for his help with our unbelief. When it comes to bringing us a life of freedom, God is willing. (We are not talking about physical healing.) Although God can and does heal physical sicknesses, sometimes He chooses greater glory through illness. He does not always bring healing on this earth. Rest assured, however, He created you to be FREE to love Him. He always desires to see you grow in that freedom. Remember (from last week) that God always wills for you to be free from strongholds. He may not choose to heal us from every disease or prosper us with tangible blessings, but “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).
- Christians can have areas of captivity. (Gal 5:1)
- Christ can set anyone free from captivity. (Luke 4:18)
- God is fully acquainted with you personally and wants what is best for you. (Ps 139:1-3, Isa 48:17)
- We have an invisible but very real enemy called Satan. (Eph 6:10-12)
- Our hearts can want what’s desperately wrong for us. (Jer 17:9)
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God and true. (2 Tim 3:16, Ps 18:30)
A few final thoughts…
We tend to run to God for temporary relief, but God is looking for people who will walk with Him in steadfast belief. The biggest threat to the enemy is a consistent (not lukewarm) walk with the Lord.
Every word we speak brings life or death. Every thought is either from us, from the enemy, or from God. Every action brings God glory or doesn’t.
Source: Moore, Beth. Living Free. Lifeway Christian Resources; 2002/Christian Growth Study Plan edition (December 31, 2001)