Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pure, innocent trust

Be absolutely sure of what you don’t yet see, act and live as if it’s already yours, and it will become reality. That’s a paraphrase of the defining verse on faith in Hebrews 11. It has nothing to do with selfish wishes or magic, but merely a practical faith based strictly on His promises and commandments. Jesus is so clear and straightforward about His guarantee of answered prayer, it’s almost too good to be true. We’ll even try to argue it away, “Jesus didn’t REALLY mean that, did He?” 

“I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”  John 14:13-14

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also, if you say to this mountain, “Be removed, and be thrown into the sea,” it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe, you will receive.’”  Matthew 21:21-22

“If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it shall be done for you.”  John 15:7

It’s like a dream come true, to have “anything” or “whatever you desire” given to “everyone who asks.” It’s so amazing, it seems to awaken the child inside of us. And that’s exactly what God wants, because that’s how He sees us—as His children.  He wants us to expect wonderful things with that same innocent faith that our own kids display. The joy we see in our child’s eyes when he or she fully trusts in our simple promises is priceless. It gives us even more joy when we fulfill that promise and see their excitement and gratitude. Our bond with them grows even deeper with each experience. That sensation is a tiny glimpse of the immense joy that God has when we go through the same process of pure and innocent trust in Him. God loves to bless us, not just for the blessing, but for the deepened bond of trust we develop each time we step out in faith. Faith unites us to Him. It’s impossible to please Him without it.

Faith that saves us for eternity, is just as childlike as the faith we need for specific miracles. Our problem is that we consider ourselves too sophisticated. We’re too jaded and calloused by the world to really trust like a child. But if we say that He’s our Lord, then more should be happening than simply enduring the frustration of evil overcoming good. If Jesus’ words are true, then the daily experiences of His presence correcting, guiding, answering our prayers and empowering us to fight the devil, will be evident. If not, we need to examine ourselves and ask why, because it’s not God’s fault. Maybe we’re going through all the right motions of faith, but the inner, childlike purity and innocence is missing. We have to tear down our lofty ideas of being “realists” that explain away why we don’t see His promises come true. We know nothing compared to His wisdom, and He isn’t impressed with our years of experience, our ministries, or our status in the hierarchy of our community. He is definitely not impressed with religiosity, or an appearance of holiness that covers hidden sins.

We are sheep: vulnerable, not too bright, and totally dependent on our Shepherd. We are children: needing love, care and discipline from our Father. Stop assuming that you’re doing everything perfectly, and stop thinking of yourself as a “realist” as you quench the Spirit who wants to bless you. Answered prayers, miracles, deliverance, healing—they are promised to those who are truly His. True children, true sheep, truly vulnerable, truly humble. The more mature a Christian grows, the more he knows that he is small, utterly dependent, and utterly loved.  

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