Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
THE THRILL OF FAITH
When you decided to receive Christ, your faith was at a beginning point. From there it needed to grow and develop (2 Thess. 1:3). To increase your faith, you must work at it as deliberately as you would exercise to build up your muscles. Muscles become flabby through disuse and so does faith. While God makes it possible for you to believe in Christ, He leaves the exercising and growth of your faith up to you.
As your faith grows within you, Christ becomes more real, His promises more certain, and His desires more urgent. You will be developing your capacity to realize the things of God which cannot be detected with the senses. Therefore, to enjoy the new life, you need to be systematic in building your faith. Here are some steps or practical ideas that can bring you to the place where it is exciting and fun to live for Christ!
1. MEMORIZE THE FAITH PRINCIPLE
There is a point in man at which faith can operate on the basis of evidence, and God has chosen not to go beyond it. Man is designed capable of acting in faith toward God and this separates him from the animals. God, therefore, wisely supplies only enough evidence for people to come to Him if they will. But He will not force them.
There is a world of difference between hearts responding and minds being persuaded. So the Lord uses the faith principle: God supplies sufficient evidence for faith to operate, but not enough to convince the unbelieving mind. To you, this means God will always supply enough evidence for you to act in faith toward Him, but He will not interfere with your free will decisions. He will not violate the faith principle on your behalf, so don’t expect it.
There will be times when you wish He would make an exception so that you could better know His will. But it won’t come. And don’t be like those who expect Him to take their hands and show them what to do. If God did that, your faith would have no exercise. It can only grow through exercise, and convincing evidence would make your faith unnecessary.
This is not to say that God won’t open doors for you. To be sure, He will. It simply means that He will not shout His desires. There will be no telegrams or peculiar flashes in your mind. If God intruded into your life with mind-convincing demonstrations, you wouldn’t even have to think anymore. And that would defeat His purpose. Instead, He abides by the faith principle and it will help you to know it.
2. CONSIDER YOURSELF A CHILD
God is bringing you to maturity through the faith method. One can remain baffled for a long time if he does not understand that God wants him to grow up. For the most part, you will seem to be completely on your own to do as you will. Sometimes you will think that God does not hear when you pray. In some situations, it will appear He has closed shop. But do not fear, His eyes are not off you for a single moment (Psa. 34:15). It’s just that to bring you to maturity, He must leave you on your own as much as He can.
You may reach an important crossroad and plead with God for definite instructions, all along desiring His perfect will. Yet for all that happens, He seems not to have heard. But this is only because He wants you to decide for yourself. He is not raising babies who have to be led about by the hand. He wants people who can learn to think and act as He does.
God is pleased when His children can act just like Christ without undue prompting from Him. The more tender and receptive a heart, the more quietly He can speak (Isa. 30:21). When a person thinks through a situation and says to himself, “Well, I know what Jesus would do if He were in my shoes, and that’s what I am going to do,” God’s heart is filled with joy.
God longs to see His children reach the place where they act just like Him because they know Him so well and love Him. The more they grow, the less evidence He has to supply. It can reach the place where they will trust Him completely regardless of how bleak circumstances might appear, and still, He doesn’t intervene. Like Job they say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
3. MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME IN THE BIBLE
Let a seeking heart come to the Bible and he will be thrilled and satisfied with what he reads. Let a doubting mind come, and it appears a confusion of fragmented stories and splicing of history. Each person must satisfy themselves on its authority as they accept or reject the Spirit’s witness.
Only in the Bible are the truths of God’s person revealed (John 5:39). Nature is filled with evidence of His Glory, but in the Book alone He is described as an individual (Psa. 19:1). If you would become thoroughly acquainted with the Christ who dwells in your heart by faith, then you will need to read and reread His Word. You will not be able to know the Lord fully and have fun with Him until you become as familiar with His Word as your own backyard.
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the things of Christ when you pick up the Book. There is nothing He likes to do better (John 16:13,14). Your heart will explode with delight and wonder as the magnitude of His unselfishness and generosity reaches your understanding. The world has not produced anyone like Him and fellowship with Him will change your life completely.
4. PRAY LIKE A SON OR DAUGHTER
Prayer is talking to God. It is a very real part of the faith program, for even though you cannot see God or receive an audible answer from Him, He still hears every word you say. He enjoys having His children come to Him asking Him to do things. He enjoys it still more when He is thanked.
There isn’t anything He wouldn’t do for His own—anything, that is, that wouldn’t hurt them. Those things that interfere with getting them ready to live with Him have to be denied, naturally. Though He is a loving Father, He is wise and will not grant anything that would hurt spiritually.
Develop the habit of talking to God about everything. The more you can talk to Him and picture Him as listening to every word you say, the more your faith will grow. Soon you won’t think of Him as being in heaven anymore, but right there with you all the time. And too, you wouldn’t want to miss out on all the contentment and gratification that can be yours just because you are too busy to stop and talk with Him. Actually, you can’t afford it—it’s too expensive. It costs the real fun of belonging to Christ.
If you don’t experience an internal revolution when you pray, it does not mean that God hasn’t heard. If what you have requested or suggested fits into the grand scheme, the answer is guaranteed:
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14,15 NASB).
These verses state that you can be certain your requests are heard and answered if they fit in the scheme of getting you (or others) ready for heaven. Or if it won’t hurt you, you can expect a favorable answer.
God’s answers are “yes, no, and not now.” Frequently, your requests may not be too well-timed with what He is working out in your life and there will be a “wait” until events catch up. Then you will see your requests filled. This remains a matter of timing since you do not know the heavenly schedule. Don’t let this disturb you or diminish your confidence in Him. Actually, it is a blessing. Many people can look back over the years and be grateful God did not grant all their petitions.
5. FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS
The local church was never intended to be a greenhouse for raising delicate Christians, yet it surely provides a wonderful climate for faith to operate. When Christians gather to worship and serve the Lord, it has the effect of bringing many evidences for faith together under one roof. To deny yourself this is to rob yourself of many thrilling and satisfying evidences that could strengthen your faith.
How thrilling to be in the midst of people who sing because Christ has made them happy; who serve because they know His love; who share because they are excited with His example. Nothing can compare with the sweet oasis of Christian fellowship.
In any church where Christ is loved as God in Person and His Word is treasured as truth, you can see a mountain of evidence that will make it easier for you to enjoy your faith. The next time you go, watch for them and see if you don’t come away ready to trust Him more! If you are really satisfied with a particular church or fellowship group, join it, and let your faith add to the strength of someone else.
6. SERVING OTHERS
Something wonderful happens when you serve Christ. It strengthens your faith. Somewhere along the line, you will be asked to do a job for the Lord or be given an opportunity to serve Him in an important way. Your first thought might be, “I could never do that!” And as you consider your feeble qualifications, you will be tempted to shy away from the task. But that is the time to say, “With God’s help, I will do it.”
The Christian who says to himself, “I have my salvation, I’ll just relax, enjoy it, and let the world go by,” could have a surprise coming. He may discover his faith, instead of growing, gets weaker. It may even show signs of dying. In time he can become helpless and useless. Of course, this is not God’s way. “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17 NASB).
The person of faith is that busy Christian eager to serve the Lord. He is always asking the Lord for a job. He is ever seeking His leading in a job. And beyond that, he is continually knocking to see what kind of an opportunity he can turn up: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7 NASB). He knows that even if he creates his own job, it can only be done in the power of God.
7. EXPECT TO MAKE MISTAKES
God is not unrealistic. If He puts you on your own, it is almost certain you will make mistakes. He knows you will have failures and has provided for it (1 John 2:1). In fact, it is practically certain you will slip, backslide, or whatever name you use to classify these growing pains (Rom 14:23b).
What the Bible does guarantee is God’s provision of unlimited forgiveness. God loves to forgive; it is part of His very nature to forgive. For the Christian who is willing to humble himself, there is a boundless sea of forgiveness. But this is not to say that God is happy about sin. Never! He hates it, but He is the Great Forgiver. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:19 NASB).
NOW ENJOY YOUR FAITH
Once you pass from this life into the presence of God, you will never again be able to trust His promises by faith since there will be no more faith. You will never again be able to pass up the temptations of godless living as none will be offered. All the opportunities of faith will be gone then, and we will walk by sight and not by faith (Rev. 21:4).
So now in the fleeting years, make the most of your time on earth. Squeeze every drop of joy and profit from each day’s adventure in faith. Live it so abundantly, that when you look back from the other side, you won’t say, “Oh, if I could only have another chance at the faith life, how differently I would live it.” That would be sad, wouldn’t it? Now is the time. Only now can you love and obey Him by faith. Soon the opportunity will be gone. Faith is for this passing moment. . .
SO ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN!
C. S. Lovett
Dr. Lovett’s best-selling book, DEALING WITH THE DEVIL, has been updated and revised for today’s readers. It is available on Amazon.com and sells for $14.99. Click HERE for more information.
WITNESSING MADE EASY has been newly revised in the 2019 edition and also contains suggestions for using your computer as a witnessing tool. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com for $14.99. Click HERE for information.
THE PREPARED LIFE book is a valuable resource for you and your family that can help you be prepared to deal with today's problems and end-times events. This book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $13.99 and is also available in Kindle form for $7.99 (new lower price). Click HERE for more information. You can also check with your bookstore to see if they can order these books for you.
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