March 28, 2016

Faith vs. reason

The deeper and stronger my prayer life, the greater the attacks of that liar, Satan, to tip me over and stop me from praying. Yet I know that God is sovereign. In the story of Job, clearly the devil could only do what God allowed, and God allowed Job’s trials to prove that faith in Him was not based on ‘the good life.’ Job’s trial tested and proved that the faith the Lord gives His people is powerful and will stand firm no matter what happens.

At the time, Job did not understand the ‘what and why’ of his torment. He lost his family and possessions and his friends insisted he must have sinned or all that would not be happening to him. Job insisted his innocence, not in a general ‘I have never sinned’ declaration, but by insisting that he knew he was not being chastened for any particular sin. Still they accused him. If Job made any mistake, it was that he questioned God’s actions. In his mind, obedience and a faithful life were supposed to result in blessing, not the horrors that happened to him.

I understand this man’s questions. If I am doing as the Lord asks me, why then does He allow that old Liar to come at me? The NT says that if I yield to God, then I can resist the devil and he will flee from me. Obviously I need to remember that God does not promise that the Liar will never come at me in the first place.

But sometimes the ‘yielding to God’ part is tough. The stabbing jabs of the Devil are always deeply troublesome, but the guidance of God can also throw me into a head spin. I’m not alone. Jesus was told that His friend Lazarus was ill, but He didn’t immediately rush to his side . . .

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” (John 11:7–8)

This action made no sense to the disciples. They finally agreed to go, but thought they were on a suicide mission. Sometimes, when God calls for a course of action, I feel the same way; it doesn’t make sense.

Chambers understands also, but he points out how dangerous to say that Jesus is mistaken. How can I think that obeying God is wrong, or that doing something that seems wrong to me will dishonor the Lord? I might want to ‘protect’ His reputation, but what do I know compared to God?

God’s commands come to me with quiet persistence. If I start weighing the pros and cons, and begin to doubt and debate Him, this is not of God. It is my rationale trying to decide if He is right. Yet that makes no sense. I would not cut from the Bible the words I don’t like, so why would I obey only the commands that make sense?

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17) so “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5)

Faith means stepping out in obedience even when I cannot see why or understand the purpose. When Satan tempts me and the issues are strong in that I cannot see the outcome, I dare not try to make sense of it by my intelligence. God’s ways are higher than mine, and faith is not always intelligent understanding. It is a deliberate commitment and choice to trust and obey a perfect Person who does not make mistakes.

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