The kingdom of God arrived with the incarnation of the Son of God. It was not evident to many, particularly those who rejected Jesus. However, with the progression of time those who believe in Jesus see more and more evidence of His rule as King. When Jesus returns, it will become clear to everyone.
Faith in Christ is something like that too. It starts out when He comes into a person’s life and becomes more evident with spiritual maturity and with a deeper understanding of who He is and what He can do.
When I first believed, I knew that Jesus is God in human flesh. As I read the Bible, read books about the Bible, and listened to those who spoke about spiritual matters, my understanding increased. Yet with each truth came a distinction; I believed it in my mind and reasoning, but unless Jesus revealed it to me as a ‘rhema’ or a special message from Him to me, it didn’t sink in and stick.
For a long time I wondered how I could be so forgetful. Then I began to see the difference between what some people call ‘head knowledge’ and ‘heart knowledge.’ These terms are not used in Scripture, yet it seems a biblical principle. Some passages call it ‘milk and meat’ with the latter referring to those revelations from God that produce obedience.
This morning, Chambers picks a short like from this passage, extrapolating on whether or not his readers have faith as a personal possession; otherwise known as heart knowledge.
Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:24–26)
I understand the question because I know that faith needs to be tested. I might say I believe, but when put to the test, my faith is proven solid. God knows the reality of it, but for me to really know that my faith is all that it should be, I must come into situations where the choice to believe is clearly set before me, like a test, and I pass that test.
Martha had seen the miracles of Jesus. She was now in a place where her faith was tested. Her brother was dead. Jesus had not shown up to heal him before that terrible event. Now what would Jesus do? She was hopeful and said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” (John 11:21–22)
Martha knew in her head that her brother would be raised from the dead on the last day. In other words, God could do that, but did she really know it? She expressed her trust in Jesus Christ by saying that whatever He asked, the Father in heaven would do.
When I think over some of the things that I claim to believe, that I’ve asked Jesus to do, and then He did it “exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or imagine” I realize that truly He is the author of faith and the One who makes it complete. Without Jesus, the truths of God would never get into my head, never mind make it to my heart and come out in life’s experiences or pass any of those tests.
Note: We left for church before I wrote all of this, and the sermon today matched my thoughts about the things God uses to test me so that He is on the throne of my life. He will not settle for anything else, including a place beside that throne only as my helper. He is the Lord, the One I trust to control and take care of all things. Some might call this a devotional and that sermon a ‘coincidence’ yet the more of my life that is wholly yielded to Him, the less I believe in happenstance or coincidence. He knows how to touch my heart!