December 17, 2018

Tests of Faith

For almost the entire year, I’ve been listless, unable to do much, slept a great deal and had little ambition. Now that my heart is running on a pacemaker and I have more energy, I’m starting to ask God what He wants me to do now that I can. I may have dozens of ideas but want to follow the Lord’s leading so am listening for His direction.

I didn’t hear the Holy Spirit in this morning’s devotional by Tozer so opened another. By God’s design, it talks about the importance of demonstrating faith by obedience. The Lord is reinforcing this determination to listen to Him, not to my ideas or even to the multitude of needs that clamor for attention.
The devotional begins with a firm statement; if I am a Christian, I will do what God says . . .

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3–6)

If I were in the army, I would obey the officers over me because that is part of being a soldier. Obeying Christ is part of being a Christian. It acknowledges that He is Lord!

Another part of being a Christian is that God is using all things to transform me into the likeness of His Son. Because that is happening, then the things I do should match up to the way Jesus lived and responded to those around Him. Sometimes when I’m in social situations, I am unsure of myself. The writer of this devotional says, “Remember you are a child of God and act as you believe a child of God should.” I like that advice.

The Bible also identifies true Christians by their love. This is obvious but not always easy!

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him.” (1 John 3:18–19)

As the devotional writer says, I cannot hate others and be walking with Jesus. My actions would deny my words. Recent sermons remind me that the people of God are not to play favorites or respond to people by the way they act, their appearance, or their status in life. Those sermons bring out the prejudices and biases of my old nature. They remind me of judgments my parents made that shaped my thinking. They also poked hard at the selfishness of making friends only with people that appeal to me.

The prayer at the end of this devotional is also a conviction but a good example of the needs in my heart. I don’t need to be perfect to serve Jesus, but change in some of these areas would be more than helpful so I am personalizing the prayer . . . 

Lord Jesus, give me a humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender and pitiful heart in all my works and in all my words and all my thoughts. Fill me with Your Spirit that I might have a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent love for You that goes way beyond my love of myself. Grant me Your love and favor. I do not deserve it nor can I earn it but I know that You love me because of Your great goodness and grace. Enable me to love others like that — not because of who they are but because of who You are in me.

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