Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Recently, God challenged me about my faith. He asked me “Is it personal and real?” Finding myself in a situation where my faith has been challenged over and over again earns me this little pat on my cheek from God.
My symptoms were; constant state of flux, anxiety that I was praying away most of the time, worry, worry and then more worry. The same scripture verses were being worn out like a rug that is trampled on hour after hour, day after day, week after week.
Now, I consider my faith to be one of my strengths. I have read over and over the words of God and understand His faithfulness and how He works. I know I can trust Him and depend on Him. I believe every word written in the Bible with all my heart. I am thankful for all the testimonies of the disciples of Jesus and the great role model prophets like Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel.
I know that God is a mighty God and that He delivers, protects, provides, encourages, comforts, motivates, loves and gives mercy after mercy. I KNOW this!!! God knows I KNOW this. But there is a difference between knowing and believing things in my head and believing in my heart….. He not only wants me to know and believe in my heart……He wants me to OWN it!! It has to be personal and real, not just knowledge.
We can memorize scripture and the Holy Spirit will bring them to mind when we need them, but memorizing in your head is different from having them written on your heart.
Remember the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the book of Daniel? They refused to bow down and worship the golden idol King Nebuchadnezzar had made because they feared God above the King. Even when they knew that standing on their faith could kill them, they chose to stand by God.
The King said bow to me or I will throw you into the fiery furnace. He told those in his command to crank up the fire hotter than it had ever been before (Daniel 3:19). They could see the fire, what they couldn’t see was God.
In their moment of truth, they chose God. See, not only did they have the head knowledge about God, they also had heart-felt, life-altering, soul-committing faith that even if God did not save them from the fire, obeying and believing in Him was more important.
So what did God do with that truth? He sent His Son Jesus into the fire with them and He protected them from the flames. Their personal and real faith in the supernatural allowed God to show up and show off!! When the doors of the furnace were opened, they walked out without a single burn blister or blemish on their flesh. They didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them. The men sent to throw them into the furnace were burned up in the process (Daniel 3:22), but these three young men walked away with their lives better than before the fire.
How many times are we challenged to stand firm in our faith even when we can’t see how our problems can be solved? We can see the issue but we can’t see God.
We have to make our faith personal and real. We have to take our knowledge and own it. Worry, fear, doubt and anxiety bring harm to our lives, yet we give life to them. These things that are tools of our enemy, are used to keep us from making our faith just as real and giving life to it. Faith is a choice the same as worry and anxiety. We can choose to believe God or the enemy.
How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego make their faith real? They committed themselves inwardly first and then publicly. They encouraged each other and reminded each other of God’s goodness in the past. They took their eyes off the problem and put them onto God and stood firm and unwavering in the truth.
God doesn’t tell us it will be easy, but He does tell us He will always be with us in the good times and the bad. Do you believe Him? Is your faith personal and real?
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;” (Psalm 121: 1-3)