When I go to a store I usually have a list, and once inside the store I go to item 1, then to item 2, then to item 3, and can be in and out within a few minutes. Barb also has a list, but for some reason her list leads her on a path resembling what a drunken sailor might walk when he leaves a bar at 2am and tries to remember where he parked that aircraft carrier.
Neither is the right or wrong way to go shopping, and we each end up with what we went for, but…I better stop before I get into trouble and just make my point.
When the Lord gives us a promise it will happen, but how we are emotionally between the promise and the time of the answer is either focused and steadfast, or we wander all over our emotions and thoughts putting ourselves through misery until the Father manifests the answer.
Today is about how to stand on the Word for a promise and remain steadfast.
How much faith do you have in what God told you?
Have you ever wondered how Peter could be so sound asleep in jail* just hours before his scheduled execution that the angel had to literally strike him on the side to awaken him?
Have you ever wondered why Paul just shook the viper off his hand* and continued working, with no harm coming to him and no mention of concern on his part? *Acts 12:7, 28:3-6
Faith in the Word and Word
In John 21:18-19 Jesus indicates to Peter he will die by crucifixion ‘when you are old’. When Peter was in jail sound asleep awaiting execution in Acts 12:7 it is no more than 12 years after Jesus told Peter how and when he would die. In Acts 12 he was set to be executed by sword and he wasn’t old – so he was able to deeply sleep knowing he would somehow get out of that situation.
In Acts 27:24 while Paul is on board a ship being driven by a long lasting storm, an angel appears to him and says ‘Fear not Paul, you must be brought before Caesar.’ So when the venomous snake bit Paul right after they were shipwrecked on Malta, he just threw it into the fire and went on working because he knew he would be brought before Caesar.
Instead of Peter questioning why he was in jail about to die when Jesus told him something else, and instead of Paul being in fear because a poisonous snake bit him and he was about to die in contradiction to what the angel said, each man chose to believe what they’d been promised and went on about their lives.
They used their brains
They had direction from the Lord, direct words, and they used their brains to think and reason.
People of faith often lay aside common sense and logic once they receive a prophecy, verse, or other promise they feel is from the Lord, often to their own hurt and even death. They have a word but when things happen contrary to that they run around like Barb’s shopping method, only instead of shopping they are in fear wandering here, there, and everywhere looking for assurance God is still in control.
But Peter and Paul were steadfast because they thought the promise through, and disciplined their thoughts and emotions accordingly. The pondered what they’d been told, giving them a quiet internal strength.
There was a man who received a personal prophecy that he would get wealthy in real estate. So without hesitation and without study, and without using any common sense from the brain God gave him, he began buying homes to then rent out. He mismanaged them because he hadn’t educated himself about the subject, went bankrupt, his wife left him, and he was homeless for a time – and he blamed it on God who told him he said ‘To get into real estate’.
God didn’t tell him ‘to get into real estate’, and the legitimacy of the prophecy is highly questionable because it was a single word not even in the man’s heart before that moment, and there were no other confirmations, but using the prophecy he threw common sense out the door, thinking God was his business partner.
He is not. He is God. He isn’t a business partner. Christ lives in you and is therefore with you at your job. But they hired you not Him – it is your job, your business, we make our way prosperous, and He will guide us along the way during which we use clear thinking and common sense.
There was an up and coming evangelist who was diagnosed with cancer. Yet after prayer he said the Lord told him he was healed, or would be healed. He refused all treatment because ‘God said’.
Some urged him to get treatment, noting that giving the promise of healing does not exclude doing what we are to do in the natural. But the young evangelist refused medical care, died, and left many confused about why if God said he was healed, he died. He should have sought treatment.
God may reveal to you that you have x job when you see the ad in the paper for it, but you still have to get up and go through the interview process – do what is right in the natural and let it come to pass, don’t try to make it come to pass, nor think because God said it means it will magically appear.
Led by personal prophecy?
In I Timothy 1:18-19 Paul tells Timothy “This charge I give you son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that by them you might war a good warfare; Holding faith and a good conscience; which some concerning the faith have made shipwreck…”
Notice Paul’s instruction about the handling of prophecy combines the spiritual and ‘common sense’. When Paul said to ‘war a good warfare’ he said to do so while ‘holding faith and a good conscience’.
Faith is spiritual, good conscience is natural. God requires both when He gives us a promise. It means doing things right and with honesty so we can maintain a clear conscience. God’s personal word to you will never require you to lie, cheat, steal, or to lay aside what is morally right.
II Peter 1:4 says “…through these are given to us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world that came by evil desires.”
We view promises as the point of answered prayer, this verse says God issues promises for the purpose of working in us the divine nature. The quicker you cooperate with Him to grow as a person and in Christ while ‘standing’ on a promise, the better off you will be emotionally and spiritually. Realize a promise is given for you to grow in Him – character building and fruit of the Spirit growth.
Faith with a clear conscience is the direct route to seeing God’s word come to pass. Or a person can be in fear and back away from opportunities for the growth that comes by disciplining thoughts and emotions, and doing the right thing even if it is difficult.
Many back away from difficulty thinking it is the devil or they just don’t want to go through it. My experience has been usually the difficult decision and hardest on the flesh, is part of that ‘divine nature’ He wants us to grow in. When you value growth in Him above all else because in those times is when you get to know Him best, you will be steadfast like Peter and Paul.
Think His promises through, not for the purpose of figuring out how it might happen and then arranging your life to help Him make it happen – but ponder these things in your heart, do what is right, choose growth in the divine nature, and allow Him to work it out.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,