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Chapter 3. Nature of God- Faith
I realized that on the cross Jesus didn’t say “into my faith I commend my spirit.” He said “into your (God’s) hands I commend my spirit.” I then realized I was looking at faith as up to me rather than up to God.
Jesus had learned to not put His trust in His faith but in God’s nature, i.e., that God can do what the Bible says He can do. This hit me like a thunderbolt.
The ramifications for faith have been far reaching:
-our faith is not dependent on our ability to have faith, but on God’s ability to be who He says He is;
-to increase your faith, increase your understanding of God’s nature;
-the goal of faith is to learn through tests and trials to lean on God’s nature instead of standing on “your” faith.
It has set me free to be able to trust God’s nature instead of my faith, which I didn’t have total faith in. I no longer doubt my salvation or fear the future. Anytime I have negative thoughts or emotions, I just focus on God’s nature instead of trying to summon up faith in my faith. I believe depression, anxiety and fears cannot exist the more we learn to lean on God’s nature.
There is an interesting analogy in Song of Solomon 8:5 of the maiden (the church) coming from the wilderness (trials and tests) leaning on her beloved (Jesus). This is the goal of our faith, to learn through trials and tests to totally lean on God and His nature. This defines how we should view life. We should be more concerned with what we are to learn about God’s nature during a trial rather than trying to use “our” faith to get through the trial. God doesn't want you to try to stand by faith when you are feeling crushed. He wants you to acknowledge that you can't do it and that you are leaning on Him and letting His strength carry the load. I need to add a caveat here. Leaning implies you must be willing to let God, not you, determine how your situation turns out. You are relinquishing your will into God's hands.
We learn God’s nature by meditating on what the Bible says about Him and by how we let Him take us through trials and tests. Also, we learn God's nature by meditating on Jesus and His actions while on earth since Jesus told His disciples that if they knew Him they would know the Father (God). The reference above to leaning can form a powerful mental picture. Whenever I feel attacked by negative thoughts or feelings, I form this mental picture of myself leaning on Jesus and God and God’s nature. This approach can be a life-changer. It will set you free in all areas of your life.
To those struggling with worry, depression, anxiety, or fear:
Meditate on the nature of God until the worry, depression, anxiety or fear is replaced by the certainty that you can trust God no matter what happens. (This last part is very important. You must relinquish your right to outcomes.)
Also practice what I call “recognize and refuse.” The devil will keep trying to present a wrong image of yourself. Until your thinking can be washed by God’s true image of you, recognize when you have the wrong image and refuse it. Do it over and over. This is stiff medicine and has to be taken every day, especially on the bad days. God knows how to deal with your situation.
To help get started with how to meditate on God's nature, I will list some names of God that are in the Old Testament. This should not replace serious Bible study, however.
-Lord God Almighty
-The Most High God
-The Lord My Banner
-The Lord My Shepherd
-The Lord That Heals
-The Lord is There
-The Lord Our Righteousness
-The Lord Who Sanctifies You
-The Everlasting God
-The Lord will Provide
-The Lord is Peace
-The Lord of Hosts
-Our Father (New Testament)
Note: Israel in the Old Testament basically did not have the concept of God as Father. Jesus changed that. Through His blood we are now children of God. That makes God our Heavenly Father.
-Psalm 23 is great for seeing God's nature in action
Note 1: We first have faith IN Jesus for salvation, then we are to have the faith OF Jesus for our Christian walk after salvation. The faith OF Jesus is one based on God's nature, as the scripture quoted at the beginning of this chapter showed.
Note 2: Jesus is our example, our “template,” the firstborn from the dead, and the head of the church. We model our Christian walk after Him, i.e., die to self, guided by the Holy Spirit, and one with the Father. As Jesus did during His earthly ministry, we tell others about the Kingdom of God, which for us equates to telling others about Jesus. We witness for Jesus by what we say and how we live. He is our bridegroom, which for a man is a somewhat difficult role to imagine, but we do our best. We are to be constantly aware that it is because of Jesus and the power of His name that we walk in the presence and fullness of God. It has nothing to do with us. So when we use the name of Jesus, it is not as a sword but as a covering of our frail human nature. And all this is why we love Him so.
Note 3: Unfortunately, our thoughts often dwell on worst-case scenarios when we are in the midst of a situation. And while I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell on them, we need to address how to approach them because: 1) the devil uses them to attack us, and 2) they can happen even though they usually don’t. Worst-case scenario thinking needs to be countered with worst-case scenario faith. We need to get to the point where we can trust God and His nature even if the worst case happens. This is the kind of faith that allowed Jesus to face the Cross, the three Israelites to face Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, and Paul to face all the dangers he had to endure. I can’t guarantee that you will never have to face a worst-case scenario, but I can guarantee that it is possible to have worst-case scenario faith, as the examples above show. I encourage you to face your worst-case scenario demons and come to a place where you know you could endure them with faith, faith in God’s nature to handle even these. God doesn’t cause worst-case scenarios to happen. Sin does.
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