Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Choose to Believe

Matthew 6:28-30

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the fields grow?
They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, 
which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more
clothe you - you of little faith?

Matthew 11:20

Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of His miracles had
been performed because they did not repent.

John 2:11

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through
which He revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

If we were in a court of law and a case was being tried, we would see that evidence is a critical piece used to determine guilt or innocence. When it is overwhelmingly obvious in one direction or the other, a decision can be made with confidence and certainty.

Jesus performed miracles. Jesus died and rose from the dead. God sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide and we can hear His voice because of that Spirit that inside us. And yet we doubt.

This morning I was reading Exodus chapters 7-9. It's about a lot of plagues. Uncomfortable things like gnats, blood, flies, frogs, death, boils, and hail. None of those things are pleasant in isolation let alone in mass quantities. And despite the overwhelming evidence of God's power and abilities, we have a man in control that refuses to acknowledge, accept, and adapt his way of thinking. It's easy to pass judgment on his behavior in the sight of the overwhelming evidence that prooves the existance of what he insists on denying. Unfortunately we are more like him than we may realize.

Yesterday I had to journal my answers to a couple of questions in a book. And I know that more than once I have written about the fact that we act out of what we most believe to be true. However, in my responses I realized three key things:

* I don't believe what God says about me (pick a verse)
* I don't believe I have access to healing or that by His wounds I have been healed (Isaiah 53:5)
* I don't believe I've been rescued from this body of death (Romans 7:24)

So, regardless of whether I've seen flies, hail, gnats, dead livestock, boils, frogs, or blood, I have an entire book that I can open at any time and see undeniable proof of who God is and what He has done. I have also seen modern day miracles in my life and the lives of those I love. And yet I still doubt His words about me.

As I continued journaling, I wrote this to myself:

You keep waiting for the clouds to part and a thunderous voice from heaven to declare these things over you, essentially saying that the written word of truth is not enough; you seek audible proof that others can hear and will be forced to believe and accept rather than taking God at His word, in faith, believing it in your mind, and trusting He will grow it in your heart as you partner with His Spirit to intentionally cultivate it.

Writing this made me remember the words of Havilah Cunnington. I don't have an exact quote, but basically she said we keep waiting for an emotional experience when God wants us to have an intelligent encounter; He needs us to use the brain He gave us to analyze the facts in order to draw a proper conclusion.

As I sat thinking about what I read this morning and all God showed me yesterday, this is what I realized: Perfect love casts out fear, it does not remove problems.

I can look at what Jesus did on the cross, see His perfect love for me, and choose to believe that He loves me and will care for me, despite what's going on.

I can look at the miracles He's performed and choose to believe He is working another one and the water hasn't completely turned to wine yet, but that it will.

And I can wait to hear Him speak to me through His words and know that nothing He ever says falls flat, it just might take some time to bloom.

But all of this boils down to a choice. I can choose to beleive even when it's hard but can take the overwhelming evidence and know it's true OR I can choose to doubt in the face of overwhelming evidence of His grace, power, and compassion and be like Pharaoh.

There are so many voices that compete for space in our heads. And not all of them are alive and able to say things to our face. We still hear the nicknames from childhood, we still hear the rumors from highschool, we still hear the accusations from the enemy about our college years. And the only way to combat them is with the truth. But if we have a difficult time believing the truth, we must get to a point where we say it over and over and over again until it becomes louder and stronger than the voices of our past, the worries of our present, and the perceived problems of our future.

I said this yesterday, and I'll repeat it today, the enemy has been doing a lot to keep us distracted and occupied. We need to stop paying more attention to what he is saying than what the truth of God has declared. Jesus didn't die so that we could live in bondage and He has already declared us free. Let's choose to believe Him instead of continually waiting for the clouds to part and a declaration to be made. It's been decided; we just need to accept it.

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