November 1, 2013

Got Faith? God in a Box

The concept of faith is a daily part of our lives, yet ever just out of reach of our truly understanding it. In the West, its intrinsic value is lost on many of this generation because of the liberal mindset of the majority. The definition of faith is a “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.” (Encarta Dictionary: North American English) People don’t realize that in their quest for a better knowledge of our universal existence, they’ve removed the very mechanism for best understanding why we’re here and where we came from. Those who refuse to accept the existence of YHWH as their creator are putting their faith in the idea that there is nothing to reasonably put any faith in.

In many countries, people do believe in gods and goddesses; divine entities who work in the lives of humans. These entities must exist, because they’ve been seen. Their followers are witness to an immense power and controlling fear which surrounds these beings. The people have faith that these gods will react to their actions. So, when people hear of the saving grace and healing power of YHWH, they are eager to follow Christ, because they know that as powerful as their evil demonic gods are, YHWH is more powerful. His Word shows us that He acts out of love for His people. YHWH is merciful to those who love Him, not controlling through terrifying retribution.

I think it’s harder for people in the West to realize just how great YHWH is, because as a whole we have shut our minds to the idea of anything being bigger than Man’s genius. YHWH doesn’t fit in a box, so we can’t fully accept Him. Within the churches and assemblies of YHWH whatever power we generally see is mediocre compared to that witnessed by those who look for Him to fully manifest Himself in their lives.

I once read a quote by Philip Yancey which said, “I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” There is no logical or rational proof of YHWH in advance. We can see the effects of His working in and around us. Like wind, we can see that something is there, but we can rarely actually see what is causing the leaves in the trees to move. We know He’s there because we have seen what He has done, how He has worked around us. And it makes sense, in reverse. We have to be willing to believe that YHWH is not entirely logical. Ideas aren’t logical. People aren’t logical. Logical reasoning can be helpful in trying to piece together what goes on around us, but in the end the most likely answer may or may not be completely rational.
I think this is a large contributing factor to why there is a great revival and growth in third-world countries; because they have no choice but to realize their physical and spiritual bondage to an irrational spiritual enemy. It’s a huge part of their lifestyle, their culture. The great majority has never viewed themselves as deity; they’re slaves, and they realize that. So they can understand and readily accept the idea of being a bondservant to an intelligent, concerned Master and Savior. They understand that they are freer as servants of Christ than as servants of the devils (Romans 6, 1 Corinthians 7:22). They realize that his “yoke is easy and his burden is light,” (Matthew 11:30, KJV) and that those who trust in him will be saved from damnation. Because before they were shown the Messiah, they lived with the understanding that they were damned no matter what they did. They had no choices. They might be rich or poor, but in the end they knew they were headed down the same path.

All people are headed down that path if they do not accept the covenant given us in YHWH’s Word. But in the West we don’t seem to realize it as much, or take it as seriously. Our eyes are blinded to it, whether willfully or in ignorance. All people have a choice, once they’ve heard and had access to the truth. YHWH puts before all people “a blessing and a curse: the blessing, when you obey the commands of your Elohim which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commands of your Elohim, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other mighty ones...” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28, The Scriptures 1998)

Paul tells us, “So then belief comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Elohim.” (Romans 10:17, The Scriptures 1998)This is in context of people being sent to share the gospel and live it out before others who have never had access to Torah. They won’t have faith in YHWH unless they’ve first heard of Him and his righteousness. They won’t be told unless YHWH has sent someone to teach them. This is the purpose of the people of Israel, to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  (1 Peter 2:9-10, KJV) Micah admonishes us, “He has declared to you, O man, what is good. And what does YHWH require of you but to do right, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?” (Micah 6:8, The Scriptures 1998)

It is almost ironic that so many of the dispersion of Israel are in Western countries, and yet these same countries are the most apathetic towards the Word of YHWH. There is something colossally wrong with that. This should not be amongst people who generally consider themselves to be followers of Christ; whether that is as a nation, church, “movement,” or individual.

I’ve heard it said that the Holy Spirit isn’t for today, but I’ve seen the effects of it working in and through the lives of those around me, when we have faith enough to let YHWH do His work without our meddling. I’ve heard it said that great men of faith, people who accomplish much for the work of the Kingdom are only once in a generation. I don’t agree with that. I read books about hundreds of people in India who are coming to the knowledge of YHWH’s Word on a daily basis, as they see his healing and the casting out of demons that control whole villages, as they witness the immense power of the one true God. I know that it’s possible. I know that it’s growing all over the world. But why isn’t it happening at home?

As a whole we’re arrogant; we try to fit God in a box that we can reason with. We refuse to admit that YHWH doesn’t work like that. We can’t control Him and expect an almighty result. We limit ourselves to what we can do, and expect Him to bless our efforts. It’s like praying over your McDonald’s French Fries. Do you really think that YHWH’s going to change the calorie content of your poor food choice? Really.

We need to shift our paradigm. We need to go back to YHWH’s original covenant, not merely return to the ways of our father Jeroboam (2 Kings 17:22). We need to have faith that He is what He is, and will do what He says He will do. We need to do rightly, love kindness, and walk humbly- by faith- with our Elohim, and share that with others.

Do we trust that the character of YHWH is righteous? Do we act with a confidence that YHWH is true to His word? Do we really have faith in his power? Are we willing to let Him have full control to work in and through us, or just what we’re comfortable with? Maybe we need to open our minds and let God out of the box. Maybe that’s what real faith is.

Read More about the topic of Faith in the latest issue of HarvestMag, at www.harvestmag.com!

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