The last couple of days I have been encouraging to follow Paul’s instructions to Timothy to “Study and present yourself to God approved, a workman tested by trial who has no reason to be ashamed . . .” (II Timothy 2:15).
So this morning I want to share what I hope will be some healing thoughts about faith and love. I can say that because I believe our Father works miracles in answer to the prayer of faith. And I also believe every promise in God’s Word. However, it is through some struggles of my own that I have discovered something wonderful about the way our Father works in our lives. If nothing else, I hope I am able to help renew your confidence in the Lord and set you free from the bondage of trying to figure out faith.
It may sound like “Bumper Sticker” theology, but first, if you cannot give our God perfect faith, give Him perfect love. Always remember that “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Perfect love is the rest He has for us. He wants us to rest in His love, trusting that He will always come to our aid as a father to a hurting child — in spite of our inadequate faith.
We need to stop evaluating or grading our faith. We need to stop trying to figure out faith. Scriptures tell us, “In this life we have three great lasting qualities — faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love” (I Corinthians 13:13). Yeah, yeah. You already knew that. I bet you have, but if you are going to specialize in anything, specialize in love — faith works by love!
Now, when we read things like that, we only think of our love toward other people or how we love our Lord. But maybe it will help to consider how our Father loves us.
Whenever you are praying for something, something big, but you don’t seem to be getting an answer, your well-meaning friends will tell you, “If God does not answer our prayers, He must have some great eternal reason for it.”
Tell me, does that really help you, right now, while you are sitting in enormous conflict? Probably not. But I can assure you that our Father, our God in Heaven and the Creator of all does have all power and can do anything. Nothing is impossible to Him. He has promised to answer every prayer in Christ’s name, so we must ask in full assurance of faith, expecting an answer. But if He does delay that answer or choose another path for us, He must have a mighty good reason for it all. And we must believe that whatever God permits in our lives will one day all work to our good (Romans 8:28).
Our heavenly Father knows exactly where we are going through and what we need. He will give us what is best, in proper Holy Ghost timing! (Matthew 7:11). Of that, I can “I gar-on-tee!” He will not permit you to be overcome by your trials. Yes, you may come to what you think of as your breaking point, yet you will survive and live to tell of His faithfulness if you will not harden your heart but fall into His arms, trusting His everlasting love.
That is what I mean by faith working by love. It is not our faith or even our love. It is the assured promises of our Father’s love for us.
As Paul said in his letter to the church in Ephesus:
“When I think of the greatness of His great plan I fall on my knees before God the Father (from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name), and I pray that out of the glorious richness of his resources he will enable you to know the strength of the spirit’s inner re-inforcement — that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ — and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Amen! Read that again!
I pray that “He will enable you to know, experience, enjoy and relish the strength of the Spirit’s inner reinforcement — that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith.
I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ — and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension“!
This is what it means to be approved!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.