Our Faith Is A Relationship

I just re-read a prophetic word Isaiah presented that totally amazed me:

Don’t be afraid [of anything], [Why?] because I am with you.
    Don’t be intimidated; I am your Elohim.
    I will strengthen you.
    Be assured I will help you.
  I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand, a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation! (Isaiah 41:10)

So many of us are afraid of our God. We are afraid we might offend Him, that we might make Him angry — or, that He is already angry with us. Well, in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, we find a particular characteristic that denotes the kind of faith that God loves. What was this element? Their faith was born of deep intimacy.

Quite simply, my friends, it is impossible to have the kind of faith that pleases God without sharing intimacy with him. What I mean is having an intimacy with the Lord is the result of our deep yearnings for him. It is a close personal bond, a communion, a union that can never be broken. It is the result of desiring the Lord more than anything else in this life! A hunger, actually.

The author of the letter to the Hebrew church described this when he wrote:

“Faith led Abel to offer God a better sacrifice than Cain’s sacrifice. Through his faith Abel received God’s approval, since God accepted his sacrifices. Through his faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead” (Hebrews 11:4).

There are several things in this verse we need to recognize. First, it was God himself who stated Abel’s gifts were accepted. What I mean is that it wasn’t something Abel claimed or his dad said and best friend. Second, Abel had to build an altar to the Lord where he brought his sacrifices. And, not only did he offer unspotted lambs for the sacrifices, but the fat of those lambs as well.

Take a look:

“Abel also brought some choice parts of the firstborn animals from his flock. Yahweh approved of Abel and his offering” (Genesis 4:4).

Tell me, what does the fat represents here? Well, I’m glad you asked. Regarding the fat, the book of Leviticus says, “The priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. [And here is the important part:] All the fat is the LORD’s” (Leviticus 3:16). The fat was the part of the sacrifice that caused a sweet aroma to rise from the sacrifice. This part of the animal caught flame quickly and was consumed, bringing the sweet smell. I know, I just saw you crinkle your nose at that, and I agree, the smell of meat can’t be all that sweet of a smell (unless it is a nice thick steak cooked to medium-rare). I’m just joking, but you have to remember that the fat is a type of prayer or fellowship that is acceptable to God. It represents our ministering to the Lord in the secret closet of prayer. And the Lord himself said that kind of intimate worship rises to him like a sweet-smelling savor.

Abel’s actions are actually the Bible’s first mention of this kind of worship. That is why Abel is listed in Hebrews 11’s Hall of Faith. He is a type of servant who was in fellowship with the Lord, offering him the best of all he had. As Hebrews declares, Abel’s example lives on today as a testimony of true, living faith: “Even though he is dead, he still speaks . . .” (Hebrews 11:4).

So what are we supposed to do with this? It is said that you will become what you pursue. Well, we are to pursue our Lord with a relentless, lifelong, obstacle-defying passion — we are to pray, worship, pray some more and yes, become obsessive in our pursuit. Yes, become a fanatic. That is what I have been talking about with all these emails I send. I realize that in the muddle of day-to-day life, we sometimes forget that Christianity is a living, vibrant relationship with a personal God. And we need to learn to know this God, our Father, intimately and to seek Him until are our desires are satisfied (I’ll give you a hint, it will take an eternity).

Doulos Studies

(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 youm—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.

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