Ephesians 6:17; Faith is gazing upon God.
length: 63:03 - taught on May, 26 2022
Thursday May 26,2022
The Bible will never be a living book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate now in His world to anyone who has ears to hear. We must believe that the words on the pages of the Bible are for us - every one of them, Old Testament and New. God is vocal to every life.
One attempt at a definition of faith is that it is “the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” [AW Tozer]
To Thee I lift up my eyes,
O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress;
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He shall be gracious to us.
We could say, “As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, so our eyes took to the Lord our God, look into His word, until He shall reveal the reality of Himself to us.”
Psa 121 A Song of Ascents.
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
These promises are for all who look upon the Lord in faith. That’s pretty much what God has burdened us with on our end. This is an easy yoke - gazing upon God in faith.
The reality of faith is simply gazing into the heart of God.
It is looking, and so it follows that it is one of the easiest things to do. It would be like God to make the most vital thing easy and place it within the range of possibility for the weakest and poorest of us. The difficult thing for us is turning our gaze from ourselves.
The Son of God always looked to His Father during His incarnation, and we are told to do the same.
Our faith is a continuous gaze at the heart of the Triune God.
One of the things that our Lord reveals to us in His word is that our crazy world is going along exactly as He said it would. We need not be alarmed. The Book of Daniel tells us that East and West would be at war, specifically, to Daniel is revealed that Greece (West) would battle Persia (East), where they are depicted as wild animals trying to devour one another. This has been a precursor for the modern world, and our current conflicts mimic this prophecy. Mark Musser writes in his newsletter concerning his recent teaching in Armenia, “Such difficult political and economic realities made for some interesting conversations, but I was able to sort out such concerns in my teaching through the book of Daniel which soberly describes the East-West divide being based largely on idolatrous dreams and schemes where Gentile empires are compared to beastly wild predators who terrorize God’s people along the way fighting for their pathways to world domination. There is nothing new under the sun. Daniel’s very sober war prophecies given by God more than 2,500 years ago have great relevance even today. They will all finally be fulfiled in all their eschatological import during the apocalypse in which the Messiah will finally return to the earth to cleanse the Gentiles of their deep sins and save the nation of Israel at the same time in order to establish the kingdom of God so often prophesied throughout the Old Testament and the Gospels.”
Faith in the divine reality of the Scripture will open doors for more and more revelation of God = more experience of God Himself. The Scripture covers every important aspect of human life. What it doesn’t cover is not necessary for us to know, and in those realms we must be very careful in our speculations. The word of God is sufficient.
Satan’s scheme is to attack our faith. When Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to sift him like wheat, He said, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” When Peter later wrote that the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, he writes, “resist him, firm in your faith.”
Jesus said that the devil is a liar, and the father of lies (JOH 8:44). This is the primary means of subverting faith. Faith stands or falls on the truth that the future with God is more satisfying than the one promised by sin. The power of sin is the power of deceit. Sin promises a false future. In temptation, sin comes to us and says, “The future with God on His narrow way is hard and unhappy; but the way I promise is pleasant and satisfying.” The power of sin is the power of this lie. Satan’s main strategy is to use a thousand devious ways to make this lie look appealing and persuasive. The shield of faith will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
The whole realm of revealed truth must be known and believed. For instance, if you know and believe all of the prophecy concerning end times (eschatology), but you are not yet convinced of God’s infinite love for you, your spiritual life will be very limited and life itself will not be one of hope and joy. The Bible is the key, but once that secret door is opened, walking in the way of the Bible, which is walking in the way of the mystery, and Christ is the mystery, is how we become convinced of everything we need to be convinced of (which is not everything in the whole world).
For instance, learning about God’s love for you begins in the Bible. God is love. We love because He first loved us. But after we have read these and many other testimonies of God’s love from which nothing can separate us, if we have faith we may know of the existence of God’s love and even that it is a reality, but it is only in years of walking with God in our daily lives that something of the real depth of God’s love and its sublime nature will break upon us like a tidal wave.
“With Thee, to behold is to give life; ‘tis unceasingly to import sweetest love of Thee; ‘tis to inflame me to love of Thee by loves imparting, and to feed me by inflaming, and by feeding to kindle my yearning, and by kindling to make me drink of the dew of gladness, and by drinking to infuse in me a fountain of life, and by infusing to make it increase and endure.” [Nicholas of Cusa]
At first this may be difficult, but it becomes easier as we look steadily at His wonderous person, quietly and without strain. Distractions may hinder, but once the heart is committed to Him, after each brief excursion away from Him, the attention will return again and rest upon Him like a wandering bird coming back to its window. There is for every believer a cycle of pain and loss which is then followed by greater grace. The process hardens into a good habit.
The habit of faith, the habit of looking upon God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, guided by the truth of the word, forms a spontaneous character which is like a reflex requiring no conscious effort but functions on learned skill. Faith is looking upon God, which means we are occupied with Him and pay no attention to ourselves.
The reality of faith is simply gazing into the heart of God. It is looking, and so it follows that it is one of the easiest things to do. It would be like God to make the most vital thing easy and place it within the range of possibility for the weakest and poorest of us. The difficult thing for us is turning our gaze from ourselves.
The reward of faith is great.
those who honor Me I will honor
This is a perpetual law.
“if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
Even Jesus said that He did not honor Himself. He said that the Father honors Him and He honors His Father. If we choose, rather, to honor ourselves, as Jesus said, it will be impossible for us to believe. To honor self is to fail to put God where He belongs.
More of God is more love, joy, and peace. It is more hope, more chastity and purity, more temperance (self-control in all things), more fulfillment in life. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his own soul and looks away to the perfect Lord of his life. Sin has twisted our vision inward. God has shown Himself to us so that we can now behold Him.
Remember, God made you. He made you for Himself. In our fall we usurped God as our only giver of blessing and we were then stuck in sinful darkness to find blessing for ourselves. Jesus Christ has returned us to our rightful place with God. Our hearts are only at rest and blessed when commit them to their Creator. His word is where He shows us the way.
When we lift our inward eyes to gaze upon God we will find friendly, loving eyes looking back at us. God is a God who sees, said the first person in the Bible to be met by the angel of the Lord.
God has always been and still is speaking to all people in this world, and some hear and some don’t.
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" 11 And He answered and said to them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
It was not granted for them to know because they did not hear and see the voice of God to them.
"For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has [the voice of God in the world] shall be taken away from him. 13 "Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 "And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says [ISA 6:9-10],
'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes
Lest they should see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I should heal them.'
16 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 "For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Be warned that the mind may approve of the God-above-all position while not having the consent of the will to put it into effect. I think this happens a lot with Christians who actually take the word of God seriously enough. We must love the Lord our God with all our minds, yes, but also with all our hearts and souls and strength. It is the will that is going to put on the armor of God and stand firm against all that will take away the reality of living this blessed life.
“We read of spiritual efforts, and our imagination makes us believe that, because we enjoy the idea of doing them, we have done them. I am appalled to see how much of the change which I thought I had undergone lately was only imaginary. The real work seems still to be done. It is so fatally easy to confuse an aesthetic appreciation of the spiritual life with the life itself - to dream that you have waked, washed, and dressed, & then to find yourself still in bed … [C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves]
Do we see the entire word of God as the very real and alive seeing and hearing the Lord Jesus Christ?
A portion of the schemes of the devil is to make the word dead to us. If he can get us to neglect it completely, he will choose that. If he cannot get us to abandon all study, he will try to get us to abandon most of it. He’ll try to get us to abandon the Old Testament. He’ll try to convince us that some parts are not real (Genesis narrative, miracles, resurrection). He’ll convince us that we should never read the Bible on our own and that it can only be left to the experts. He’ll convince the experts that this is true by inflaming their pride. If we won’t give up our Bible study, he’ll convince us that we don’t have to really live it. If we’re committed to living it, he’ll convince us that it should be easy living in the hope that we’ll reject the things that are difficult. He will continue to assault our souls in this way in order to take whatever he can.
And God was not finished sending His voice into the world. At the proper time He sent His life who enlightens every man.
There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
The Son of God is the word. All Scripture is God-breathed (2TI 3:16). The word made the worlds. The Holy Spirit is our teacher of the word. We must each for ourselves, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it seems at times, discover the truth of the word, which is the truth of God.