Tag Archives: Noah

No Victory Without Faith – Is Faith Really That Important?

An excerpt from No Victory Without Faith

If there is no victory without faith (see 1 John 5:4), the natural question that arises is this: why are there so many people who seem to be prospering in life despite rejecting God?

The answer is God’s unmerited mercy towards mankind. See, after the fall of man, God pronounced the ground cursed because of man’s disobedience (see Genesis 3:17). As a result, the only things the work of man yielded were thorns and thistles. In other words, nothing that man put his hand to outside of the will of God yielded fruit. All his toil and effort was in vain. One would have thought that this would turn man towards choosing God, but it did not. Man continued to choose wickedness in all his ways and so incurred the wrath of God (see Genesis 6:5). Being a God of justice, God had to punish man for the evil he had committed, so he sent the great flood. The only reason God did not destroy all mankind was because Noah was a righteous man and so found favor in His eyes (see Genesis 6:8).

 
The flood represented a new righteous beginning for mankind since only Noah and family inhabited the earth. This is when God in His mercy decided that, (1) the ground would no longer be cursed for the sake of man regardless of whether man remained evil or not (see Genesis 8:21). Furthermore, He declared that, (2) seedtime and harvest time would continue to exist for as long as the earth remained (Genesis 8:22). These two declarations are huge! They gave man a way to prosper from his hard work and toil irrespective of his heart, regardless of whether man was obedient to God or not! Jesus referenced this mercy of God when He mentioned that God makes the sun rise on the evil and good, and sends the rain on the just and unjust.

But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who spitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust – Matthew 5:44-45

To paraphrase the Scripture above, Jesus is saying, “You need both the sun to shine and the rain to fall for the plants that you have sown to grow. Whether you are good or not good, God makes the sun rise and the rain to pour so that harvest time can continue in the world; so that all humanity can prosper. God, in His love and mercy, makes no distinction between those who are good and those who are evil in this respect. Therefore, be like Him and make no distinction between those you love and your enemy.

 
Question: If this is true that we can ‘succeed’ without faith, that God has made a way for us to have faith in our own efforts, then why do we require faith in God?

 

Those of us who accept Jesus not only continue to walk in the extended mercy of God to forgive our sins, we also receive the ability to walk in the favor and power of God through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Only faith can release the favor and power of God in our lives. This means that we no longer have to toil and spin for what we need (Matthew 6:28). We can simply depend on God to provide those things for us as we walk in loving obedience to the prompting and guidance of His Spirit. Hence, we see that it is no longer hard toil and labor (works) that bring blessings. Rather, it is loving obedience that brings blessings. Though we can continue in the way of all creation, Jesus has shown and made a better way available to us – the way of favor and power – the way of faith and love!

 
Second, outside of faith, the extent of our blessing is proportional to the labor of our hands. The way faith operates, the extent to which we are blessed is proportional to the extent of our obedience. A good example of the power of faith (trust and belief) is found in the book of Daniel. Daniel went from being a captive in Babylon to becoming the second in command of the kingdom – which was the greatest in the world at the time– because he had faith in God and walked in obedience to Him. Could Daniel have toiled and worked his way to that position? No way! He was a foreigner and so would not have been given the opportunity. Nothing he could have done by his own strength could have taken him to such heights of power. By this example, we see that faith will always propel us further than what our own strength and works can achieve. Moreover, faith allows God to do it instead of us doing it. Since God can do it much faster, easier, and better than we can, we see that faith involves a modicum of peace and rest.

 
Third, faith comes without the internal struggle and the need to balance and juggle the many things that striving and toiling brings. Rather, it simplifies our life and allows us to hit the mark of the high calling of God. This is why the blessings that come from walking in faith come without sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). Conversely, the blessings that come from our own sheer grit and strength usually come with sorrow. An example of this is a man who works all of his life and becomes wildly rich because of his efforts, but leaves a wound in his children because he was never there.

 

Fourth, faith comes with the release of supernatural power. The power that conquered the grave was deposited within us when we chose to accept Jesus. This power is released as determined by God as we walk in faith. It is this release of power that ensures our victory as we walk in faith.
An example of faith’s ability to achieve the supernatural is found in 1 Kings 13:1-6. When a man of God got to King Jeroboam and proclaimed the Word of God, the king stretched out his hand and asked his officers to arrest him. Immediately, the king’s outstretched arm withered and the altar he stood by broke. When this happened, King Jeroboam changed his mind quickly about the arrest! This story tells us that God’s power will always follow those who walk in faithful obedience to Him, that He is our protector and our shield, and we do not have to be afraid of anything. When we walk by faith, we do not have to worry about the result, for we are backed by the indomitable power of God.

 

Why is faith important? Faith allows us to experience the chain –breaking and life-giving favor and power of God in our lives.

Click here to take a sneak peak into the book

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Teaching

The Peril of Being Unequally Yoked!

We should not deceive ourselves. Our existence is more likely to resemble that of Penelope Pit-stop who stumbled into peril after peril, if we are unequally yoked within ourselves (see Ready for Marriage – Are you equally yoked?) and become yoked with an unbeliever (see Unequally yoked – So you think you are marrying a believer!). Should we become unequally yoked, we find that we encounter the hooded claw of life’s dangers; it is only the mercy and grace of God that keeps us from disaster. Therefore, it is best to avoid testing God by choosing to be unequally yoked – both individually and corporately.

The peril of being unequally yoked in a relationship

Many a men have experimented with marrying unbelievers to disastrous ends. The first ones to try were the sons of God who took the daughters of men as their wives (see Genesis 6:2). By choosing not to yoke themselves with the daughters of God, but instead with those that were not being led by the Spirit of God, their hearts turned towards evil.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” – Romans 8:14

God was not well-pleased with man’s disobedient decision! Rather than strive with man, He first decided to shorten man’s life to 120 years and then proceeded to send a great flood to wipe man off the face of the earth – except for Noah and those housed in his ark! Hmm! All other men ultimately perished because godly men decided to become unequally yoked with ungodly women.

Note: While emphasis is being placed on men because the Word says that it is a man who finds a wife (see Proverbs 18:22), it goes without saying that women have to ensure they are marrying godly men as well.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment:  Our thoughts turn towards evil when we decide to yoke ourselves with ungodly partners. Eventually, those evil thoughts manifest into heavy burdens that lead us away from the victorious life God intended for us and potentially shorten our life-span.

Rather than learn from the earliest of warning against being unequally yoked and heeding the warnings of Moses and Joshua, King Solomon decided to marry ungodly women. As a result, he lost his kingdom which was split into two (Judah and Israel) and ushered in a period of prolonged idol worship (spanning many kings) that led previously loyal territories (such as Moab and Edom) to revolt.

If we choose not to learn from the Word, which is profitable to us for correction (see 2 Timothy 3:16) and choose to yoke ourselves with unbelievers, we have no one to blame for the unnecessary troubles (that God can fix) we heap on ourselves.

The peril of being unequally yoked with ourselves

When we do not bring our minds (soul) into full alignment with our spirit (which has been infiltrated by the Holy Spirit) via the transformation that comes from the perennial renewal of our minds with the Word of God, we find that we become double-minded. We find ourselves flip-flopping between being led by the Spirit and being led by our own fleshly desires. We yo-yo between fear and faith and so never gain a productive and full harvest, for we never fully nurture the seeds of faith we have been given with the water of the Word.

The mark of the unequally yoked believer is inaction, indecision, procrastination, timidity, vacillation, and an overall lack of boldness. Such a one is a good starter but a poor finisher – for sustained effort is hard to achieve without sustained faith.  If we are unequally yoked, we find that we make many plans and conquer many kingdoms with our mouths! Worse of all, we do not receive anything from God

“For let not that man (who doubts) suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” – James 1:7 – 8

How sad it is that we do not receive anything we ask for, simply because we will not allow our minds to be renewed by the Word.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We cannot just tick the box of reading the Word, but we have to prepare the soil of our hearts so that the Word can renew our minds and so transform us into who we truly are in Christ

Rather than yoke ourselves to our flesh, we are wise to yoke ourselves to the Spirit and join the winning team.

Food for Thought: No one who has ever yoked themselves to Christ has ever been defeated!

Leave a comment

Filed under Relationships