This is my first post in a quite a while. But I wanted to reenter the blogging world with a quote from Charles Bridges that I used in my sermon last Sunday. The aim of the sermon was to shout out from our Exodus sermon series that God is not only All-mighty, but he exercises that almighty power on behalf of his people. Therefore our battle is not an issue of power, but of faith. It is a battle to believe his promises- especially his promises to exert his might on behalf of his people.
In his book , The Christian Ministry, Charles Bridges helps develop the need for faith when he states, [bracketed sections are definitions],
All our failures may be ultimately traced to a defect in faith… The main difficulty… is not in our work, but in ourselves; in the conflict with your own unbelief, in the form of indolence [laziness] or self-dependence (p173, 175).
In a sermon by CJ Mahaney, entitled “What A Mother Can’t Do Without,” he uses a portion of this quote and inserts at this moment, these words:
The remedy [to our own unbelief] is faith in the God of the promises and faith in the promises of God.
When faith is really brought into action, the extent and aggravation of the difficulty is a matter of little comparative moment. Difficulties heaped upon difficulties can never rise to the level of the promise of God. To meet the trembling apprehensions [anxieties]- “Who is sufficient for these things?” the answer is ready- “Our sufficiency is of God.”… Unbelief looks at the difficulty. Faith regards the promise. … It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It commits every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall be overruled for his glory; and thus relieves us from an oppressive anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of responsibility. The shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for daily pardon of our deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking too eagerly for present fruit.” (p175, 179, 178).
So on this day when toys, gadgets, rings and other things call for our attention. When the money we have or don’t have seems to always be before our face. When the pain we experience or the anxiety that grips our grieving heart flashes constantly in our eyes, may we recall God’s promises. May we call out to him for faith in those promises. As Bridges says, it is faith that “enlivens the heart with perpetual cheerfulness” not materials, or worry, or self-dependence or the constant escape of laziness to the internet or TV. Some might say in unbelief, “How will the difficulty be resolved? I need a job; the kids do not obey; the medical bills are not being paid off, the debt is not going away.” Faith doesn’t pretend to know the how, but it does know the who- the God of all creation, the one who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Faith trusts that God will provide for our needs according to his riches in glory, in his perfect timing (Philippians 4:19). Faith trusts that God has always and will always exert his power for his people (Exodus 7-11, Romans 8:28-37).
Spend some time today writing out one promise of God. Regard the promise and be awakened to the strength and joy of Christ.
Thankful for the promises of God