Believing In God. 02/07/2014 (Morning thought)

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

This passage of scripture sets the gold standard for believing in God. Firstly, it states that whosoever comes to God must first believe that He exists. In other words, whatever might be our conceptions of God, whether they are right or wrong, the least that we can do is to believe that there is a God somewhere. And the converse is also true, for if a person does not believe that God exists, then it makes no sense for that person to come, for there would be no basis for their belief. The other feature required for an ongoing relationship with God is that we believe He rewards, or answers those who sincerely seek Him. In other words, a person’s belief in God should not be abstract, meaning that there’s no assurance of answers. Whatever God says or promises in the Bible can be taken at face value as being certain, once the conditions are met. The habit of continually querying whether or not God will come through on what He has promised, or whether or not He is able to perform that which He says, is not conducive to a strong, sturdy relationship with our Creator, and should be avoided at all costs.

Our attitude in believing in God has a direct impact on the mighty miracles He would perform in our behalf. A skeptical, doubting spirit could actually prevent Christ from working any mighty miracles in our behalf, this according to the word. Let’s read:  Matthew 13:58  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Mark 6:4  But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

The real question that needs to be addressed by each person is, how much evidence do we require before we believe. Some people require more, others require less, and according to the scriptures, God is willing and able to work in both categories. But let’s know for certain, that a mindset that constantly clamors for a preponderance of evidence, often results in very little miracles. Thomas required lots of evidence before he would believe, and Jesus worked with him, bearing patiently with his infirmities. Let’s read:

John 20:24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.  26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

And what was the result? The whole tenor of his experience was shaped by the clamor for overwhelming evidence. That's why throughout the gospels, we read of no miracles performed by Thomas, and in the book of acts, his name fades into oblivion, even though tradition has it that he probably carried the gospel to India. On the other hand, we have Peter who manifested a child-like faith and trust in Jesus, being willing on one occasion, to step out into the middle of the ocean, in the wee hours of the morning at the behest of Christ. And therefore of Peter we read:

Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.  16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

A striking example of what the Bible is referring to occurred not long after the day of Pentecost, when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Let’s read:

Acts 3:2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.  12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

And thus it is in the Christian arena; there are those who are quick to believe and there are those who are slow of heart. God is willing and able to develop in every one who trusts in Him, the readiness of mind to grasp unseen realities, but we must harbor an atmosphere of trust and a firm disposition to believe. May this be our experience today, for the Bible teaches its adherents to "walk by faith and not by sight". God bless!