Thursday, September 20, 2007


Faith without works is dead. (James 2:17)

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
(Emphasis added)

Faith. Without it we cannot please God. To the point that it's not just difficult, but impossible to please Him without it. And yet - how often do we really walk in faith, as defined not by our own understanding or the watered down preaching we too often hear, but as by Scripture? How often do we live assured of things hoped for? Not often. Rarely, in fact. The concept strikes the modern Western mind as odd - to be assured of something one is only hoping for is irrational. It doesn't make sense. How can one be confident in that which one does not know? And this is all the more true with the notion of having a conviction of things unseen. (Unseen in the sense of unobservable - anathema to the scientific mind, which claims everything must be reducible, quantifiable and subject to analyzing.)

We in the Western church may just have lost our faith. We don't really believe the impossible can happen - so what surprise is there when it doesn't? And yet we often complain at God's failure to appear, to bring revival, to work in miraculous ways. Sometimes we just miss the fact that He is acting, quite independently of us, thanks to our inattentiveness. But sometimes, He doesn't move because of our unbelief. We ought to expect God to do the impossible, to move in remarkable ways.

I am not arguing here about the "charismatic" gifts, but about God's move in our hearts, in our workplaces, in our nation. I am posing the question: Why have we not seen true revival come, despite the clearly attested evidence of spiritual hunger? And I believe the answer may be as simple as the fact that we're not asking for it - and when we are, we're doubting, not really believing that God will do it.

There's something important to catch here, too: we can neither please God nor draw near to Him if this is our attitude. [That's a big deal: a lot of people think that simply reading the Bible will make you close to God. He says no: we have to have faith, a faith that transforms us. Then - and only then - will reading the Bible draw us close to Him.] Why can we not draw near to God if we are not asking and believing that God will do it? Because this is not an attitude of faith. Faith says, "You can do this, and it's in line with Your character and Your precepts. God, move in power!" and then expects that He will move. (I am not, it is worth noting, advocating a prosperity gospel. Choosing to live our lives in line with the will of God, and to earnestly seek the accomplishment of His will is far more likely to bankrupt us in this world than to make us rich.) Is this expectation too bold? Perhaps for a culture saturated in wishy-washy-ness, with a picture of a God who prefers to sit back on His throne and let people scurry about their business. But this is not the picture of the God of the Bible. This is the picture of the Deists' God: a watchmaker who refuses to interfere. The pattern throughout history is that God answers His people's prayers. There are times when, for His glory, He waits - sometimes without explaining Himself to His people. But often, frequently even, He moves. And we are commanded - not suggested, not prompted, but commanded - to come before His throne boldly.

So why don't we? Is it, perhaps, because we don't really believe in the God we claim to believe in - at least, not in a way that registers in our actions and not just our minds? Is it because we too often let our "faith" be mere mental assent, rather than transforming truth that alters the way we live our lives, that calls us to walk in expectation of the miraculous?

Why don't we see miraculous provision of the sort that George Müller experienced? Why do we not see revivals like those led by Whitefield and Edwards? Why do we not see great brokenness for the lost? Why do we not see powerful, ongoing and constant Reformation? Is it because God is not willing to move? Or is it because we are not believing that He will move?

We may see people becoming disciples of Christ when we expect it, instead of anticipating rejection of the gospel. We may see people stepping up to the plate in our churches when we expect it, instead of bemoaning the fact that they don't. We may see people begin to hunger for the Word of God when we expect it, instead of sighing over their lackadaisical approach to studying Scripture.

We may see God move when we dare to believe that what we believe is really real - not just some nice idea; not just some good notion; not even something we can intellectually assent to: something that is worth living our lives differently for - something that we do live our lives for.

I'm tired of the pattern I see, both in myself and in so many around me, of complacency. God isn't moving in any great ways, so we sit back comfortably and wait for Him to do something. Only, maybe - just maybe - He's waiting for us to ask Him to.

Does He need us? Absolutely not.

Does He delight in working through His children? Absolutely yes.

It's time to believe. It's time to have faith - to draw near to God, to please God, by believing that He is and that He rewards those who seek Him. It's time to live the life of abundance that Christ promised. It's time to stop expecting mediocrity and then being surprised when it's what we achieved, and to start expecting powerful works of God and rejoicing when we see Him move.

Pray with expectation. Don't be tossed by every doubt that enters your mind. Be assured of the things you hope for, and confident in that which you cannot see.


Know God.

You might start by praying for Him to take away your doubt - and believing that He can do it. He not only can... He will.

Grace and peace - and boldness - be with you all.

- Chris


  1. Danke schoen, Chris. Some of what you said resonates with some things I've been thinking about lately, and it is also very convicting.

    Perhaps I'll get around to writing on a similar topic myself once I get my thoughts together. My blog is up once again. :)

  2. Chris,

    This is exactly the text I read this morning and some of the very things the Lord was speaking to me. Though you communicate them better. :)

    The Lord is calling us to KNOW Him and to believe Him. How can I believe the one I do not know?
    God is truly crying out for His church to wake up.

    Love you!

  3. It's been a while Chris since I came here to your blog. It was cool talk to you on Aim the other day. Your posts are always edifying. Hope you are not too busy with things to stop by my blog ;P


  4. The first Sunday I visited our new little church was the Sunday I received an offer on my house. The next Sunday, my girls visited with me for the first time. The next day, Monday, the Children's cooridinator called to tell me how much she enjoyed my children ... a Momma's dream call ;) As we talked, she learned I had sold my house and purchased another one ... that I had yet to figure out how I was going to move ... and she, right there, volunteered her church to move us! I was told that 21 people showed up through the day to move us. I stood where they told me to stand and tried not to cry ... once I said, randomly, "I'm so overwhelmed ... I could just sit down and cry!" Some men were walking through and said, "NO! Don't do THAT!" I still don't know all the names of the people who helped move me that day.

    All along this path I kept saying, "I trust You, Lord; I trust You. I don't know how You're gonna work all this out, but I trust You."

    And it wasn't like God kept filling me with prosperity on any level to accomplish this task ... actually, He kept depleting me and depleting me ... things I've shared and things I haven't ... so much so that just days before my move something happened that caused me to cry for two days, days I needed to pack, and I was frozen, couldn't move. Not only did these people move me, but they had to finish packing a LOT of stuff for me. And they did so gratefully and graciously.

    I still stand in amazement at what GOD did and is continuing to do. I prayed all along that He would do it in such a way that all would know it was all about Him and nothing about me ... and He did :)

    I'm not always great at faith ... but I've found the more "stipped" I've become of all that one would depend upon, the more faith I've developed as God is all I've had ... and He has been more than faithful to be and become all I've needed and need.

    I'm not discounting our need of others ... a need God wove into our very beings. I just wonder ... that perhaps ... faith is grown more out of need ... than want.

  5. AMEN! You have hit on exactly what the Lord has been speaking to us as THE body of Christ.

    As your mom said, you express it well. Thank you for doing so.

    To those who have an ear, let them hear what the Angel of the Lord is Speaking to the church of [fill in your city and your church name].


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