Mick’s Memo – “Yes” or “No” Faith
How do you measure mature faith? Many take the “Yes” approach. They would say you have mature, strong faith when you demonstrate the ability to extract “yes” answers from God. If you get the promotion, the healing, the bonus, the winning bid, the perfect spouse and the compliant kids; you must have great faith and highly developed spiritual life. God is blessing your faithfulness with the requisite prosperity.
We have been reflecting on the “Hall of Faith”, Hebrews chapter 11 in our current message series and I have to say that a very different view of mature or commendable faith emerges. Rather than “yes”, it seems to me the test of mature faith is when “no” or “not now” is God’s plan. The “prosperity yes” is likely to be experienced either later in life or even more likely, in the next. Abel’s faith is commended, but he is a murder victim. Abraham’s faith is renowned in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. But while he prospered in terms of flocks and herds, many of his greatest desires were either delayed for decades or never resolved during his lifetime. He waited until far beyond normal years to have his physical heir. The land that was promised to him, eluded him, with the exception of a cave he purchased where he buried his wife.
How do we handle the “no” or “not yet” answers to our requests from God? Do we doubt and pout? Do we grudgingly resign ourselves and hold back our trust and obedience? The heroes of faith cited in Hebrews 11 kept their faith and served God’s purposes despite the denials and delays that God allowed them to experience. The result is that they became critical participants in God’s plans and left a legacy spanning multiple millennium.
Our response to “no” and “not yet” from God says far more about our faith and spiritual maturity than conventional marks of “prosperity”. Have you faced any recently? When you do, I want to encourage you to seek the “long term” message from God. Ask God to reveal His purpose for it. Maybe He is positioning us to be a blessing to someone else. Maybe He is delaying something we desire now because He has something better in the long term. Maybe He knows that this is the path to growing our character and our influence.
On another subject; we will be having a community prayer emphasis for the month of February, holding a time of prayer every Wednesday evening from 6:30-7:30 PM in the Church auditorium. Please let us know of any prayer requests you would like mentioned and join us when you are able.
I missed seeing you last weekend and look forward to seeing you as we resume our lessons from the heroes of faith!