Faith in God
We cannot take any true step without faith. Faith is reckoning on God where there is nothing visible, and hence outside one’s self; and when He tells me in His word: “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house” (Gen 12:1), if I accept it as His word to me, surely it effectually worketh, because received in faith. The word of God to me in Christ defines everything. In Him I can say: “Not ... by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live”.
Faith is in God Himself, and not merely about this or that particular thing that He says. If I have faith in God, everything He says to me has equal claims on me, and addresses me not with reference to my ability to obey, but with reference to Him who enjoins it. If it be only faith as to a particular thing, I reduce the word to the level of my power to obey it. The simple inquiry is, What does the Lord tell me to do? If He calls, and I believe in Him, I have power to obey, because I am not resting in anything but in Him who calls. Surely one should not go beyond one’s faith; because if I do, I am trusting myself to something imaginary.
But if I hear the Lord calling, and if I obey, looking to Him to sustain me, that is the obedience of faith. Now, plainly, the call comes first, and the faith follows; and hence the first point for us to ascertain is, Does He call; and what is His call? If my eye then be on Him, like Peter, I can walk even on waves to go to Him.
The more I see, the more I am convinced that there is no full and clear comprehension of the mind of Christ but outside of counter-influences; and the more imperceptible the counter-influences are, the more insinuating and dangerous they are. The unconscious influence from unhealthful associations is really more pernicious in spoiling the power of the eye than what is open and glaring. Light received by an impaired eye, an evil one, becomes darkness, because it does not impart the right idea about things.
The jaundiced eye represents everything yellow. The light is pure, but the eye is affected by an unconscious influence, and the light becomes darkness to it; that is, the jaundiced eye uses the light to represent objects contrary to their natural state, and in quite another colour. Where have you learnt anything from the Lord distinctly, but where every counter-influence was inadmissible — in the sacred enclosure of His own presence, where nothing to qualify what He says can exist? There He communicates His mind, and in its strength and beauty it could not be learned elsewhere. Hence, we find in the Old Testament that, as a rule, the Lord appears when He expresses His will particularly.
I refer to this in order to shew that when you receive His mind truly, you must be outside all other influences; and if you need to be so when receiving His mind, the more you cultivate the separation which this involves, the more intolerable will the order of things be, where influences of all kinds, like vapours, distract or warp you. If the order of things in which you are were of God’s appointment, I am sure He would preserve you in them; but if He did, He would give you grace to be distinct from all that is around you, a body full of light, which is a more difficult course than withdrawing from it altogether. You will remark that in every case when a soul desires to get on, it discovers something in the way, a stone at the wheel, which must be removed before there can be onward movement. It is a great thing to discover the stone at the wheel. It is not half so hard to get out of a rut as to get over the stone which is before the wheel. The machinery may be all complete, the power to work it all in order, but there is an impediment just where the movement must begin, and until this is removed there can be none. Achan was the stone at the wheel to Israel. Abraham’s father was the stone before his wheel. Self in various ways comes in as a stone, and the more imperceptibly it is placed before the wheel, the longer and the more vexatiously are we tried by it. The Lord lead you out of ruts and over all impediments, in order that you may be fully for Him here — a martyr. In Scripture there is but one word for witness and for martyr.
Previous article Next article