The flip side of faith. I’ve been spending time in the gospel of John.. reading about how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. It is a powerful story. Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus. He spent time with them and shared His life with them. When Laz got sick, his sisters knew that Jesus could heal him so they sent Him a message. Jesus took His time getting back to Bethany where they were living. When he returned, Lazarus had died 4 days earlier.
As I read through this story, I saw things that I had never noticed before. From the beginning Jesus told the disciples that all this was happening so that God would be glorified. They completely missed the point. He knew exactly when to return and He was clear about the purpose of the whole event. The interesting thing is that when He saw Mary and all the others weeping.. He was angry. Did you ever notice that? Then He wept and then He was angry again.
What was happening? He was grieving.. not because Laz had died, but because of the way everyone interpreted His actions. Their desire was for Him to show up and heal..His plan was much greater.. He showed up and called Lazarus from the grave. Their unbelief was difficult for Him.. but He handled it by doing the one thing that would help them to understand who He truly was.. the son of the living God with the power to give life.
I came away from this passage feeling ashamed of my own unbelief and doubt. It was hard to see the broken heart of God in this story. All those around Jesus.. his closest friends did not see Him clearly. They underestimated Him..don’t we do the same thing? No matter how many times we see God move in our lives, we easily fall into unbelief, wondering if He will come through for us this time.
My heart was encouraged by seeing that He was willing to do whatever He needed to do..to help them remember His goodness. He is the same way with us.. never giving up and ready to show us His presence and His power by rescuing us over and over. He continues to reveal Himself to us.. just as He did over 2000 years ago. His love for us is unchanging and unending!!
“Even if we are not faithful, he will remain faithful. He must be true to himself. “
Another big one. So subtle and so toxic. Legalism masks our unbelief. We may appear to be performing perfectly..reading scripture..praying..serving..giving..but something big is missing. Beneath the surface of our lives is unbelief. It works its way into our hearts..constantly questioning God’s intentions toward us..helping us doubt and worry.
It is insidious because we can seem so ” Christian” or so pious.. so right..when the truth is we are very troubled inside. Our hearts deceive us..our behavior is a mask that we hide behind. God sees all this and He grieves for us. His promises become memorized passages or empty words. Our future may look bleak and empty. Our hearts are weighed down..we are diagnosed with depression and anxiety.. the doctor prescribes something to fix us.
The cure is not going to be found in behavior modification or medication. The only solution is to return to our first love. To bring our unbelief and doubt to the one who can turn it all around. He holds the keys to our hearts and wants to renewour faith. He asks us to confess..be real..authentic..and transparent. He wants us to stop playing games..to stop faking it.
Our God is the redeemer. He has turned the world upside down and He wants to do the same in our lives. His desire is to infuse us with a passion and faith so strong that we can’t stop thanking Him. His heart longs to transform us into His people..a people of great faith who long for more of Him. We can’t experience any of this unless we are ready to let go of unbelief..He won’t rip it our of our hands.
Do you want to walk with Him in safety believing all of His promises? Do you want to be an encourager..speaking faith wherever you go? Do you want the abundant life with hope for the future? He wants to give you all this.. He is waiting for you to desire all of this more than life itself. Take a risk..live life for Him and with Him..you will not be sorry.
“Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life!”