Faith is our personal confidence in a Being Whose character we know, but Whose ways we cannot trace by common sense. Faith is the practical out-working in our life of implicit, determined confidence in God. Common sense is mathematical; faith is not mathematical, faith works on illogical lines. Jesus Christ places the strongest emphasis on faith, and especially on the faith that has been tried.
Every confidence, every love, every devotion that is not based on a personal relationship to God will be reprobate, not only in the experience of the individual, but in the history of the world. God will demonstrate to us in His patient way that if we are building on anything less than Jesus Christ it will prove useless, because we have banked on the wrong thing (see 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 9:27).
Reflection Questions: In what ways do I expect faith to work like a mathematical equation? In what ways do my interests and possessions keep me from being passionate about what is important to God?
Quotations taken from Studies in the Sermon on the Mount and Notes on Jeremiah, © Discovery House Publishers
If your hopes are being disappointed just now it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly; many things lie unsolved, and the biggest test of all is that God looks as if He were totally indifferent. Remain spiritually tenacious.
In the Bible you never find the note of the pessimist. In the midst of the most crushing conditions there is always an extraordinary hopefulness and profound joy, because God is at the heart. The effective working of Redemption in our experience makes us leap for joy in the midst of things in which other people see nothing but disastrous calamity.
Reflection Questions: What wrong conclusions about God cause me to lose hope? What circumstances cause me to think of God as indifferent? Why does the hope of Redemption require us to go through difficult circumstances?
Quotations taken from God’s Workmanship and The Highest Good, © Discovery House Publishers
All certainty brings death to something. When we have a certain belief, we kill God in our lives, because we do not believe Him, we believe our beliefs about Him and do what Job’s friends did—bring God and human life to the standard of our beliefs and not to the standard of God. The helplessness of professional religion is that there is no room for surprise, we tie God up in His laws and in denominational doctrines and orders of services, consequently we do not see God at all.
Wherever we trust in goodness or nobility instead of in God, we suddenly find ourselves in a howling waste wilderness. The attitude of a godly life is to put no confidence in anything or anyone but God.
Reflection Questions: What false sense of confidence am I willing to put to death so that my confidence in God can be fully alive? In what ways do I place my hope in religious practices rather than in the power of the resurrected Christ?
Quotations taken from The Love of God and Notes on Jeremiah, © Discovery House Publishers
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29 NIV