by Andy Zoppelt
Whatever is not from faith is sin.
Romans 14:23 NKJV
Is God only real because we can see Him? Is He with us just as much when we see Him as when we can’t? Are we trying to have a relationship with God by sight or by faith? How often we have said, “If I could only see Jesus.” There is no difference in God’s presence if we can see Him or not. In fact God is more effective through those who act in the faith of His presence than those who see Him.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29, NKJV
How big and how real is your God in the light of your enemies and trials? Are we struggling because we can’t see Him, would we struggle less if we could see Him. The measure of our faith is based on how clear our faith sees Him. God privileges those who hunger for Him to see Him by a growing faith. We do not need the kind of faith that we must feel it, but a faith that accepts it as real as if seen by our own eyes.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” John 4:48, NKJV
Those who can only act on God by miracles or by sight have a problem, they can only act according to God’s word if they see something that convinces their mind and operates through their understanding.
Faith cannot be based on what we see, feel, hear with our senses? It is something we must choose to make real in us. Faith is something that is worked out in practice and in experience. We make a choice between what is visually seen by our senses or living by what is spiritually seen by our faith. The bible says we are seated with Him in heavenly places, how real is that to us? We will never grasp the reality of that revelation handed down to us by Paul if we don’t start acting on it in faith.
There is something we fail to see about Moses and that was his faith before the burning bush. Moses lived by Him who was invisible before he met God visibly. Moses gave up everything, fame, fortune, pleasure and prestige all for the Lord. And he did it all by faith… gave it all up.
“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for HE LOOKED to the reward.”
How did he endure all this, the devil must have laughed in his ear a million times. All of this must have seemed so stupid. What was he acting on beside the situations, the feelings and reasoning? Moses never feared the most powerful man on the planet Pharaoh. There was no immediate result to his faith. it didn’t happen till 40 years after.
“By faith [having no idea of his future] he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king [and you can believe he was angry]; for he endured [How, how did Moses endure such hardship against his own reasonings and passions? He endured] as seeing Him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:22-27
If we can’t serve the invisible Lord by faith, it is doubtful we would serve Him and change if He was visible. There is a glory in serving God by faith that few will ever see because their God doesn’t exceed their understanding and emotions…especially in trials. The disciples also left all and followed Jesus.
What we have failed to communicate is that we must do the same if we are to be saved. Faith endures a dreadful looking future because His Lord is worth it all. Worship is imbued and embedded in worth and in the value we put in our life with Him. We can sing till our emotion reaches it highest height, but all that means absolutely nothing, in fact it is a deterrent in finding real faith, true worship is found in our response in trials and in an unpredictable future. It is not solutions that we seek, but Him, who is our greatest treasure. It comes when everything is lost and we can do like Job and Moses, when the glory of God outweighs any earthly desire or event. It is the hallelujah in the trial that counts not the hallelujah after the victory.
Our senses, our reasoning will never cooperate with faith, they must be abandoned and put to death through the reality of the cross. Crying is not evidence of sincerity and love, it can often just as well be the evidence of self-pity. One day I was crying in my truck and telling Jesus how much I loved Him. Then this came to me, “because you are emotional now, do you think that is the depth of your love? I desire obedience not feelings. Many are deceived because of their tears thinking they care, their tears are from self-pity. Many cry because they obey me and their tears only accompany their love for me but their tears are not evidence of it.”
We must know Him beyond our senses and emotions. Every person who lives by their senses and emotions will never act in faith and will never emulate His life. The reality of God has nothing to do with our senses; He is just as real in your situation as He was with Moses in the burning bush. If we can’t accept that and incorporate that into our experience, we will be spiritual misfits and dwarfs. He is just as real in the most distant star, the center of His throne as He is in our hearts. As real as you want Him is as real He will be in you. Doubt is sin, doubt measures God by the trials, big trials little God, no trials big God!
The only thing that is stopping us from have faith is our refusal to believe Him in the light of our microscopic trials. That is how Paul saw it.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18, NKJV
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, [why have you been grieved? Here it comes] that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not SEEN you love. Though now you do not SEE Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9, NKJV
To the Laodicean assembly in Revelation 3, they felt assured of their salvation and had “need of nothing.” Who needs God’s power when we have money and working programs? Laodicea much like the five foolish virgins failed to pay the price in the fire for their salvation. Jesus said this to them:
“I counsel you to buy FROM ME gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich [in eternal life]; and white garments [righteousness], that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:18-20, NKJV
Today we have people who think they are saved because they asked Him into their heart and yet they are defeated in every trial and they can’t stop their sinning, they are defeated during every trials and yet will worship in church with such gusto. Such are only equal to the lives of their feelings in the trial. Hell is going to be full of people who are fully convinced they are saved by some act on the altar and who have not taken up their cross and followed Jesus. They have not died to self, the cross is nothing but a place of forgiveness. They do not live by the kind of faith that overcomes the world.
To the seven called out assemblies mentioned in the book of Revelations Jesus repeated two facts associated with being His: “He who overcomes” and “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the called out assembly.”
“nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within [inside] you.” Luke 17:21, NKJV
Greek entos (en-tos’); inside you.
It is the “Christ in you” that makes us a part of the kingdom of God. We love Him, obey Him and put all our faith in Him. Many people run to the institutional church where their salvation is assured without real faith and obedience.
I remember on day, I was just a new Christian; I was sitting on my reclining chair in my bedroom. As I sat there this thought overwhelmed me. “Christ is living in you.” Wow! The thought of Jesus being in me overwhelmed me. My brother dropped over a while later and I told him, “Jimmy we have Jesus in us.” He said it somewhat nonchalantly, “I know.” “But Jimmy, He is really there!” He repeated in the same fashion again “I know.”
We need not a burning bush, a trip to the seventh heaven or to walk with Him as His early disciples’ did… we have the best of all of them… Jesus is in us waiting for us to live by Him, see Him and allow Him to send what we need so we can have faith in Him and know Him better. Our lives in Jesus will never exceed the biggest trial we are willing to go through in faith.
“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not [spiritually] see may [spiritually] see, and that those who [think they] see may be made blind [spiritually].’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ [obviously assuming such a righteous person would not be blind spiritually] Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind [spiritually], you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see [spiritually].’ Therefore your sin remains.” John 9:39-41, NKJV
There are millions who think they can see, but in reality they can’t see. It is because they think they can see is what is blinding them. If the light that is in them is instead darkness, how great are they being affected by that darkness?
“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8,
“Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?” Mark 8:18, NKJV
If we refuse to see Jesus and acknowledge Him above our reasoning and emotion, at some point He will turn us over to our own devices. He will send “strong delusion so we would believe the lie.” We should never fear when someone comes along to challenge our faith or salvation. There are many fruits in seeing Jesus: “He keeps us in perfect peace;” “we have fellowship with one another;” we “are changed from glory to glory;” our righteousness and live are constantly growing as the sun rises to “the perfect day.” When we speak people lives change because we have “life.”
There are those Christians who only want to know about God and they seek bible studies and teachers having etching ears. Then there are the hungry, they can’t get enough. They read insatiable to know the truth and find him who their soul longs for. They never fear truth, but welcome it when it comes. Their ears and eyes are open constantly seeking Him at all cost. To those, Christ in them becomes more and more real; being seated in heavenly place become their life. Worship is connected to His worth. Obedience becomes easier through the cross and His love. They don’t have excuses for their sin, they found the reason in Jesus not to.
To those who have limited the Holy one and refuse to let go of their life and see beyond their own self interest, God has blinded so that cannot see even if the tried.
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” John 12:40
“Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool… he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 17:10;12:1
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the called out assembly, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23
He is always there, He is always the almighty. “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” Romans 10:6-8
The reality of God and His presence will never change, He cannot remove His presence even if we doubt it. He is here and He is their just as real as the burning bush. We can choose to enjoy His presence or we can live by our senses in doubt and be overcome by the smallest trial. Use the eyes of faith, the presence will be in front of you leading the way and it will behind you protecting you as a rearguard. Why do we wait for some vision, some miracle, He is there as much as when he walked with His disciples. The almighty is there waiting for you to recognize Him, acknowledge Him, love and faith will flow out of you like living water.
The burning bush lives in me!!!