Today's thought comes once again from the same book as last week -- "Streams in the Desert" by L. B. Cowman. Yet today's entry (under the date of "August 1") is not from her. It appears to be taken (copied) from the testimony of a man she simply records as "J. H. M." I share it because it took me back to an earlier time in my life when I was on my journey from unbelief to faith, and then from faith to obedience.
Some people know the truth of Scripture but don't believe it. Others know it and confess to believing it. But the real test of knowing and believing is whether or not it results in obeying it, or obeying the One who speaks to us in it. And it's this area of being called to obey that causes the greatest resistance in the soul, for only then must faith become visible in our actions and life. The inner battle in relation to consecrating our lives to God stems from the cost which consecration or obedience calls for. What will have to change, what will old friends think, what hard thing we will we be called to do, what might we miss out on, or what will we have to sacrifice or give up?
I speak from experience when I say that faith is never really tested or tried (to see if it's real) until we are called to act upon what we claim to believe. Until faith moves from being a mere proposition believed to a lifestyle of obedience, it may be questioned if we truly believe what we say we believe. If my conversations with people are any indication, then many people in the Church seem unaware that the goal of faith is to give birth to obedience and a life of consecration (Rom. 1:5 / I Cor. 6:19).
Below is one man's struggle in moving from faith to the obedience and consecration that are intended to flow from it. Enjoy.
Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life. (Romans 6:13)
"One night I went to hear a sermon on consecration. Nothing special came to me from the message, but as the preacher finished and knelt to pray, he said, “O Lord, You know we can trust the Man who died for us.” That was my message.
As I rose from my knees and walked down the street to catch the train, I deeply pondered all that consecration to God would mean to my life. I was afraid as I considered the personal cost. Yet suddenly, above the noise of the street traffic, came this message: “You can trust the Man who died for you.”
I boarded the train, and as I traveled toward home, I thought of the changes, sacrifices, and disappointments that consecration might mean in my life—and I was still afraid. Upon arriving home, I went straight to my room, fell on my knees, and saw my life pass before my eyes. I was a Christian, an officer in the church, and a Sunday School superintendent, but I had never yielded my life to God with a definite act of my will.
Yet as I thought of my own “precious” plans that might be thwarted, my beloved hopes to be surrendered, and my chosen profession that I might have to abandon—I was afraid. I completely failed to see the better things God had for me, so my soul was running from Him.
Then, for the last time, with a swift force of convicting power to my inmost heart, came that searching message: “My child, you can trust the Man who died for you. If you cannot trust Him, then whom can you trust?” That, finally, settled it for me. For in a flash of light I realized that the Man who loved me enough to die for me could be absolutely trusted with the total concerns of the life He had saved.
Dear friend, you can trust the Man who died for you. You can trust Him to thwart each plan that should be stopped and to complete each one that results in His greatest glory and your highest good. You can trust Him to lead you down the path that is the very best in this world for you. J. H. M.
Just as I am, Thy love unknown,
Has broken every barrier down,
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine ALONE,
O Lamb of God, I come!"
Is God moving you from a faith of mere assent to the obedience that comes from faith (Rom. 1:5)? Has faith produced in you that consecration the N.T. speaks of in Rom. 12:1-2? I have often said that what we believe affects the way we think and the way we think affects the way we act, showing by our actions what we really believe. If people were to read your actions, would they be able to see without a doubt what you believe? Has your faith in Jesus led to a consecration of your life to Him? By the grace of God can you pray that it would?
In the Service of Jesus, Pastor Jeff