Sunday, March 06, 2005

Faith the Grain of a Mustard Seed

"...if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20b)

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13)

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one..." (Matthew 6:13a)

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons..." Hebrews 12:5b-7a

All of the above verses are verses that came to mind as I was reading the notes from the sermon on Ecclesiastes posted below. Why these particular verses? Because when I read the sermon, I was blown away by how specific it is to some struggles I have been having lately and are yet another confirmation of the existence, mercy, and love of God to me.

There is no need for me to go into specifics about which sin I am dealing with. Plus, I am assured by Scripture that the struggles I have are the same ones that are common to all mankind. I am not as unique as I would fondly like to imagine.

I have to confess that many times my faith is a weak and puny thing. Too often (daily?) I struggle with unbelief of the sort that makes me constantly cry out, "Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief." Yet God is gracious and doesn't quench a smoking flax nor stomp on a bruised reed who ought to know better, especially after all the prior evidences of His intimate knowledge and personal love of me and mine.

In the past year I have had to struggle with some mighty hard temptations that at times threatened to overwhelm me. I have been left with no doubt as to my own moral strength and character. If I came through the temptations without falling into them or rushing headlong to embrace them, it was no thanks to me. God gets all the glory for my preservation, because my own foolish heart often wants the very things that would destroy me.

Do I need evidence of God's existence? Or assurance of salvation? I have it in the fact that I have the tiniest of the tiny mustard seeds that God has planted in me. I was given strength enough to believe that God actually would deliver me from the evil one and rescue me from temptation when I asked Him and He has come through in spades. Not only has He rescued me from folly once again, but now I have such a loathing for that sin that it makes me physically nauseated to even think about it. I have been spanked by God, but the spanking was precisely what was needed, was a direct answer to prayer, and I bless the rod and Him who wielded it.

There is so much encouragement in this fact, that it gives me hope to carry on with the knowledge that other besetting sins of mine can fall by the wayside if I only believe that the Lord will provide a means for me to escape the temptation to fall into them. I am not a victim of my circumstances, and no longer captive to my sinful nature. Sin no longer need rule over me.

Cast my crown at His feet? I wonder that He even thinks to give it to me in the first place. It so obviously belongs to Him.

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