Friday, February 25, 2011

FAITH is Gazing at the Heart of God (part 1)

Is your work important?  If the CEO of your company called you into his office and said, “If you want to succeed in this business, there is one thing you must do.  It is impossible to succeed here if you don’t do this one thing.”  Obviously, you would do that one thing with gusto.

For the last week I have been reading, listening to and meditating on Hebrews, especially chapters 10-12.  That “one thing” that God says is imperative to please Him is faith, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6).  Every church of every denomination has preached untold sermons on faith. The preachers will say “just believe”, “take God as His word”, “if you have the faith of a mustard seed”, and then they will share the life story of a person that did unbelievable things for God. Most of the time, we walk out thinking to ourselves, there must be something more than this.

Heb.10:38 (quoting Hab. 2:3-4) says “My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”  Heb. 11 opens up with two righteous men, Abel and Enoch, that pleased God.  Enoch was so pleasing to God that God took him home (heaven) so that he did not experience death.  How did he do that?

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” 11:6

Tozer calls faith, “the gaze of a soul upon a saving God” and “faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God.” He continues, “If faith is the gaze of the heart at God, and if this gaze is but the raising of the inward eyes to meet the all-seeing eyes of God, then it follows that it is one of the easiest things possible to do.”(1) [emphasis mine]

The Bible defines faith only as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1).  Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  Thomas á Kempis said, “I had rather experience faith than know the definition thereof.”  Jesus, in John 3, used the illustration of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness to help his hearers understand faith in Him for everlasting life. (Num. 21:4-9; John 3:14-16)

“Believing, then, is directing the heart’s attention to Jesus.  It is lifting the mind to ‘Behold the Lamb of God’ (John 1:29), and never ceasing that beholding for the rest of our lives.” (2)  After finishing the great chapter on faith, we roll right into chapter 12 with a wake up call (vv. 1-2).  It calls us our attention to repentance, shedding all hindrances (entanglements), and running the race as the man/woman that God has called us to be . . . by “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

Faith is gazing upon Jesus, forever.  It is directing our sight away from ourselves and onto God where it is intended to be.  To paraphrase Tozer, “when we commit in our heart to gaze upon Christ continually, God takes our intention, makes allowances for the thousands of distractions in this evil world and after a while, it becomes a spiritual reflex requiring no more conscious effort on our part.” (3)

Here’s a few quotes from Tozer that may help to cement this idea:

“Faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves—blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.” (4)

“Pseudo faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails it.” (5)

“The Christian faith engages the profoundest problems the human mind can entertain and solves them completely and simply by pointing to the Lamb of God.” (6)

“We have full confidence in Jesus Christ. He is the origin, source, foundation and resting place for all of our faith. In that kingdom of faith, we are dealing with Him, with God Almighty, the One whose essential nature is holiness, the One who cannot lie.  Our confidence rises as the character of God becomes greater and more trustworthy to our spiritual comprehension. The One with whom we deal is the One who embodies faithfulness and truth—the One who cannot lie.”(7)
  
“Faith never goes contrary to reason—faith simply ignores reason and rises above it.” (8)

  1. Tozer, A.W., The Pursuit of God, pp.87-89.
  2. Ibid., p.84.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., p.91.
  5. Tozer, A.W., The Root of Righteousness, p.50.
  6. Tozer, A.W., Of God and Men, p.129.
  7. Tozer, A.W., The Pulpit Set [Vol. 1], Book 3, p.41.
  8. Ibid., p.42.

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