The Gift

a red gift

It’s crazy.  It is insane.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I actually believe.  The story is unbelievable on so many levels. At one point in time I did not fully believe.  At one point in time I did not fully understand.  Now I believe.  Now I understand.  What has changed?  What is different about me that allows me to understand and believe something that by our own human thinking is impossible?

The answer is in the very book I didn’t want to read.  The answer is in the very book I thought was just like every other book written by men.  The answer is in the Holy Scripture.

In my second year of Spiritual life I can give a decent defense of my belief in God.  For those who don’t know, apologetics is a term used for defense of faith.  My apologetics argument is educated, but what does that prove?  Will that win a heart to Jesus?  No!  Is that how I was won to Jesus?  No!  While I do believe, and Scripture commands, that all believers should give a defense of our faith, and it shouldn’t be “because faith is believing in something I can’t prove,” it does not truly explain why we came to believe.

When Jesus was with His disciples, performing many miraculous things, people who witnessed them still didn’t believe He was the Messiah.  After He fed five thousand people with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish they still wanted to know what sign He would give them.  He showed them several times many signs and miracles yet they still did not believe.

So where does my faith come from?  Where does the faith of a believer in Christ today come from?  It comes from the same place faith in the Lord has always come from.  It comes as a gift from God.

 In John 6, after the people follow Jesus Capernaum, the day after He fed five thousand, they question Him about the bread and Jesus told them He was the bread of life.  He said He was the manna from heaven.  They grumbled about it because they did not understand and “Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:43-44

a well God does not invite people to be saved. He commands them. —R.C. Sproul

Jesus is saying the faith that the followers lacked had not been given to them by God.  He had not drawn them, like drawing water from a well.  Do I know why God chooses some people and not others?  Do I know why I was chosen?  No and No.  There is an answer, given by the Apostle Paul, to why faith has to come from God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

God gives us faith and saves us through grace so we do not boast.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from our ourselves.  Jesus did it all on the cross.  We believe because God opens our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our hearts to know Jesus.  No one can believe what we believe on our own without God giving it to us.

This is not to say the faith of a believer will not be tested.  This is not to say there won’t be times when you question what you believe.  I often come across things, in Scripture and life, that make me question my faith.  Let’s not get questioning confused with doubt.  When I question my faith I search deeper for answers.  For example, I was watching a video on youtube put up by an atheist, and she was questioning a Scripture in the book of Deuteronomy.  So I did some research and found an explanation for the verse that showed she was misinterpreting. The questioning made me search out God more and made my faith stronger.  I believe this is the design of Scripture and our faith relationship with the Lord.  As for the atheist, perhaps she doesn’t see the Scripture for what it is because she has not been enabled to by the Lord yet.

So this brings me to a possible dilemma for the believer.  If my faith is a gift that can only come from God, then why am I called to preach the gospel to all nations?  Why would anyone witness and give their testimony?  Why have missions around the world and go on mission trips?  The answer comes down to, because we are commanded to.  We are the vehicle God has chosen to bring the Gospel to the world.  The world needs to hear.  We are just the planters of seeds.  God makes the seeds grow.  Sometimes the soil isn’t ready.  Sometimes the soil will never be ready.  Sometimes it takes a little more fertilizer.  We do not have the ability to know when the soil will be ready.  We are just called to plant.

I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.  1 Corinthians 2:3-5

Since we do not know who exactly will have ears to hear and eyes to see, we must tell everyone.  Even people who, in our human minds, may not be the people we think God wants to save. This often makes me think of Jonah.  God told him who to speak to and he refused.  He ran the other way.  But Jonah couldn’t run from God.  Neither can we.  All we can do is obey and be so very thankful the He enables us to believe.

a jonah

If you are reading this and feel you have not been enabled by God to believe,  but you want to, ask God right now to change you.  Ask Him to make your heart turn to Him.  Ask Him to make you ready.  The fact that you are asking should show you He is working in you.

I did not believe but then He changed me.  It took me on my knees asking Him to change me.  He was already there when my knees hit the floor.

Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart to love.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

You are “whoever”.

a cross

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