I once heard Rev. Hagan say that the “Walk of Faith requires two legs!”. What are those two “Legs” which are required to “Walk in Faith”? Trust and Obedience, also called “faith and works”! Works without faith, which is simply trust in the One being worked for, amounts to little more than abject hypocrisy, and most often leads to bitterness and resentment of life destroying proportions. But, on the other hand, trying say that you trust when you do not obey what He has said is laughable denial, and confirmed insanity!
Let's think about this logically for a minute. If one trusts that what a person says is true, if one has found that person to be reliable and honest, then one will tend to take their word for things. If they say it, we believe it. So if they tell us to do something, or not to do something, then we tend to do it – or not do it, as the case may be! But, at least, we would always seriously consider it before dismissing it!
The same is true of God! Which is why Yeshua asked those of His day, and I am sure He is still asking, “Why do you call me 'LORD', yet you do not do the things which I command?” And that is a really valid question for so-called “believers”! We are called “believers” because supposedly we believe that He is who He claims to be – THE Messiah, The Christ, The Anointed One of Israel! We are called “Christians” - because we are supposed to be becoming “little Christs” - “little Anointeds” - if you will – who bear His anointing to a lost and dying world! We take on these titles because we are supposed to be following in His footsteps and learning from Him! We are supposed to have signed on as His students (disciples, talmidim) to learn God's ways from Him! We have signed on with Him to receive His instruction in righteousness, to be made Holy, Righteous, and to be returned to the original design – B.T. F (before the fall), which was the exact Image of a Holy God! We obviously can not accomplish this feat through natural means, however, so we must have supernatural – or spiritual – help with this mission! But the question is, “from where does that help come, and how do we utilize it?” I think the answer is “By Faith”. We are told four times in the Scriptures that “The Just shall LIVE BY FAITH”! I think that makes it fairly significant!
I would go so far as to say that one can NOT live a righteous life without faith! But here's the rub – we really don't trust Him like we think we do - and how can we? Few of us have taken the time that is needed to actually KNOW HIM! And no one but a fool will trust someone they really don't know! The flesh is pretty stupid, but even it knows that much! So the solution is to determine to KNOW Him! We must set aside the time to pray, to “study to show ourselves approved unto God, as a workman that does not need to feel ashamed”! We MUST become doers of His Word (Torah) and NOT hearers only! Those who hear/read/study the Word on a regular basis, but who are not quick to obey what they have heard, are among the first and worst to fall into deception!
The enemy does not usually just make stuff up out of the blue! He usually just twists, perverts, or “adjusts” what God has already said! Obedience keeps the lines clear between us and God. Without that obedience the messages get a bit fuzzy, and the enemy can insert his “adjustments” into our thinking undetected! That is so dangerous! That is why Yeshua said that the ones who were abject sinners were in less danger than the Pharisees – the self-exalted “holy-men” of His day. He knew that they KNEW the TORAH, but had missed the heart of it. Religious duty had replaced the relationship which it had been meant to facilitate. Religion is an empty refrigerator – it promises food, it was designed to hold nourishment, but if no food has been stored in it, then it is only a white box full of cold air! That is works without Faith! Yeshua called religion, and those bound by its strongholds, white-washed tombs full of dead men's bones! Wow. So much for the “Gentle Shepherd, meek and mild” bit. He is never gentle with abject disobedience, nor with hypocritical hog-wash being pedaled in His Name! I can't say as I blame Him on that!
But here's the deal. If we claim to walk by faith, then eventually some fruit will need to show up on our bushes! Faith produces profound obedience to His Word – both the Written and the Living! If we have truly received Him as Redeemer, Savior, and LORD, then we will have worked to know and trust Him (by studying His Word and trying to comply with it, by praying, worshiping, etc.)! We will have begun to emulate Him, we will have begun to take on His ways, we will have began that process of transformation, from the lower, natural man into something higher, richer, lovelier, purer that we were formerly capable of being. But to walk after Him we have to use both legs! We must trust, then obey what we learn from Him! To neglect either leg is to insure failure and falling away.
Yeshua cursed the fig bush for false advertising - for promising fruit , by its showy, abundant foliage, that it was full of fruit, while it was, in fact quite fruitless! So will we be judged - and cursed – accordingly, if we continue in our dead works of religious duty! If we continue to sport a bunch of empty works which lack His heart, and continue to resist obedience to His ways of doing and being. We must get this in order if we ever hope to walk in His blessing, if we ever hope to really “Live by Faith”. A life of Faith is not an automatic download upon “receiving Yeshua as Savior”, it is developed over time as we come to know Him.
So I think we need to ask ourselves some hard questions. Such as, “How well do I know my Savior? Do I really care what pleases or offends Him, or His Spirit who now lives in me? Do I ever think of what He must feel as I go about the regular habits of my daily life? Would I ever be embarrassed if He suddenly manifested in human form, in the middle of my computer, T.V. or “Friend time”?” If you found yourself squirming at the answers to these questions then clearly some changes are in order.
But never fear, His mercies are new every morning. Just be sure not to wait until you run out of mornings! Today is a new day, it is the day of salvation, the day of redemption. Don't let it pass you by without getting on board with His plans for you! As you read the following entry from “My Utmost for His Highest”, that was today's excellent devotional reading, you may now know the answer to the question with which he begins this work! May you find the answers you need within yourself to settle the questions that you've asked yourself. May you find the strength today to trust Him to make the corrections needed. May you find that sweet spot that is the center of His will for you life. May you truly become His faithful followers – on two good legs!
Peter said to Him, ’Lord, why can I not follow You now?’ —John 13:37
(note to readers: I could not get this entry to load correctly - but please refer to My Utmost for His Highest for January the fourth)