Thought for the Week - 17th SeptemberPastor Gareth Watkins
And it is impossible to please God without faith.
Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists
and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Faith in God isn’t about an intellectual faith where we learn things. The fundamental part is that we believe God is there because He is. We might not have the right knowledge or behaviour, but we come to Him because He is. And because we come to Him in faith, He comes to us in a relationship. Out of that comes His response to us – God rewards those who have faith in Him.
The Cassini space mission ended last week. That mission went on for 13 years and went to Saturn, with its many moons and rings. The papers say that it changed our understanding of our planetary system. The mission even found one moon that could support life. Yet the end result was even more questions and confusion than when it started. Scientists are now debating what actually constitutes a moon, and they’re trying to calculate how many rings there actually are. The reason that man is never happy or satisfied in these things is because God is not in the middle of what they are doing.
Yet our bible teaches us quite clearly that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). God put all of these things into place at one time! God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). If God is the middle of these things, it is enjoyable rather than confusing. When we look at the magnificence of the heavens and the wonder of nature, it makes us happy rather than concerned. It makes us solid rather than confused… because God puts a part in us for faith.
We all have different levels of faith. Faith is something that quietly builds. It can rise and dip. Faith in God, and God being in the centre of it all, is the whole thing of what we’re about in terms of life. Consider your level of faith before God – where are you? We need faith in this God that has been from the beginning of time, has created time and put us in the midst of time.
There is a coming to God. Most people believe in God, but many don’t come to God. That’s where faith comes in. It’s not an intellectual thing, something we learn or a mental training. This is something that is in us. We read in Hebrews above, that we must believe He exists and then come to Him in faith. That starts before we even read a bible! Some people believe in God before they have read a bible. Some have felt sinful without knowing God or knowing His standard of holiness. Some have felt frightened of eternity.
If we come to Him, believing He exists, those who sincerely seek Him will be rewarded. He is not far off God (Jeremiah 23:23). He knows we’re there, He knows what we’re like, He knows if we’re being sincere and diligent. This is about the basis of faith in God. He wants a relationship with us. He exists and we come to Him in faith through Jesus Christ. As we come, He rewards us. We become part of a relationship with Him. There’s a sincerity He demands. Out of that comes a protection, an anointing and a blessing. It starts with us believing and having faith to go out to Him. It’s about relationship.
Sometimes we can feel at enmity with God. Sometimes our minds can be our own worst enemy. We need to go back to that simple passage – God exists! If He exists, we must come to Him in sincerity, commitment and loyalty. It starts with our belief and our coming to Him.
Sometimes the limitation is ourselves. Sometimes the limitation is the people we speak to. Why do we speak to people who can’t help us? Because we get the answer we want to hear. We need to share our problems and difficulties up to someone who will help us and give us the correct answer, rather than the one we want to hear. Faith is a building process. We come to God in a basic, childlike, simple faith sometimes. It’s as simple as He exists and we have come to Him. Sometimes we have nothing to bring to Him. But still, He wants us to come to Him.
David spoke about this in Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” David knows that God is looking after Him and in that provision, all his needs are met! He needs to find God, and in that are all the things he needs in life. He has no wants at all! Without God in the middle of it all, it doesn’t make sense. The universe doesn’t make sense – where did it all come from, how long did it take to form etc.? But it all changes when God is in the middle of it. It makes sense!
He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Sincerely and diligently are big words. A right relationship with God demands right commitments. We know when our commitments aren’t being kept rightly by us. If we keep our right commitments, we receive rewards. If we are not walking with Him rightly, then His protections are not the same. He cannot bless sin. If we are walking in a sinful way, then we are not going to receive the same blessings and protection as when we are walking in sincerity before Him.
We need more faith! With more faith comes more love, more relationship and more commitment. And out of that commitment comes the protection and blessing of God. God brings fruitfulness into every single situation. He exists, He wants a relationship and He wants our commitments. It needs faith for us to move on. We need more faith to live properly as Christians. We need more faith for the future.
This is our God, who wants to reward those who diligently seek Him, but wants us to come to Him because He exists. He wants us to come to Him in commitment, loyalty and faithfulness. He supplies all our needs. We read in Psalms 23 “I shall not want”. We need to be praying with faith that we will go on from this point, will not look backwards, will see the future, and that He supplies all our needs.
We need a going on in our faith:
We can increase the level of our faith by hearing about Christ. We can diminish our faith by stopping listening to God. We can increase our faith by coming to Him with our issues, asking Him deal with our natures and bondage, asking Him to change us. At the root of it all, He exists!
Are we diligently seeking Him today?