Two days back, i started soon from my office and I was walking towards the main gate to catch the bus. I felt like God insisting me that I would be getting a bus in five minutes, but in my thought, I was thinking, “Where would the bus come at this time? Let me wait for 5 minutes and book a cab to my house”. I didn’t trust the inner voice and had my own execution plan. But, as insisted, I got my bus in 5 minutes while waiting. Similarly, sometimes, we act ‘bipolar’ when it comes to our faith. While I was reading Matthew Chapter 16, I was stuck with this verse for a long time. Christ asks His disciples in verse 15 that,
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
I was thinking, If Christ would be asking the same question to me today, what would I answer? The answer to this question reveals our spiritual condition and eternal destiny. Christ didn’t ask this question to raise identity crisis or curiosity as to what would other people think about Him. Instead, His question forced the disciples to have to grapple with their own beliefs concerning Him.
“Faith that is untested is no faith at all.” Some would have head knowledge but that is not going to help them spiritually. When it comes to responding such a question as Peter did in verse 16,
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
We will come to know that our faith is well-founded in Christ. Jesus’ affirmation to his response was favorable for Peter which we can see in the verse 17,
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
But, did Peter really understand who Jesus was? This salty-tongued, former sailor, after the interaction was reproved by Christ that Peter was thinking, talking and acting like devil himself from verses 21-23,
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Even Peter forsook Jesus three times as predicted by Jesus. I am not sure what would I have done if I was in Peter’s shoes. Sometimes, our faith is bi-polar.
We also can see Elijah, who called down fire from heaven and disposed 850 false prophets and praying for rain, was running from a wicked woman. Like Elijah, one minute we’re calling down fire from Heaven and the next minute sitting down under a juniper tree, feeling all alone and wishing we were dead (I Kings 18:1-19:4). He was sitting under the Juniper tree wishing he were dead. Unbelievable right! When I was reading about Elijah in the Bible, I was so hard on him – how can he behave like this? Where did his faith go? But, don’t be so hard on him – we often are just like him.
One minute we’re so close to Heaven that we could almost reach out and touch God; the next minute we’re down-in-the-dumps, mournfully singing “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” And remember, if we are not careful, we will act the same way. This is how our faith remains sometimes – bi-polar. We often live by sight and not faith –we try to attempt things which can be done only from our strength and forget that in our weakness He is our strength. Hence, we are afraid to sign on the dotted line of a blank sheet of paper and leave the blanks up to God to fill in. We are afraid what He might put there.
Sometimes, we like Peter and Elijah, might be on the top of spirituality and fall the next second when we are asked to follow Him, without knowing where we need to go.
But, it need not be that way, IF we’ll remember to “cast down our imaginations and anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God by bringing every thought into obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5). Or, another way to say it is “Refusing to dwell on suspicions and speculations by making sure nothing blots out God’s Face from view as I lasso every wayward thought and bring it under Jesus’ Lordship.”
Ups-and-downs. Highs and lows. Delights and despair – Such is so often our rollercoaster ride of faith. That’s why we must daily spend time alone with the Savior, “renewing our minds” (Rom. 12:2) by “studying to show ourselves approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15) as we “hide His Word in our hearts” (Ps. 119:11). Help us, O Lord.
Can you say ‘God is good’ as Asaph did in Psalm 73:1, even though you’re about ready to cave into the pressure? Never forget the three most important words in the Bible are “God loves you” (John 3:16), “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Always rest in His sufficient grace and unchanging nature. Then, even in the midst of tears (and fears), we can say as Job said in Job13:15,
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.”
God bless you. Continue to trust and sustain on Him!!
This message is published by an IT professional who works for an MNC in Madurai, India.