Faith— Not Emotion
In our culture of self-promotion and exaltation that borders on narcissism, it is good to sit back and see how God deals with us from His perspective. Or, how we are to see ourselves in His kingdom. This is exactly what happened to me today. As I was reading Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, I was arrested, no… I literally had my breath taken away by what I read. And this was not the first time I had ever come across these words. It has been my practice to read Oswald’s classic every year for decades. But today, the Lord wanted me to see myself in what I read. And that is exactly what happened.
Let me share the devotional with you, so maybe you will have your goals and perspective reshaped by these timely words.
For we walk by faith, not by sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7
For a while, we are fully aware of God’s concern for us. But then, when God begins to use us in His work, we begin to take on a pitiful look and talk only of our trials and difficulties. And all the while God is trying to make us do our work as hidden people who are not in the spotlight. None of us would be hidden spiritually if we could help it. Can we do our work when it seems that God has sealed up heaven? Some of us always want to be brightly illuminated saints with golden halos and with the continual glow of inspiration, and to have other saints of God dealing with us all the time. A self-assured saint is of no value to God. He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God. We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world. And we are to do it with an infinitely greater power to withstand the struggle because we have been born from above.
If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are becoming obsessed with the moments when God did come and speak with us, and we are insisting that He do it again. But what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith.” How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, “I cannot do anything else until God appears to me”? He will never do it. We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, “Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!” Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises. God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never consider our moments of inspiration as the standard way of life— our work is our standard.
This is what it looks like when we give all to Him. And that is what I desire to do today.
One final point, this also reminds me of my favorite quote from My Utmost for His Highest, that came at the perfect time in my Christian life. It is from the January 2nd entry and reads:
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is.
Let those words sink in for a moment. And read it again, only this time thinking about all the things you have been asking God about, only to find His answer somewhat elusive. This is just another example of living by faith, and not sight. I hope you are as blessed and encouraged by these words as I am.