Finding Faith: A positive heart and life for God
Questions: Do you think of yourself as a positive or negative person? Is your cup half-full, half-empty or are you thankful you have a cup with something in it? Do you believe and trust the God of the Bible or the god of the world?
These are questions that we need to ask ourselves because our world and its values are changing everyday and not always in agreement with God’s values. This fast-paced culture of not knowing what each day will bring or who will be offended can test your value system and beliefs, can cause doubt, fear, confusion, mistrust, anxiety and one of our favorite words, “impatience.”
Not to worry, there is hope. There is peace. There is grace, which comes from faith in Jesus Christ. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
The challenge comes everyday to live and follow the teachings of Jesus especially when the world is teaching the opposite. There are answers in the Word of God.
First, let’s look at David, King of Israel. The Bible says about David “…God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'” Acts 13:22b
Wait a minute! David was far than perfect. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, lied and sent her husband to be killed so he could marry her among other things. Yet he had a heart like God. How do you, anyone or I have a heart like God who is perfect and still be imperfect? First, Acts 13 gives the answer. God knew that David in his heart would do everything that God wanted him to do = obedience to God. So a good place for our search would be to check our heart’s “obedience meter” in accordance with God’s commands and laws such as “…’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27 This will take a lifetime but is extremely necessary. I feel some impatience rising up!
Let’s go back to David. God used his heart as our example. One of the best places to learn about David’s heart is in the Psalms. David poured out his heart to God on many levels in the Psalms especially in times of despair, grief, life-threatening, confusing days with no end in sight. A great and to-the-point help in our quest is Psalm 13.
It is not recorded exactly what David was referring to when he wrote Psalm 13. What is important is his reaction to a very lengthy and difficult time. The Israelites would sing this Psalm when they had times of prolonged sickness or famine. David is most definitely hurting, about to give up and hopeless when he wrote Psalm 13. What is David’s first move in his desperation? He prays.
Let’s go deeper. David starts Psalm 13 with an explosive “How long?”, not once but four times. Ever feel this way? The sources of David’s cry of “How long?” are answered in verse 1-2. David feels God has forgotten him forever. God does not forget you: “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
David does not feel God’s presence as if God turned His back on him. (“do not hide you face from me”) David is definitely going through mental anguish, despair and anxiety. David has allowed his negative circumstances to influence him to the point he “feels” separated from God. He is trying on his own strength to resist these dark, negative thoughts, day after day after day after day that are clouding David’s heart and mind. It even seems to David that God is allowing his enemies to conquer him.
In verse 3-4, there is a shift in David’s thought process. David asks God to answer him with understanding and wisdom. (“Give light to my eyes”) because David thinks it is over and his enemies will not only conquer him, they will “rejoice when he falls.”
David is overcome as a drowning man. Have you been there? I have. This is David’s crossroad.
Does he give up totally, disregard God or does he change for God to act?
In Psalm 13, it is never revealed how or when God changes David’s situation. Verse 5-6 does show David’s choice. He begins with the famous Biblical “But”…David’s choice is made. He is going to trust the Lord even when what he has had to deal with or he is going through now is painful, unfair, never seems to end or is contrary to the world’s answers. David trusts God because he knows God’s “unfailing love.” David’s joy comes from his salvation. David’s hope is returning and his confidence growing. Does your salvation from Jesus Christ give you joy?
David decides to hang on, keep going with singing to the Lord with praise and gratitude. Why? Because David remembers how God has been good to Him, God loves him and God will answer when it is within His timing and plan = best for David.
But how will you respond to what you are dealing with? Give up? Or follow David with a heart like God and:
2. Believe God; Trust God by giving your life totally to Jesus.
3. Start praising God with worship, music, thankfulness and relying on God’s promises.
4. Spend time in the Bible.
If you start doing these things, two things will happen. You will change in your heart and mind even if your circumstance does not. And the devil will leave you alone because he cannot tolerate a positive trust and attitude for God.
Jesus said, “with God anything is possible.” Matthew 19:26
Let’s begin filling our cups to the positive, overflowing with God’s love and values.
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Janis Heiser of River of Life Fellowship Church, Lock Haven.