By Dr Cecil Stewart OBE
Third study in the Basic Truth Series
FACTS ABOUT YOUR FAITH - Part 1
Isaiah: 3:10-11: “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him. “
When we look at the world today, with so many fears about the future, it is good to know that God has a wonderful future prepared for all who will put their lives in His hands. 1 Corinthians 2: 9-10a says: “But as it is written: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.”
One lady after hearing about the favour of God at one of our meetings in the Republic of Ireland said: “This is too good to be true.” The fact is that God’s heart of love overflows with desire toward us as He seeks to do us good. Read James 1:17 and Romans 8:32. Many are shocked and surprised when they hear of God’s favour and good plans for their future. They have heard so much about their hopeless future that they rarely expect anything good. Yes, it is true, we all have our struggles and sometimes we feel inadequate when we face life’s great challenges. But the fact is that when we put our lives into the Lord’s hands, and give our future to Him, we can live a life that is totally different to those who struggle with life’s problems in their own strength. Today, many are asking “How can we move into the future God has for us?”
Become established in His Word
When we hear and heed what God has said about us and our future, faith develops for those things that He has provided and promised. Ephesians 2:10 reveals God’s plans for us: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
The greatest thing about our future is the fact that God planned it and He has our best interests at heart.
See Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16, John10:10. Once we become established in the word, we can refuse to settle for less than the wonderful future that Jesus died to give us. Psalms 34: 1-8 shows how David made a decision about his future when he confessed he would bless the Lord at all times. He knew that if he was to experience the good future God had for him, he must agree with God’s word by believing it in his heart and confessing it with his mouth. See Romans 8: 9-10. This is the key to a good future but we must decide in advance that we will have an attitude of gratitude to God for all He has provided regardless of how things look. Note verse 5 says: ”They looked unto Him and were lightened and their faces were not ashamed.” When we lift up our hearts and heads in thanksgiving to God, we are using our faith for a good future; and this opens the door for God to come in and take charge of our circumstances.
So often people walk around with their heads down in depression and discouragement. But God does not want His children living that way. He wants us to look up, rise up and lift others up into fellowship with their Heavenly Father. Ephesians 2:6 reminds us that we have been lifted up and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. David said in Psalms 3:3: “He is my glory and the lifter of my head.” Never accept as final what appears inevitable. Let God’s words have the final say, see Psalms 119: 89. Recently, while I was struggling with a very difficult problem of a close relative, I found this verse so helpful. Also, where David says in Psalms 112:7, David said: “My heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” Knowing that God has settled His plan for our future gives us a firm foundation for our faith and brings great stability to our lives.
2. Make long term plans
Isaiah 43 :2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Nothing prepares us for a good future like settling in our hearts that we will fully follow the Lord and please Him no matter what the cost. Hebrews 11: 24 shows how Moses refuses to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, but chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Moses saw the future God had in mind for him and nothing compared to what he saw. However He had to make a choice whether to take the short term benefits of doing what appealed to the flesh, or the long term reward of fulfilling his destiny. Paul said in Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” There is nothing that compares with the eternal joy of doing what we were created to do, and that is to be in the likeness of Jesus and reach out to our hurting world bringing about the change God has in mind. Hebrews 12:15-17 shows how Esau sold his birthright just to satisfy his appetite. Today many sell their lives and futures just to fulfil the lusts of the flesh in committing adultery, fornication and yielding to other unscriptural desires. Read carefully Romans 1:18-32, 2 Peter 2:19, Proverbs 6:32-35, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
What a great tragedy it is to live in such an awesome time of divine favour and yet to miss the great future and calling that God has for us with all the eternal consequences that it brings to our lives and the lives of multitudes we were meant to impact. Jesus was able to say that Satan had nothing in him, John 14-30. So let us lay aside every weight of sin and distraction of the carnal nature so that we can run the race of life and win, see Hebrews 12: 1-3; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; James 4:7; John 15:7.
3. Rejoice in the Lord and reach out to the world
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
One of the amazing blessings that this brings is that we receive an overflow of joy and strength back as we maintain a joyful attitude and reach out to help our hurting world. Ephesians 3:20 shows how we can allow the power of God through His word to work in us and bring the change that is necessary. You see, you could live next door to a power station and yet never enjoy the benefits of electricity. It is essential to connect up to the source of the power if we are to benefit from it. In Matthew 4:4, we see how Jesus stood alone in the wilderness, having fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights. He spoke the Word against the enemy and overcame because He saw the long term plan God had for Him and came through victorious even though He lived in a hostile environment and must have felt the loneliness there in the wilderness. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:13-14 how important it is to forget things that are behind and reach forward to those things that are before.
Let us keep our focus fixed on the future God has for us and maintain joyful anticipation of the fantastic harvest we will see, as the lost are saved, the broken restored and those without hope find a bright new life in Jesus our Saviour and Lord.
Isaiah 41 :10-13 "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them - those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' "