Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Death to the Promise

By S. Michael Durham

(Seventh installment on faith)

You would think we would know better. We expect more from ourselves, something less gullible. Yet, I have done it. Have you? Haven’t you focused more on the promise than the Promiser? Should the eyes of faith cast their look anywhere but on the “Faithful and True,” the vision will become dim at best.

As explained in the previous blog, the enemy of our faith will not just assault our faith by attacking God’s integrity. That is not his only strategy. He will also try to steer our faith away from its source, Jesus. And if he cannot do so with worldly idols, he will distract our souls with the very thing the Lord has promised. Should you or I begin to focus our attention on the thing we are trusting God for, then we cannot behold the Giver. Faith has eyes only for God, therefore if I am looking, gazing, concentrating on something other than the Lord Jesus, even if it something He has promised to give me, my faith will wilt. Faith must have God as its focus as we need air to breathe.

Preoccupation with the promises of God is nothing more than idolatry. It is fascination with the gift more than the Giver. This is a major enemy to faith. How then do we fight this tendency? How do we keep our eyes on Him who has promised and not the promise? By way of the cross. It is by death. You must die to the very promise that God has given you.

Dying to the promise doesn’t mean we cease to trust God for the promise’s fulfillment. It means that I refuse to let the promise be the source of my delight rather than the Promiser. If the Lord has promised something you really desire and the thing desired has your heart, you will know it by the fact that you are not able to wait patiently for it. You will become impatient and even frustrated with the Lord for His delay in keeping His promise. Or you will begin to lose hope that it will ever come to pass. You will begin to think you did not hear God accurately or at all.

The antidote is death. Your desires, longings and hopes must cease being your source of pleasure. The excitement you feel as you think about the promise must be transferred back to God Himself. It is indeed permissible to be excited about a promise you have received from your Father, but it is not acceptable that the excitement outweigh your enthusiasm in God.

To the cross you must go and lay the promise there. Upon the cruel and rough beams of the cross you must sacrifice your promise. In other words, you must be willing that the promise never be fulfilled so long as it has your heart. Death to the promise is to want God’s pleasure and sweet presence much more than the promise fulfilled. Possessing communion with the Heavenly Father means a great deal more to you than possessing the promise. This is dying to the promise.

You must pray at the altar of sacrifice that the Lord would give you grace to restore your heart for Him, to see Him again with the eyes of faith. Once you have died to the promise, then the promise can be fulfilled. If we have relinquished the worship of the thing promised, then we can once again truly trust God with the promise and its fulfillment. We can again wait on the Lord in peace because our mind is stayed on Him. The Lord Jesus can give us what He has promised. It is no longer an idol; it is an expression of His love to us. And if an expression of His love, then surely He is the object of our worship and thankfulness.

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