Friday, September 7, 2012

Examine Your Faith

by Donna L. Watkins

Do you remember this story of a Canaanite mother persistently pleading with Jesus to heal her daughter? She would not be put off by the disciples or anything Jesus said:

"And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." Matthew 15:22-28

© Donna L. Watkins - Azalea Bloom
What boldness she possessed. If we could only persist in going after the Word as much as this woman did after Jesus. Jesus is no longer available in the physical realm, but He is within us and we have the same resurrection power that raised Him from the dead inside with us also. It's our belief that cuts short the requests we make.

Romans 8:6 tells us that, "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." The word 'carnal' simply means our flesh. Another translation says, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."

We have to let go of our physical senses and trust that the Word is True. When something doesn't line up with the Word, choose the Word to believe, not what you see, hear, feel, taste or smell. It would've been so easy for this woman to cower at the disciples wanting to send her away. She could've been very offended and prideful when Jesus referred to her as a dog. She kept her mind on spiritual things. She had heard of Jesus and she believed Him to be good and true, so she persisted.

How far would I go with this scenario? There were people all around. Would I feel too rejected and embarrassed to stay tuned into the spirit? Can I put all things people say about my chosen method of healing aside? Do I care more about what somebody else says than what God says? No! Let God be true always.

But it's not easy to ignore your five senses. We have learned to be very tuned in to them. So, sometimes when I choose to meditate on the Truth of the Word about healing, I see something that distracts me and makes me doubt. Just like Peter stepping out of the boat and walking to Jesus. He looked at the winds and waves and it took him down. The reason many people don't believe in healing is because they don't see it happening instantly. They don't "believe and not doubt" as Jesus told us we must do to receive the answer to what we pray. Like Peter, we SEE the waves threatening to swallow us up.

Jesus said in James 1:6-8, "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

So instead of knowing that it's our doubt and unbelief that is keeping the promises of God from us, we blame God instead. Some turn their back on Him. Others who are super spiritual just work around it by saying things like, "the Bible isn't interpreted right at all times," or "God is God so you never know what He's going to do," or "the Bible is simply too hard to understand."

God gave us His Word as a Life Manual. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit and He tells us it is alive and active, so it continues to be relevant until the Lord's return. If we can't believe the Word, how can we expect anything from the God that created this universe and holds it in the span of His hand?

© Donna L. Watkins - Unidentified Wildflower in Florida
God also gave us His Word so we could come to know Him. The first thing we have to do is realize that the Old Covenant in the Old Testament is totally different from the New Covenant in the New Testament. Jesus came to fulfill the Old Covenant law and now everything is provided to us through His grace and love for us. So, God's not schizophrenic so that we never know what He's going to do next. If we absorb the Word as much as we memorize sports stats, music lyrics, and the roles played by Hollywood in movies, we can know the spiritual Word just as well as those fleshly things. Only the Word will bring life.

The Bible isn't hard to understand if you study it in the spirit. We ask God to reveal Himself to us when we read the Word and we shut down our mental mind (soul) and tune in with our spirit so we can worship in spirit and truth because God doesn't fellowship with us on a physical realm, because He is spirit.

When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit we have the ability to seek wisdom through our spirit communicating with His Spirit. John 16:13 tells us: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

Perhaps you're going through some rough waters right now. I'm still spending a lot of time focused on healing by meditating on the Word and keeping my mind in the spirit and not in the flesh. After accepting the various diseases I've put up with from birth to my now 62 years, I am beginning to be able to visualize and imagine being totally healthy. When you can begin to see that in your mind, you're on your way to wholeness. Our minds become programmed to be sick and to act sick and talk sick, but we have to break out of that cycle, renew our minds with the Truth, and spend time picturing your life without disease or poverty or whatever struggle you're going through.

Will you be shamelessly persistent as that woman on a dusty road somewhere on the coasts of Tyre and Sidon? Will you stay focused? Will you humbly fall at His feet in thanksgiving for what Jesus did on the Cross for us? We are told, in I Peter 2:24 and prophesied in Isaiah 53:5, that "by His stripes we WERE healed." All we have to do is reach out and receive it. When Jesus reached out His hand to Peter on the water, do you think He carried him back to the ship? I don't think so. I think Peter got his eyes back on Jesus and walked back himself.

We too make many falls in our spiritual journey, but as long as you're getting back up and walking toward Truth, you will receive what is promised to you. We have to take responsibility for knowing and applying the Word. It is much simpler to resign yourself to praying for God to do everything for you, but that's not why Jesus came to set us free. When the devil shouts things into your head that provoke wrong thinking, shout back at him with, "It is written!" and use the Word as a double-edged sword. Even Jesus had to use the Word to get rid of Satan. How can we expect to do any different?

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