There may be times when we feel that the Holy Spirit is far from us. We may think that the reasons are because we’ve done something wrong or maybe we didn’t have enough faith. During these weaker moments doubt can creep in, possibly even bitterness since we are confused as to why we lack faith. How much more do I need to believe?
Faith is much more than just believing Jesus is the Messiah. So, how do we examine our faith?
The Jewish sages used to teach about pillars of righteousness and love. This is spoken of in both the Torah and New Testament in regards to how we should love our Father. Yeshua says to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Jesus repeated what was written in the Torah to remind those listening what they had obviously forgotten. They had failed to see that loving our Father with all our heart, soul and mind would cause a more sincere obedience. And there would be no need for man-made ordinances.
Recently I heard a Rabbi give an interesting lecture of what it means to have faith. He gives a great example where Moses accuses the people of not trusting God. In Deuteronomy 1 it says:
The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’But for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God…
Reading the Old Testament, it’s hard not to think how in the world the Hebrews would disbelieve God and why they kept backsliding. If God had done all those miraculous things in our presence there’s no way we wouldn’t have faith…right?
We are given an example of how this train of thought goes back millennia in Matthew 23. It’s nothing new. We think if we were in that situation that we would have done something different. We might have. But as history has shown us, more than likely we wouldn’t.
The Rabbi went on to talk about how faith is based on three key components. Imagine faith as being three pillars holding up a roof. Each pillar in this analogy represents a component of your faith, and the roof that sits on top is trust.
So what do these pillars represent?
- The first pillar is Empathy/Love. – We need to know and believe that God cares about our suffering no matter the circumstances; that He is empathetic to our emotional, physical and spiritual needs. This reassures us of His love.
- The second pillar is Power. – We need to know and believe that God has the power to help us in whatever situation we find ourselves.
- The third pillar of our faith is Understanding. – We need to know and believe that God has understanding of our human condition as well as knowing that He understands our heart and mind.
Understanding is a tough one for us to comprehend. We seem to feel as if God has plenty to take care of, therefore my little problems are just something I have to deal with on my own. He doesn’t really pay attention to the little every day things that we’re going through since they are so small in comparison, does He?
When we doubt that He really does get involved in our little lives then we don’t completely place ourselves in His hands. This inadvertently causes us to feel as though God can’t or doesn’t fully understand us or our situation, and in turn we don’t fully understand God. Unfortunately, this causes a lack of intimacy in our relationship with Him.
So, what is the hardest pillar? For the answer we must look to the past.
While in the desert the Hebrews didn’t lack belief in their Creator. As Moses stated they saw all those miracles, however it wasn’t belief in His existence or power since that had been made completely obvious. Rather, it was the belief that they could be loved that much.
In Deuteronomy it states:
You went to your tents and began to complain. You said, ‘The Lord hates us! He brought us out of the land of Egypt just to let the Amorites destroy us.
One of the reasons for not believing that God can really love us that much is that we know we have fallen short. We feel we do not deserve our Father’s love or forgiveness, although He freely gives it. This concept is nearly impossible to fully grasp. But when we do allow ourselves to accept this, then and only then can we begin to fully trust our Father. In other words, If we have each pillar in place then we can fully trust God.
These pillars are to show us that we may not be trusting our Father. Even when we are told that He will not let us fall, we hesitate in letting go because we don’t truly believe we are important enough for His attention. However, when we let go completely and surrender ourselves to Him then the intimacy with our Creator goes to a new level. This can only be experienced when its no longer about your will.
Our level of intimacy with our Father isn’t based on how much we do, but how much we give of ourselves. We must realize that there’s nothing we can do to deserve His love, but there’s a lot we can do that pleases Him…even when we feel distant or as though He just isn’t there any more. Is it easier to act nicer when our parents are around, or when we think they are gone?
Can we relate to the Hebrews? In hindsight of another person’s situation we can always judge what should have been done. It seems so obvious after the fact. But, chances are we would’ve made the same mistakes. In fact, we are probably making the same mistakes now.
The Grace of our Father allows us the opportunity to get to know Him through His Son. But, it’s our faith that determines how far we go in that relationship and how much faith we have is determined by how much we give of ourselves. If we don’t believe He loves us enough to be involved in our lives, then we fail to realize what the sacrifice of His Son really meant.
There will be times when our faith seems weak, when the circumstances change and for whatever reason we seem to get off track. But, the only way for us to not fall victim to Satan erasing all we have learned is knowing and believing that God understands us, He loves us and He has the power to save us.