Ok, I’m going to push you a little today… But hear me out before you form an opinion.
The devil has deceived some people into believing that “working” your faith is just that… work. And this kind of thinking opens the door to the enemy for condemnation and frustration when what they’re believing for isn’t coming to pass. So the second problem here is they resign themselves to the idea that because God is sovereign, therefore anything that happens (good or bad) must be God’s will.
Let me start with sovereignty. By definition, it describes supreme power or authority. The word sovereign isn’t found in most translations. Instead, it is simply the understanding that God alone has all power and authority. For example, Lamentations says, “And yet God, you’re sovereign still, your throne intact and eternal” (5:19, MSG). This perfectly describes God’s sovereignty in the sense that He is not going anywhere and His throne cannot be toppled. But remember Jesus said there is a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). So why would we assume tragedies are of God when Jesus clearly told us who’s behind these things?
God’s sovereignty has nothing to do with the strategies, tactics, and assaults of His enemy. Where His sovereignty lies is in His Word. He said, “For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, SO SHALL MY WORD BE that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall proposer in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11). This is God’s perfect sovereignty– what He said, He will do.
So how does this apply to our faith?
Let’s use Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego as an example. In Daniel, Chapter Three, King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with them for not worshipping him, so he decreed they would be thrown into the fire. And in his audacity, he said, “And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Sounds just like the way the devil talks to me when I’m standing on God’s Word). But the three of them answered with fervent faith:
- Don’t waste your time conversing with the enemy. “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.”
- You must believe God is able. At this point, it only matters what you believe about God. Do you believe He is able? “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…”
- You must dig down deep into your belief system and decide if you believe God can (and will) answer your prayers– not “Well, maybe…” or “We’ll see…” but knowing His Word and holding Him to it–believing His Word isn’t a lie and if He said it, He’ll do it. “…and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.”
- Lastly, be fervent. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego sealed their faith by telling their enemy that even if, for whatever reason they couldn’t see, God didn’t deliver them, it wouldn’t change their faith. “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
In other words, believe to the end–at all cost. This is the kind of faith that produces miracles and displays our awesome God to an unbelieving world. In fact, in the front of all my Bibles I have this reminder: The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.
For this is my fervent faith.