When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt and they crossed over the Red Sea, their faith was at an all-time high. They sang, danced and shouted the praises of God for revealing his mighty arm of deliverance. “The Lord is my strength and song … your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power … the Lord shall reign forever and ever” (Exodus 15:2, 6, 18).
But the Israelites soon forgot his works and turned away from his guidance. They reverted to doubt and unbelief, and the heavenly Father was incredulous. “Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?’” (Numbers 14:10-11). What a profound cry from the heart of God: “What do I have to do to find a people who will fully trust me?”
Just as in Moses’ day, God’s people today trudge blindly on in unbelief, seeming to believe that the grace of God exempts them from the penalties of sin. But the Word makes it clear that even followers of Christ can possess a heart capable of unbelief, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). It is not talking of degenerates here; it is talking to believers. “Brothers, beware, because you could have a heart of unbelief — in you!”
The Scriptures say, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (3:14). Some of God’s people today are losing the unwavering confidence they once had because of severe testing. Jesus warned of fiery trials of faith that would immediately precede his coming but do not fall back into fear and unbelief.
“Your faith [is] much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire” (1 Peter 1:7). Though you will go through trials do not allow your faith to be diminished by the fire. Instead, allow your faith to be purified. To be made holy. Endure the temporary hardship for an eternal blessing. The God you serve loves you and can be trusted to bring you through any test!
“In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Christians are growing further dissatisfied with the way things are in the world and in the church. These saints are saying, “God has something more for us! He is calling us to know him better and we want to walk in obedience to that call.” They are beginning to fast and pray in their quest for more spiritual depth.
When the Lord wants to touch you supernaturally, he will stir your nest. An inexplicable divine restlessness will come upon you and you will become disinterested in much of what you have been doing in life. All your accomplishments will leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled, and you will sense a deep, unmet need in your spirit.
The mark of this supernatural dealing is a hungry heart. Every waking hour your heart will reach out to him, and his thoughts will always be on your mind. God wants you to turn loose of the things of this world and find your completeness in him.
Is your soul hungry for more of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you sense his call to a deeper walk with God? If so, end the war inside your heart by yielding everything to the Master. You can know true peace and happiness the moment you quit striving to acquire greater success or more “things” to satisfy your ego. Seek nothing but Jesus, and your life will take on new meaning. Anxiety will be gone, worldly ambition will die, and your spiritual eyes will be opened to truth.
When the Holy Spirit gives you revelation knowledge, you will experience true riches in Christ Jesus. You will awaken each morning with overflowing joy and your soul will cry out, “I have found what my soul has been longing for. Rest — beautiful rest in my Lord.”
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
“For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:3-11).
The apostle Paul was writing to the Philippian church from a Roman prison. More than any other church, these believers had supported him in his ministry and they were very dear to him. Paul expressed his affection for them and his appreciation for their partnership. Also, he wanted to encourage them to keep their eyes on Jesus and trust God to complete the work he had begun in them.
Paul is a perfect example of one who goes through great suffering and keeps his faith in the power of God. Further down we read, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (4:13). Paul was sure of his own relationship with Jesus and knew that God would sustain him in his hours of greatest weakness.
Likewise, we have assurance that God sustains us when life seems unsustainable. That in our hours of greatest weakness we have a strength that is unmovable. We have a sincere hope—God is with us in our need.
When you walk through trials, be confident that God will sustain you. Furthermore, that he will complete in you one day the work begun in you. Keep your eyes on him.
God is not as interested in what we “do” for him as in our bearing spiritual fruit. And only his Spirit at work within us can produce the godly character he desires. Consider Paul’s prayer for the believers in Colossae: “We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
If only Christians were as concerned about their spiritual growth as they are about their physical growth! When Paul entreated the believers to “live a life worthy of the Lord,” he simply meant that they should grow in grace and bear fruit to the glory of God. Fruitfulness, in fact, is the only evidence that someone is a genuine Christian.
How can we tell we are growing spiritually? Scripture offers the only standard by which we can measure ourselves. Jesus declared, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Just as physical birth is a beginning point for physical growth, being born again is the beginning point for spiritual growth. We have the capacity to grow spiritually in much the same way that flowers, trees, and babies grow and develop. We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Further, we are exhorted to “crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
“God … makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:7). If we fail to display signs of spiritual growth, either something is terribly wrong with us or we never experienced life from God to begin with. “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree … they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:12, 14). The goal of this growth process is that we bear fruit.
The Holy Spirit will help you recognize areas where you need to grow spiritually if you will humble yourself and ask him for discernment.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34).
Enduring faith is the committing of all things into God’s hands. Enduring faith says to the Lord, “I cast every event, every care, into your hands. And I hold you to your promise to commit all that you are — all your omniscience and omnipotent strength — to preserve me.”
Whenever you face afflictions and persecution, Satan loves to whisper fears and lies: “How are you going to make it through this crisis? What will you do now? If God is faithful, how could he allow this to happen to you? How could he put your loved ones at risk this way? What will become of you, your family, your job, your ministry?”
Enduring faith rises up and answers the enemy’s lies: “Devil, you’re asking the wrong questions. The question for me right now is not how I’m going to make it; it is not what will become of me and mine. I have already placed everything that concerns me into my loving Father’s hands. I have trusted all future events to him because he has proved himself faithful time and again. He can be trusted!”
The question for believers is, “How can I love and serve my Lord better? How shall I serve others as myself?” You see, enduring faith declares, “I have no will of my own; rather, his will be done. No more personal agenda for me! No more playing God by trying to solve my own problems or those of others.”
With such faith, you will be ready for whatever the present hour brings and your heart will be established in your heavenly Father. May the Holy Spirit keep your mind stayed on the Lord and his promises!