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11:21 AM   [11 Sep 2016 | Sunday]

Experience and Faith

 As long as someone puts his experience above the Word of God, he will fail to experience faith the way God intended.

If you believe your own experience supersedes Scripture, you will make His Word void in your life.  By contradicting what God has said, you call Him a liar.  If you’ve lived in the world any length of time, chances are you have experiences that negatively impacted your life.  They can skew your perception of reality, and in particular, God’s reality.  Of course, He has a remedy for those occurrences, but that’s another subject matter.  At some point in our walk, we all need to ask, “But what does God say?”  The more you believe what He says, the more you will experience a life of faith!

To what voices do you listen?  Keep in mind the ones you listen to the most, will have the most impact in your life.  Whose report will you believe?  There are many voices in the world vying for your attention.  You must decide which ones you will heed.  Discerning their source in important.  What spirit is behind it?  Jesus said His sheep hear His voice, and they will not follow a stranger (see John 10:1-18).  The spirit of antichrist is already in the world; in fact, it was present in the Apostle John’s day (see 1 John 2:18, 1 John 4:3).  Anything that opposes the Word of God is of that spirit.  That which causes doubt didn’t come from Jesus.  The first thing Satan attacked was His Word, and he never stopped attacking it (Genesis 3:1 “Did God really say . . .?”).  He will use your experiences against you, if you let him.

Obviously, new believers may not have a great deal of faith-experience to draw from; nonetheless, the foundation they lay right now is crucial.  To be clear, their conversion is experience enough to draw from to begin with; however, they need to build on the Solid Rock.  Those who spend little time with God and the Bible, severely limit Him in their life.  This is why some who have been Christians a long time are still immature.  If you do not take time to study your Bible, how are going to know what He has said?  If you’re not paying attention to what He’s saying to you, you will miss what God is trying to tell you.  Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Walking by faith will not work if you’re not listening.  Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“I’ve tried that faith thing, and it didn’t work for me!” 

Nowhere in Scripture are we exhorted to try faith.  It says, “The just will live by faith” (see Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).  That means it’s time to believe what God says; not what your experience tells you.  Until you heed the Word of God, your experience will keep lying to you.  Worse still, it will keep calling God a liar.  Hebrews 6:18 tells us it is impossible for God to lie.  Romans 3:3-4 For what? If some did not believe, will not their unbelief nullify the faith of God?  Let it not be! But let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, "That You might be justified in Your sayings, and will overcome when You are judged".

One reason people have a hard time with faith is that they’re new to the realm of the Kingdom.  It has a different set of rules of operation than the world.  It requires a different way of thinking.

Thoughts that we’ve grown up with often oppose the Word.  Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.  In this passage, God is actually inviting us to make His thoughts and ways, ours.  1 Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  It is clear that the thoughts and imaginations which come against the knowledge of God, need to be destroyed.  It is essential for our thoughts to be brought into the obedience of Christ.  Obedience means we believe Him, and intend to conform to His desires.  This is why it is important to renovate our minds, which is where the Bible comes into play.  By spending time with the Lord and His Word, He will change the way you think.  As you do, He will make you ready for His use.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  One important thing to remember is that being in Jesus Christ completely removes the things of the past, and gives you a new beginning; not a “do-over.”  That means your past cannot be used against you in relation to a faith-filled life.  You are now free to enjoy new experiences by walking righteously in Him.  Now when you ask, “What do you say, Lord,” you can expect an answer.  Whatever you may be dealing with, take it to Him and His Word.  If your opinion and experience contradicts what He says, believe Him and throw out the other two.  You decide whose report you will believe.

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