Yesterday I was reminded about the three men (the trinity) who came to Abraham, had a meal with him and encouraged him in his personal faith commission. It struck me that it is no different today. God comes disguised as persons He sends our way – who cross our path, and who encourage us in our faith walks. In other words, hearing them speaking words of wisdom and encouragement is God speaking as them, and this revelation or insight gives tremendous weight to their words. And it has to be this way since we so often are wrestling with doubt.
Not everyone who crosses our path is a positive. We will encounter our share of negatives who doubt us and who question our commission. But, they are also sent of God to test our faith, to test our commitment, to strengthen our faith, to press us into faith, and, not least, to press us into God. More than that; this opposition, as it were, will in the long run produce a wonderful fruit: we come to learn that it is God’s own faith we are exercising.
But, what is our part in a faith commission? We have been given a word, and we cannot help it; it wells up in us on a daily basis. This welling up is nothing less than the kind of hearing Jesus outlined in John 8. It is a faith hearing. Outside faith we think it is only ourselves, but faith sees this as a flow from Spirit to spirit. A spontaneous thing in other words. It is not like that we have to strain our ears to hear what God has to say to us. He is much greater than that. He will get His point across and it will be totally natural. Okay, so what is our part?
In several instances Jesus said: “Only believe.” He didn’t say: “Believe and do your part” or “Believe and make some faith action”. Our basic modus operandi is one of fixing stuff. We are so used to taking “responsibility” and to handling things ourselves, that Jesus’ words: “Only believe,” seems, well, too simple. But, there we have it in plain simplicity: Only believe.
But, of course, like Abraham we feel we have to aid God. So we create some Ishmaels, but they are a part of the learning curve. No need to take any condemnation for those. They are necessary negatives to press us into the positive which works by God’s abilities and His ways, which we surprisingly find are our ways since there is no separation of wills between us and God. That we are giving up our way is merely an illusion, because there is only one will and one way and we are walking it every day.
We notice that God didn’t rebuke Abraham for his Ishmael, and neither does He rebuke any of us for ours. He knows only one thing about His sons: This is my son in whom I am well pleased.
We are now going to have a closer look at what I call the circle. In our first great faith commission given us by God we often start out by saying that we have spoken OUR word. However, this idea has to die. Again, a death is involved in this process until we say we have spoken HIS word. Through this we get a feeling of losing ourselves, and we certainly come to know our nothingness by it.
At this point we are only halfway through the circle. What comes next is a most glorious thing. It is the emerging of the son who has taken possession of his inheritance. It is the one in whom Christ is fully formed. He says: I have spoken my word, and it is done. The I returns. But, it is a knowing I. It is an I that see no separation. When it hears itself speak it hears God speaking. God has totally filled the vacuum the nothingness created in the person. When Abraham came to this point of knowing He said: “I and the lad will return!”
Allow me a small digression: There is no future tense in the Hebrew language. Thus I believe Abraham said: “The lad and I are returned.” The thing is done!
Faith is a indeed a choice. It is a commitment to something. It is a joining of hands with God in something that is far bigger than us. And this commitment is so serious that we say the thing has happened even though we see no results in the visible. In a sense it is a contract between us and God, and God cannot lie.