March 22, 2010
The Conviction of Things Not Seen
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).
Friend To Friend
When my son was five-years-old, we had a cassette tape called "Rappin' Rabbit's Christian Habits." On this tape, Rappin' Rabbit rapped Bible verses. It was a bit annoying, to tell you the truth, but I still remember those verses. One verse was Hebrews 11:1. Rappin' Rabbit jammed, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. That may be hard to say, but Hebrews 11:1 says it that way."
I just love the words "the conviction of things not seen,"(NASB), or as the NIV says, "certain of what we do not see." That's what faith is all about. Believing in our heart what we don't see with our eyes.
One day, God allowed Elisha and his servant to glimpse into "things not seen." In 2 Kings 6:16-17, Elisha's servant woke up one morning terrified because they were surrounded by a host of enemies on horseback. Elisha asked God to reassure the servant by allowing him to see into the invisible spiritual realm.
"Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Elisha and his servant saw the army of God surrounding them - ready to fight on their behalf. The Lord may never give us the opportunity to have that veil that separates the visible from the invisible lifted in the physical sense, but what we cannot see with our eyes is very real. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV). The unseen, the spiritual, is the greater reality.
Faith is not based on ignorance, but rather on what we know to be true about God. It means believing God, even though our eyes and emotions tell us differently.
We will never have all of our questions answered this side of heaven, but if we simply strengthen our faith by believing and acting on what little we do know, we'll be mountain moving, giant slaying women of beauty and strength.
The foundation of our faith is a clear understanding of who God is. This is not based on what He does, because we cannot understand His ways and many times we falsely interpret His actions. If we base our faith purely on what we see God do with our physical eyes, our journey will be a spiritual roller coaster of ups and downs, twists and turns, highs and lows. "As the heavens are higher than the earth," God said, "so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). Faith is believing that "Father knows best" no matter what.
Three boys who had faith in God based on who He was, regardless of what He might do, were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were Jewish administrators who served during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar. When they refused to worship the king's idols, but chose to honor the One True God instead, the King threatened to throw them in a blazing furnace. They replied:
O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:16-15.
The boys knew God could rescue them, but if He chose not to, they understood He had a higher purpose beyond what they could see. By the way, do you want to know how the story ends? The king tied up the boys with ropes and threw them in the furnace. Then he watched Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego dance around in the fire with a fourth man who looked like a "son of the gods." Jesus showed up. The King shut up. And the boys were released without even a hint of the scent of smoke.
I'm believing God today! How about you?
Dear God, there are circumstances going on in my life today and honestly, I don't see an end in sight. But I know that You know the beginning from the end and have everything under control. Whether I'm in the fiery furnace, the lion's den, or caught in the stormy sea, You are right there with me. I choose to walk by faith and not by sight.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
"The conviction of things not seen" seems a bit confusing. It seems like one of those Christian-ese phrases that are just hard to describe. But it is important. Go ahead. Give it a try. How would you explain that phrase to someone in a way that is easy to understand?
I'd like to hear your answers. Click on www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and share what you think it means with your other Girlfriends in God..
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