There can be as many perceptions about us as there are observers. What do people think of me? What does my spouse think of me? How do I view myself? But the most important perspective is how does God view me? That can be a loaded question; Why, you may ask? The fact is that if we do not separate feelings and emotions from fact, or God’s perspective from our own, we can end up thinking incorrectly. For instance, thinking that I will never be good enough; or alternatively, that I am doing pretty good in this Christian walk. Sure, we may not spend much time on that question, but in reality, we all think about it to a certain degree.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith …” (2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV). If I am not examining my faith daily, I might be self-deceived, thinking that I am connected to Christ, when in fact I am not. Not acting by faith on the Bible can bring about self-deception. James says that if we do not act by faith on the word (promises), then self-deception will occur (James 1:22). However, our faith not only needs to be tested, but should be strong in what we believe. If our faith “waivers” (like Thomas’ did), we have become double-minded and have become unstable in everything we do (James 1:8). Therefore, we must step out in faith and act on the word of truth, all the while being tested by those great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) made to and for us — and then we will know if we are in the faith.
Daily, we are tested on our faith in many ways; however, we can become victims to our own nature and come to wrong conclusions. For instance by thinking: “Oh that was a coincidence;” or “I do not have time for that person or this thing;” or “I know that I should do this or that, but God still loves me.” There are thousands of circumstances upon which God tests our faith, but most frequently, our own selfish hearts deceive us thereabout. Radical times are coming, and if our faith is not equally radical to meet the test, then we will be self-deceived, and our hearts will accommodate any rationalization to conclude that there may be an easier way out. Count the cost is what Jesus said (Luke 14:25-35). The good news is that:
"If we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us."1
Call to Action
In reality, to have true radical faith is to have Jesus’ faith (Habakkuk 2:4). As a matter of fact, the only One who can survive the future test is Christ. Therefore, when we daily put on Christ’s victorious life, it is God alone that gets the credit and not us. So Paul tells us that by grace are we saved through faith; and it is not of our own: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Boasting is gone, because Christ is in us. We still make decisions with our own will, and therefore retain a personal element of choice. But only a sanctified will can work what God desires in our lives: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV). And if we allow our minds to think on Jesus (Philippians 2:5) and on godly things (Philippians 4:8), God’s will shall be done on earth (even in me), as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). After all, the Great Controversy is not all about us, but about God clearing His name and reputation. Allowing God to accomplish His purposes in us, and for us to share in His sufferings, may truly be said to be the highest privilege that can be granted to any created being.2
God’s blessings to you!
- Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 668.
- Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 224.