It was not unusual for Jewish religious leaders to rehearse their covenant history with God in writing, or verbally in worship. The fickle loyalty of the human heart had loved and loathed with equal vigor again and again throughout the whole of their relationship with God. Typical of this ever changing relationship, the psalmist records this:
Thus he brought them to the border of his holy land,
to the hill country his right hand hand had taken.
He drove out nations before them and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance;
he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.
But they put God to the test and rebelled against the most high;
they did not keep his statutes.
Like their father they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow. (Ps 78:54-56)
Christians often wish aloud to be restored to an age of signs and wonders, claiming that their faith would be impenetrable to doubt if they could just see a single miracle. Saving the miracle of changed lives that surround them for a later discussion, we need only read this psalm or the Old Testament to know that this is bunk. The human heart is, above all else, dedicated to self.
The Christian will say aloud that ‘their heart belongs to Jesus’ but in practice, they are fully aware of the parts they hold back for themselves. We put our faith in God who is unseen and the corruption of our heart is such that we continue to harbor doubt about whether or not He might come through for us. We read our bibles and see that time after time, God has been perfectly faithful and yet we wonder if this is the day when He will not. We wander in a desert of our own making.
There is no such thing as a part-time Christian. Christ lives in us but did not displace us. Paul’s words to the Galatian church remind us “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:20) The struggle is internal but must ultimately end in our surrender of the parts of our hearts that we insist on keeping to ourselves. The signs and wonders we seek are inside of us and ready to be displayed only at our own humility. Problem with anger that you want to disappear? Bend the knee and turn it over to Christ in you and see it reworked. Unable to control some personality aspect? Give it to Christ in you and see it changed. Allow the Holy Ghost to completely overtake your heart and the signs and wonders will be before you constantly. Belief will grow to the benefit of all.
Grace and peace to you.
image by kmakice