Beautiful Day

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fixing Our Gaze on Him

"And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live."
--Numbers 21:8-9 (ESV)

I have been thinking lately about the nature of faith. This past Sunday at our church the sermon was specifically about faith and how we are in the very place God intends for us to be when we walk with a belief that cannot always be verified by our senses. Thomas wanted to touch the wounds of Jesus before believing that he was truly resurrected. Yet he had to have some kind of belief to act upon it by placing his hands on the nail scars. In the above passage from Numbers 21, God made a remedy for the snake-bitten, hardened, complaining, and even dying Israelites. And all they had to do was LOOK at the bronze serpent. He made it that easy for them. Jesus Christ is our serpent, our suffering symbol. So many, many times what I truly need is only to fix my gaze upon Him. Yet how often do I turn to my own resources or devices and try to fix my own problems instead? How often do I really demand to have a faith that is verified by my senses in some way? What does it look like to have the kind of faith of the centurion in Luke 7:2, who believed Jesus could heal his servant sight unseen (or touch unfelt)? Jesus commended such faith, saying, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel!"

All of this fits very well with this summer's study of the book of 1 Peter:

"so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtainingthe outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:7-9 ESV)

I also saw John 3:16 with a new perspective. When we are believing, we are like those Israelites in Numbers 21--the snake-bitten and dying who LOOK UP. When we are believing, we are not condemned. This is a present-tense statement. I have always looked at John 3:16 as speaking only of future condemnation, salvation, and eternal life--and it is that! But I think it is so much more when you consider it in its context. I am not going to expound further at this point. This post is only intended to remind me and speak to you of a bit of what I have learned on the nature of faith.

For years I've heard the phrase from some of my favorite Bible teachers that we need to "preach the gospel to our self" on a daily basis. I think that is some of what this is about. How good the Father is to remind me in such varied and creative ways, yet all derived from His Word.

I don't think it is any coincidence that today's prayer on the "31 days of Prayer for Your Children" calendar was about faith. I do pray for a bold and living faith for each one of them. It is my hope that this sermon we heard has spoken to their hearts with yet another seed of the many facets of our Christian faith.

I couldn't help but recall a Michael Card song that really summarizes so much of what I learned. May you also experience a new "whole-ness" from fixing your gaze upon Christ today.

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