People of Promise 97 Like Flint
Living by faith seems such an easy thing. After all, if we have given our lives to God through the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross (Acts 4:11-12), and are truly His children (Rom. 8:17, Eph. 5:8), then we should be able to run into the throne room at any time (Heb. 4:16), and merely spout out what we need and automatically get it. Oh, if only it were that simple. True, if one honestly believed that this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him (1John 5:14-15).
Trouble is, we humans are subject to such doubt and misgivings, that we rarely (maybe, if ever) truly understand what John has said, and rarely (maybe, if ever) act on it. It couldn’t really be true, could it? Maybe this time, it won’t work. Maybe God didn’t hear me. Maybe God is silent to teach me a lesson (ugly, wrong thinking). Maybe God is “testing” my faith—this in and of itself is an admission of little or no faith.
No, living a pure life of faith is impossible for any human. Jesus did it, but we never will. However, we can get close, and that is what God wants from us. First, we can’t live a life of pure faith because we lived outside of faith before we became God’s children. Second, we will never live a life of pure faith because the stability of our faith (our absolute trust in God’s provision) increases as we get to know Him better. That’s because as we get to know Him better, we not only have more trust in Him but better understand what it is that He wants to do for us. One can never act outside of one’s knowledge. If you don’t know something, you can’t act on it. It’s just that simple, You have to know God’s Word in order to act in it.
So, Satan’s best bet to paralyze Christians is to keep them ignorant. Make them feel that building the old RSMMA (Read, Study, Meditate, Memorize, Act) is fun, perhaps, but not particularly useful, and really, honestly now, isn’t it just a waste if time when one could be watching TV, or reading the latest New York Times best seller, or doing 800 other things? After all, in this day and age, who really spends all that time fussing around with the Bible? And so, off we go, ignorant as a pack of fleas, and about as effective in dealing with the Evil One and all those under his cloying, kill/steal/destroy influence (John 10:10).
Becoming a Christian means that we have to know what it means to be a Christian, and we have to be prepared to do what is necessary to carry out all the requirements of a life lived for God. But again, that’s the rub. Well, it does take time out of my day to pray and read the Bible, after all, and I have to get on with life. My job just demands too much, I don’t have the time. I have a family to raise, after all. God will understand, after all, He knows what I need. These are all just excuses, and an excuse is just a lie wrapped in the figment of a reason. Either you do want to know God better, or you don’t. There are no other true reasons.
In Isaiah, we see the determination that Jesus showed: For the Lord God helps Me; therefore have I not been ashamed or confounded. Therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. He is near Who declares Me in the right. Who will contend with Me? Let us stand forth together! Who is My adversary? Let him come near to Me. Behold, the Lord God will help Me; who is he who will condemn Me? Behold, they all will wax old and be worn out as a garment; the moth will eat them up. Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God (Isa. 50:7-10).
Jesus set His face like flint. This means that he determined not to veer from the path that God set for him, regardless. And He ended up on the cross. But then, He ended up sitting at the right had of God Almighty and being the mediator of the New Covenant (1Tim. 2:5); the One to whom all look for salvation (Rom. 10:13)l.
Setting one’s face like flint is not easy. Easy to say, perhaps, but not easy to actually do. Not easy because as soon as Satan sees old flint face, he immediately starts his campaign to turn that flint into clay—moldable by every passing storm. If you really want to live in all the fullness that God intends, you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay. But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him (Heb. 10:36-38).
The last thing I want to hear from God is that He has no delight or pleasure in me. And yet, like others, my flint face, turned toward the Light of God, gets itself into trouble by looking over my shoulder into the darkness and getting softened a bit. Turning from softened clay to harden flint is a process of turning back to the Light and allowing Him to bake out all the softening agents of the Evil One and his domain. That’s why working on the old RSMMA, at a steady, constant pace is so important.