Reviving our Faith

Spending Time alone with God

Exodus 33:7-11
Paul J. Bucknell

Note: 'Faith & Desperation' is the fourth of five sections that compose this one longer article on Reviving Our Faith through God's Word which summarizes the way we are to approach God's Word if we expect to meet God. The purpose of this larger series, Renewing Our Lives and Minstries Through God's Word, is to revive your spiritual life and ministry through improving the quality of your personal devotional times. (Click to see this series' full 3-day ADT schedule.)

Spiritual Struggles | Spiritual Needs | Exciting Times | Faith & Desperation | Exercises

Faith & Desperation

A Heart For God
What is it that we would say to a brother or sister that was seeking to recapture his first love for God? Or, if it was us, what would we do? We have mentioned a number of things but I would like to summarize what we have said up to this point.
The regular meeting place is important, of course, but something lies at the foundation of a true and effective quiet time with the Lord each day. The first is faith and the second a desperateness. We have spoken briefly about these, but we need to elaborate for clarity sake.
(1) Faith: I believe God will speak to me.
 We are often so focused on habits such as Bible reading that we are not rightly sensitive to God’s presence. As I said before, it is possible that we could actually read the Bible without faith. But in case, we miss the point, we want to elaborate on what it means to have faith in one’s Bible reading. We will have a few examples in a moment, but let me first highlight its meaning. I will use the example of Bible reading, but it is true with all spiritual disciplines and practices.
Faith is the approach we take. Faith is the belief that God will speak to me, that God can speak to me and wants to speak to me. When I open the Word of God, then, I am simultaneously opening my heart to the Lord for Him to teach me.  As I open the Bible, I consciously speak to the Lord welcoming Him to teach me. The Spirit of the Lord then begins to teach. This whole process is further elaborated in the section on Biblical meditation, but faith is the key element here.  
We need to consciously reject just reading or studying the Bible on our own. We instead must understand that God is coming close as we read His Word and wants to speak to us. What happens if I find myself just reading the Word and not having a conscious awareness of His presence? I repent. I confess the pride in my own life to think that reading His Word without Him could at all be done in a good or proficient way. I also confess my hardness of heart. I am just content to live my day without meeting the glorious God. Afterwards, I need to pray, usually out loud, something like this,
“Oh Lord, how dare I read your precious Word without depending upon you my Teacher. I am so prideful. I am so hardened to your glorious truth that I can just be another religious man. But I don’t want the religion which you disdain. I want you. I don’t want to master the Bible but to have the Spirit master me through the training of your Word. Lord, I want to meet You. I must meet You. I don’t just want me. The world needs You, not me. And now, Lord, please speak to me. Lord open my heart up to your great and mysterious Word. Speak, and let me pride be properly humbled. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
After this, I go back and start reading properly, that is, I ask and expect Him somehow to speak to me through that passage.
(2) Desperate: I need God to speak to me.
Faith speaks to my awareness and confidence of God’s being there ready to bless. But I find that this element of desperateness or urgency is also very important. It touches upon that belief that I can do no good apart from God. Jesus in John 15:5 said it this way, “For apart from Me you can do nothing.”
If this world really is a spiritual battle, we are ultimate fools to use our earthly weaponry like money and influence to fight and promote God’s kingdom. It is like building a house made out of a deck of cards. Just blow on it and it falls flat. Part of this conviction of our desperate need also comes from an awareness of how sinful we actually are. We are blessed that the authority of the flesh is cut off once we become a Christian, but Satan has a host of tricks to reengage our commitment to serving the flesh. This is what temptation is–the entry way into serving self. The only way to live against the flesh is to live or walk in the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:25).

Dynamic MeetingsWe need the Word of God to live within us each day so that we are conscious of His truths and so can discern the wiles of the devil. Thirdly, we need God to speak to us to comfort, encourage and guide us into His works. Again, we cannot do this on our own. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).

Humanism is the popular religion of the West right now that states that people can cope with things on their own (i.e. Without God). We must face our foe and our pride and step away from this wicked philosophy. We need God’s grace to get God’s work done.
There are many a time when I start reading God’s Word that I don’t feel like I need His Word. It is at this point I pray and cry out to God,
“Lord, forgive me for my pride. I don’t think I need You. I think I can get by this day without You and your grace. That is an outright lie. Set me free, O Lord. Set me free, O Lord. Please forgive me through the blood of the cross. I need your wisdom Lord. I need your protection, Lord. I need You, Lord. Come and help me. Speak to me. If you don’t speak, then I shouldn’t be here. But I am here and I need you to speak to me. In Christ’s Name I pray, Amen.”
We see that the faith that God can and will speak work right along with our need. We need God’s grace. Faith is the belief that He can lead and help me by His Word. We, of course, do not know what we need for each day. We need to trust the Lord for that. But we do know where to go for that truth. We go to Him in His Word in a regular and expectant manner. He will slowly begin to teach us and transform us into Christ’s image. > Next

Revive Your Faith | Deepening Our Reflections | Tracing Our Life's Journey | Pursuing Our God 

The Heart of Discipleship (Isaiah 50:4) | The Heart of Discipleship ( Isaiah 50:5-9)

Exodus: Overview Christ in Exodus 3 Whys in Exodus

Titus: Overview Pastoral Overview Called into His Service (Titus 1:1-4) Church Planting (Titus 1:5-9)

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

By Paul J. Bucknell

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