The Rock of our Faith


devil-angelFor the past month or so I’ve been experiencing what I now believe to have been a spiritual battle. I also think it may have been necessary preparation, training camp if you will, that God allowed for a purpose.

Throughout my Christian life I haven’t been a person who has wavered in faith, or suffered real periods of doubt, thank the Lord. I think I’m one of those people who have the blessing of being naive and childlike in faith, and prepared to take things at face value.

Over the years I have asked God for things that my mind afterwards would argue are impossible – yet, God answered my prayers. He loves the childlike faith that moves mountains.

Jesus even said that without the faith of a child we could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

jesus-and-children

So it was with dismay, guilt and shame that I experienced mental misgivings when I read the gospels. This didn’t come from me, the real me that believes and loves God, but it sure FELT like me.

Evil Whispers

I had a detestable other conversation going on, alongside my normal thought-pattern, that questioned the words I was reading, even though I believed them.

That other conversation would put thoughts into my mind that sometimes made me gasp! It (he?) would say that Jesus was being unreasonable, asking too much, letting people down after promising them things – and I would respond by being shocked, apologising for even having a mind that could entertain such thoughts.

I remonstrated with myself, “are you actually implying that Jesus is a liar??” and it shocked and dismayed me deeply that I could even think it.

But where was the source of these thoughts? Was it my flesh (in which case I felt ashamed) or was the devil feeding me with doubts (in which case I was angry.)

This I knew, it wasn’t my spirit. In my reborn spirit I angrily and absolutely denied and rejected the thoughts. I didn’t BELIEVE what was said – nonetheless, as it kept happening it alarmed me.

What part of me could be so unfaithful?

Doubts Emerging

There were times I was almost persuaded that my faith was a sham, that it was indeed my true self questioning the bible. Horror! Had I been kidding myself up to now, just sailing along saying that I believed and trusted God without being honest with myself? Were these thoughts an accurate indication of my OWN doubts?

The question arose – is THIS what I’m really like?

But at the same time, it did feel like a kind of alien commentary, and – perhaps reluctant to believe it could be from my own flesh – I saw it as a demonic taunting. Anything that could suggest Jesus was wrong, or less than perfect, couldn’t be from me but sounded like the mockery of the devil.

So for a long while I experienced this when I read the bible (but not in prayer, interestingly!) and dealt with it by contradicting it out loud, and reaffirming my faith.

Victory

Two days ago it came to a head. Then the tide turned, praise God.

As yet another suggestion came that what I read of the words of Jesus was somehow unreliable (it sounds crazy, but somehow a doubt was suggested that was terrifying) I finally got mad enough to take definitive action.

This was a battle of FAITH against FEELINGS, thoughts, impressions. The world and its thinking was set against the TRUTH of the word of God.

selfdenial2Can I trust my own perception? NO. Can I rely on what I have been taught and learned? NO. I may be wrong about any number of things, but God is never wrong.

Can I depend on my own ability to believe, or what I have believed up to now? NO. I am fallible, weak and imperfect, and only God is perfect and unshakeable.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

So out loud, in a very strong way, I told God and anything else that was listening that I DID have faith in God’s absolute perfection and promises NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn’t take answered prayer, experiences, results, evidence or circumstances to prove the truth of God, it takes faith, and faith is a DECISION not a feeling.

So I told God that I commit to him without reservation. I believe he is perfect, all-powerful, infallible and full of wisdom and that everything Jesus said was true and reliable. It doesn’t matter if I like his words or not, nor if I fully understand them. It’s not up for question. I WILL put my faith and trust in him!

It doesn’t matter what I think about it, the FACT is that God is God and his word is true. Either with or without physical proof, it is true. And I will put my flag in the ground and stand on that fact, no matter what.

Faith Without Evidence

I remembered that Job said “though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15) and the three in the furnace said “God will save us, but even if he does not, we won’t serve other gods.” (Dan 3:17-18) Many in the bible trusted God despite the evidence, not because of it! (Abraham and Isaac on the mountain of sacrifice, for example.)

Despite thoughts, suggestions, or even a whole world full of contradictions and supposed evidence to the contrary, I declared God and his word to be the one unmovable thing that can always be trusted.

What changed?

It took me a little while to notice that I now had inner peace, and could read the bible as before, with full confidence and joy, trusting God absolutely. The distracting and disgusting commentary had gone!! Praise the Lord.

The reason I’m sharing this, is because I feel it may have been a kind of trial run for a much bigger battle in the future, one where our trust in God will be shaken to the core.

shipinstorm

All those who are shaky and have no firm foundation will find themselves “tossed to and fro” and perhaps doubting the way they have believed up to now.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

All those who have made their foundation other than God’s word, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and by the leading of God, will suffer loss.

On Whom do You Depend?

Will church leaders and teachers save you from this testing? No. If you have heard the word but not let it into your life to transform you, then you have no defense against the infiltration of a stronger word.

Similarly, if all your beliefs are the result of following man, then when a stronger man comes, with a more strident and compelling message, what is to stop you following that teaching instead?

Experiences and Feelings May Lie

Even worse off are the thousands who have already based their beliefs on their feelings and experiences. Even though they may have faith in the true God for now, what is to prevent them being overthrown by deeper and more overpowering feelings in due course?

We must be anchored to the ROCK, who is Jesus Christ, not man, nor the Church, nor anything nor anyone in the world.

bible-light

Neither sin, the world, nor alternative beliefs should turn us away from the rock-solid truth. If we leave the rock and drift around in the sea without an anchor, it will inevitably lead to a shipwreck. Why else did Jesus warn that in the last days “the love of many will grow cold”? (Matthew 24:12)

If this trial comes to you, I urge you to abandon all mere HUMAN support, even that which comes from your own reasoning or feelings. There is only one ROCK that never moves while everything else shakes and is tested, and that is the absolute dependency of God and his word. Make that your only foundation.

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13 thoughts on “The Rock of our Faith

  1. I also have been going through a very similar battle, so thank you for sharing Tricia. 14 years ago I left my church I had been part of for over 20 years. It all happened very quickly, when I felt God just spoke to me and said I was to leave my church. I struggled for weeks with this and then took a leap of faith and left, very sadly. I left behind many brothers and sisters in Christ and a loving fellowship. This was my greatest difficulty at the time “why would God bring me out of a loving and bible based church?” I still find this a very difficult question and confess to having periods of deep doubt as to whether I have been decieved but in my spirit I have felt this is the right road to walk. During all of this time I have not met any other committed Christian in the same position, apart from those sharing on-line. Acute loneliness has been one of my biggest battles as my husband and children are all unbelievers, but the Lord has strengthened me greatly over the years and he has kept me close to himself. I would love to hear and be encouraged by another other believers who are living the isolated christian life still. God bless you all.

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    • Gillian, you are not alone in this. Many of us are in this same situation and are sustained by the encouragement, articles, and prayers of our Christian internet family. Please know that you are in my prayers. ❤

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    • Would you mind if I asked…have you never seen a more concrete reason God told you to leave? Sin in the leadership, sin in the congregation, any false doctrine, or perhaps avoiding conflict with your unbelieving husband? Only asking because this is so unusual and I’d be having a hard time, too, if I were you. We all know the scriptures teach that we should be bound together with other believers, and although I’ve seen other cases where God led someone apart for a while, for a specific reason, 14 years is an awfully long time!

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  2. I can so identity with you Tricia – my ‘attacks’ have come through feelings of self – pity and crushing loneliness at times, plus fearful thoughts and not being able to fully put my trust in the Lord when I know in my heart that He sees every sparrow and all things are working for my good. Now it’s dawning on me that these are indeed attacks from the enemy of my soul, for I belong to the Lord and I am a new creation. I must put on the armour that He has supplied – I don’t need to live in this stressful anxiety. I think as we get older in years it takes that little bit more effort to excercise our faith …. I remind myself that I have joy in believing and hope in God ! I will trust and not be afraid ….

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  3. Thanks for your transparent sharing! I have experienced similar confusion over the years … but, like you, have realized the Lord is not the author of confusion, and the enemy is at work. I do believe there is a Remnant, who desires to please and serve God at any cost. And, we can be assured, there will be a heavy cost! This past year has held serious health challenges for me. . I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in late March – had extensive surgery in May. I had a rare tumor “papillary serous cell.” The surgery, amazingly revealed the tumor was contained in the uterine wall and HAD NOT metastisized! This tumor type is deadly and aggressive and the surgeon told me that she had never seen one that had not spread. My research, thru Cleveland Clinic and MD Anderson indicated the same thing. Those who had the tumor that spread indicated less than 7% survival rate! Because of the tumor type being a grade 3, but no metastasis, I only had to have 3 precautionary radiation treatments. Hundreds were praying for me, and we know God intervened! The radiation was wrapped up in August and two weeks after the last treatment I had a bad fall, face first, on concrete, resulting in whip lash, two broken elbows, severe injury to front teeth and a badly sprained ankle! It was one of those “Why Lord?” experiences! I am now nearly fully recovered from the fall. Durung this season, I prayed, studied the Word and journaled, when able, often. The lord revealed some, but not all, of the reasons “Why?” Currently, part of the outcome is a deeper compassion for those who are suffering, and a deeper resolve to focus on the eternal rather than the temporary. That resolve includes spending much more time me in His presence, rather than a very “works” oriented lifestyle! I’ve been an Adult Bible teacher in the church for over 30 years and more. I’ve also been an active defender of the faith, particularly in the last 15 years. Although I may continue, to a lesser degree in these ministries, my major focus will be communion with the Lord. I truly believe prayer and communion with the Lord is the mainstay that will keep us in these turbulent last days.

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  4. This is satan in the guise of the serpent (Seducer)… I believe he comes to me as the dragon. Both are very hard to combat, and that is my focus in study right now. ENOUGH! Prayers for your Peace. Keep up the good fight. God Bless, km

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  5. Thank you for sharing Tricia. I, too, have experienced this, and still do at times. This is a reminder that we need to hear often as these trials come our way. A couple of points that you made really resonated with me.

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  6. Thank you Tricia for sharing. I understand the confidence and peace you feel because it dwells with me also BUT there are times when it all comes down to either yes or no. Sometimes it’s the silence that picks away at me, actually most times it is the silence. I rest in His Word. It balances it out. Years ago I complained to God about Him being distant. For a week thereafter it felt like He had really turned away. I never want to have that feeling again. So for me there is a difference between God feeling distant and God really being distant. Thankfully His indwelling presence returned. I’m pretty sure He was teaching me a lesson. This is the Scripture that ties me to Him. John 6:60-67 (ESV) When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offence at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Thank you again. Blessings.

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  7. Tricia;
    Thanks for your openness and honesty here. I have had a very similar experience, although not in study of the Word, but in prayer. Almost a snotty ‘well here I am right in your face God!’ type of thing. At times with curse words even! The first few times this happened I was so embarrassed I retreated from prayer, and did some fervent soul searching. Asking why I would have such rebellious (or perverse) thoughts (feelings?) toward my Father? Am I backslid?

    The LORD gave me insight to recognize this as oppression, and to pray against it. Now when something similar happens I pray, “LORD. let a blasphemous spirit be far from me in Jesus name.” or “LORD let an unclean spirit be far from me in Jesus name”. And then I speak to the spirit, not in a railing accusation, but with the words, “The LORD rebuke thee Satan!”. I just cast it down with out any condemnation, like i would any other vain imagination. This type of attack has lost its power to oppress me. Praise the LORD!

    As far as the warfare against your confidence in the Word of God, I think we can agree that any thing spoken which could be summed up in the phrase, “Yea, hath God said?” would never be the voice of a friend or fellow-servant. We know who have been vomiting out that puke for six millennia!

    Blessings;
    Paul Benson
    http://www.pbenson.me

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  8. Very inspiring, Tricia. I think my faith holds better than my enthusiasm when finding myself alone these days. I believed Catholics and then Pentecostals, and then Baptists and, after a while, it is just the Bible really which seems really to be the truth of God. But then we’re alone and it’s so much easier to be keen, to care, and to put all of ourselves into it when there are others beside us. We will be very alone I think in coming days. I find that discouraging.

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  9. Thank you, Tricia, for sharing this so openly. I understand this kind of attack well, in that I experience a “mocking” reaction to the Word at times. May the Lord allow whatever is necessary to teach us to recognize these attacks for what they are, and to strengthen us in Him. I’ve noticed that God’s not training many wimps these days, but rather, toughening up His faithful! Many testimonies are not shared for fear of being seen as weak. Thank you for sharing this for the sake of others. You are an inspiration.

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