By J. Wiley Adams
. I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). “. and this the victory that overcometh the world,, even our faith” (1 Jn. 5:4).
Numerous were the times during the earthly ministry of Jesus when he called attention to outstanding faith in the lives of specific individuals. It is also true that he focused on cases of little faith, even among his closest disciples.
How important is Faith? We cannot please God without it (Heb. 11:6). It is predicated upon the word of God (Rom. 10:17). The just shall “walk by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7). This is to say that in order to please God we must trust him and do his will. This is faith in action. This is Bible faith.
Although Christians know all of this, still we are plagued in Christ’s church in that we are lacking in proper faith. We either have a lack of faith, our faith is small, or our faith is weak. Why is this so? It may be that the flesh is weak while the spirit is willing. It may be that we do not under-stand what it means to really turn ourselves over to God and truly trust him. It may be we allow fears and anxieties to over-rule the scene. It may mean that we need to study more in the Scriptures. Perhaps it means that we have not exercised our faith. It could mean any or all of this. Just what is our own problem on this score?
Why are ye fearful? Jesus asked his disciples this question on one occasion and then accused them of having “little faith” (Matt. 8:26). The word “fearful” as it is used at this place means “cowardly” or “timid.” It is not so much that we often tremble, as did they, but what we let fear and trembling do to us. It is what we do in spite of the fear that makes the difference.
Jesus, in anticipation of his impending suffering on the cross, was in agony of spirit and sweated profusely as he thought about it. However, he resigned himself to what must be and prayed more fervently (Lk. 22:4). In spite of his sorrow, his heaviness of spirit, his agony of soul, Jesus over-came. He left it in the hands of the Father. “Thy will be done,” he said.
We need to let our faith be stronger than our fears. Jesus did that. Surely, this should serve as an example to us. It demonstrates the power of faith. Preachers and elders and all of us are sometimes faced with weighty matters, decisions, and problems. The making of these decisions and the solving of these problems in favor of God’s truth could bring down the wrath of evil men upon us. It could arouse op-position from false brethren. The very thought of it all might make us quake all over, that is, if we just dwell on it and brood. We might need, as Jesus, to pray all night. The more intense the agony, the more intense and fervent the prayers must be. As Jesus emerged from the garden, his all night prayer vigil had calmed his spirit. Christ had put it into the hands of the Father. Now he was ready for whatever would happen.
Likewise, as we agonize with fears, anxieties, problems, nameless dreads, persecuting powers (both in and out of the church), sorrow, sickness, and many other matters that trouble us, we need to pray the more fervently and that very often. We, too, can emerge from our prayer closet with a calm spirit, resigned to whatever is to take place, fortified with that inner strength which can only come from really trusting in God and turning our problems over to him. Jesus did this. It sustained our Savior during one of the most trying moments of history.
Dear brother or sister in Christ, it will sustain you, too!
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 9, p. 20
May 6, 1993