Faith- Learning to live in the Question - David Mitts
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)
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Faith is the inner conversation of our heart that frames our world. Mostly we think of the conversation as an interaction between ourselves and the voice or voices that direct our lives. We think and act on that thinking. In this way, who we are, is expressed in our actions which reflect our thinking. The term we use to express this dynamic is character. Our character is the outward manifestation of the inward impressions in our hearts that are “who” we are. We are defined in very real terms by who we are in terms of what we do.
For example, a “good husband” does certain actions that arise out certain thoughts which are the inner conversation of the heart and reflect what is that individual’s faith. We don’t often call that “faith” because we associate faith with church. Faith, however, is bigger than church. It is human. All humans operate by an inner conversation, which is their faith programming.
For our purposes, in the equipping of ourselves for spiritual breakthroughs that live as new realities in and through our lives, we want to activate the conversation of faith in our hearts with purposeful intent. Our goal in this process is to become free to live in harmony with our design exploring the majesty of the adventure of life and embracing the goodness of God as expressed in our unique creation. No two of us are the same and God is big enough for that uniqueness. By contrast, religion tries to make us conform to standards that are by declaration as creeds or codes, the common denominators of our religious communities.
How do we engage in our uniqueness? By the ministry of the Holy Spirit which indwells us as the words of God made flesh. Paul coaches us in this reality in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2Co 3:17-18)
When the Spirit of the Lord is Lord or being yielded to, there is liberty. This is such a radical verse. Most people believe and live just the opposite. They unconsciously believe that surrender to God means the loss of liberty.
What underpins these fears is the image of God as a boss. If God is in charge we reason, then I will have to do what He says, which will somehow spoil my fun. All of this is based in a view of God as the giver of commands and us as either the obedient servants of the disobedient ones.
Nowhere in this understanding and the resulting faith, is the experience of God as love. God is not interested in running our lives. He is a passionate lover who seeks above all else to honor the beauty that He sees us as. Love honors and celebrates the uniqueness of another. Fear seeks to erase hat uniqueness and bring another into conformity.
God began the universe with a love conversation that we call the “word”. The Apostle John recounts this in the gospel narrative bearing his name, John 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. (John 1:1-4)
Let me read this to you out of another translation called the Passion Bible:
In the very beginning the Living Expression was already there. And the Living Expression was with God, yet fully God. They were together—face-to-face, in the very beginning. And through his creative inspiration this Living Expression made all things, for nothing has existence apart from him! Life came into being because of him, for his life is light for all humanity. (Joh 1:1-4)TPT
I’m not super crazy about the choice of the term “the Living Expression” but it is better than the “word”. Yet what is really going on is a conversation. Not just any conversation but a love conversation. Anyone who has had a love talk knows that a good love talk is less about speaking than about listening. Not just any listening though. A love talk involves a listening whose objective is to discover who the other is. We discover one another in love by questions and answers. Love brings trust and transparency to the interaction.
Imagine for a moment, with me, the beginning of creation. The purpose is to bring forth an outer reality into existence that reveals true love. How do you express true love? The first condition would be vulnerability and trust. The Father is about to bring it forth. What does He do? He opens His heart and shares His intimate expectations and what He hopes will show who He truly is. BUT, who can He share that with? The Son, who is the embodiment of what is shared.
What does He say first? Light and goodness. So, the Son who is the conversation manifested as well as the listener becomes light and goodness. He becomes as John shares the light, the order, the goodness. At that moment a standard was set for all of creation. The standard would be key because existing as well was darkness, what we spoke of earlier, “tohu v’bohu”, what is translated as emptiness and void. This is the chaos and devastation that is another voice. This is the voice of insanity that seeks to draw us to our destruction. This voice is also called darkness. It stands in opposition to light and love and order and goodness. It is also known by the name iniquity and lawlessness.
The Voice of the Lord speaks to dispel this by bringing light. John describes this in the next verse, John 1:5:
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (Joh 1:5)NASB.
This is the heart of the Gospel. When we decide to follow Yeshua, we consciously choose to walk out of our own personal darkness into the light. Today I want to look at how to increase that process in our lives through our approach to the conversation, primarily by living in the question.
Let’s look at an interaction we spoke of earlier, between Yeshua and His disciples over the issue of His identity in their lives.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He *said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. (Mat 16:13-20)
This is the central question of the gospel, who is Yeshua? The questions He asks reveal the conversations in people’s hearts about Him. First, as we have mentioned, He wants to know what society is saying, what is the collective listening in hearts about Him. Then He turns his questions to the disciples. God will always want to know both, what does the culture say and what do we say?
Peter answers with the golden key, the Son of God, Messiah. Then Yeshua makes a bold and important statement which demonstrates that Light has entered the darkness and brought forth illumination.
First, He declares blessing. Blessing has always been the original condition of man.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Gen 1:27-28)
God never removed the condition of being blessed. Blessing is inherent in man. It is activated by listening to the Voice. Yeshua declares Peter blessed not as an act but as recognition, that Peter has heard correctly from the Voice in the inner conversation. His Voice will always bring blessing to our lives because blessing has already been spoken. We just learn how to activate our listening to the Voice.
The second part of Yeshua’s recognition is the Source of the answer. My Father has revealed it. The Voice of Truth revealed the most important reality in existence that Yeshua is the Voice made flesh, the expressed conversation of God, what we call Messiah and Lord.
Now, the question I want to ask you is why is He is asking this?
Remember before you answer the question of God to Adam, “where are you?”. Why did He ask that? Was Adam lost to God? No. He knew already where Adam was. What He wanted to expose or bring from darkness to light was hiding itself. So, He asked a question which exposed the thinking, the inner conversation of fear, shame and hiding.
So, why was He asking the disciples who He was? I am going to suggest He did this to teach them to ask. Yeshua always did something first and then explained it. He asks the questions to get their hearts asking the questions. When we open by asking questions we can hear. Questions precede listening.
Go back to our love conversation. How do we show someone we love them? We take an interest in what is important to them and we listen with our heart seeking to see things from their perspective. As we do this, we draw closer and trust is built.
Yeshua is demonstrating a trust-building exercise by asking the most important question of our hearts, who do we say that He is? He is, in turn, teaching us to live in that question. It isn’t the answer that matters much as the question that we live in. When we live in the question of who he is to us, he continually reveals Himself. In that interaction, His revelation of Himself expands our inner conversation, since we are created in His image and likeness. It is truly the case that we are in transformation as we live in the question. One last scripture:
For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; (2Co 4:5-7)
When we the One who spoke Light, Order, Goodness gives us knowledge of who He is, what the Bible calls His Glory, in the face or the revealed countenance of Jesus, we are transformed in that process, from glory to glory. This transformative power then transforms our earthen vessel.
The access portal is the question: Who do you say He is? And Then Sh’ma, listen…..
Activation: Ask in prayer, Who are You Lord and who am I to you? Listen and allow what He says to be the keys to the kingdom.