Last Lord’s Day we explored at our service what we see. Do we see things, people, the church as God sees them? We might see only scattered very dry bones without hope, and yet God sees there a Vast Army!
If you missed the service, I would love you to read prayerfully Ezekiel 37:1-10, and engage in the exercise here, please, befeor4 you would read on this post! Thank you. When you are done with the reading –perhaps you want to read it a few times, I often need to do that and find it helpful, myself– spend time to answer the following questions for your own personal benefit:
- What do you see when you have an honest look at your church and community?
- Do you need to be revived personally in order to have faith for the future?
- Do you believe in God’s sovereignty and the power of His Word and Holy Spirit to revive a person, a church, a nation?
- What ‘dry bones’ situations are in your life (church, community) where God’s life-giving Word needs to be prophesied into? Are you willing to do that?
- Are you open to God’s calling and commissioning you to play your part in His Vast Army?
Thank you for engaging in the above exercise. Here is the reason I asked you to do this:
- Did you find it easy to see things differently – to see things from God’s perspective?
Perhaps you did not. There is nothing wrong there. I doubt Ezekiel found it easy and natural to see a vast army instead of a valley of scattered dry bones!
This is the million-dollar question:What kind of ‘spectacles’ do I need to see things as God sees them?
Or to put it differently, what kind of vision do I need to have to see the world, people, the church as God sees them? The prescription for those special spectacles are to be found in the Bible.
In the story of ‘The Rising of Lazarus’ (John 11:1-44) Jesus makes a profound and encouraging statement: “‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’”
In this passage we find eight (!) examples for what it means to believe! The Bible does not give us an encyclopaedic definition of what BELIEVING means. Rather it reveals the dynamics of a believing life!
“To believe means that we do not expect anything from God that He did not promise us. But we are looking forward with great belief to everything He has promised us!” – Kálmán Cseri –
I love the description of Kálmán Cseri (a Hungarian pastor, who is in glory already): “To believe means that we do not expect anything from God that He did not promise us. But we are looking forward with great belief to everything He has promised us!” The Lord did not promise that we will not meet suffering in life, so I am not disappointed when it comes my way. But God has promised that the believer will remain in God’s presence even in the most adverse circumstances. He will not leave him/her or forsake him/her! (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)
To believe means that whatever happens to me I turn to Jesus first. When Lazarus got ill, his sisters sent for Jesus straight away: “Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:3). Mary and Martha did not appeal to their or to Lazarus’ merits, but to Jesus’ love and completely entrusted into His grace and love the timing and the method of help!
To believe means I take seriously and accept what Jesus said – even if I find it hard to comprehend it with my mind, or it is not supported by my personal experiences so far.
Believing is an attitude, it is the basis of the life I live, the foundation of the things I do, the structure of the things I say. The one who believes sees things differently to those who don’t believe. Many of the people who were with Mary and Martha criticised Jesus, saying: “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37). But Martha and Mary do what Jesus told them to do, even moving the stone from the tomb. The request does not seem to make much sense, as Lazarus has been dead for days, the decomposition of the body has begun and the smell must have been pretty bad (John 11:39-41), but they did it, nevertheless. They perceived it only afterwards why Jesus asked them to move the stone!
Believing means I stick with Jesus (I follow Him, obey Him, confess Him) even if I get into trouble because of this. The raised Lazarus became a living and walking testimony of Jesus’ divine power and identity. Therefore, the chief priests wanted to kill not only Jesus but Lazarus too (John 12:9-11). Living faith, true belief is, I share with Jesus in everything – in suffering here in this life, and in glory in His Kingdom.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)
To see things as God sees them you just need to believe in Him and the One He sent for your salvation: Jesus Christ, the living Lord!