Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 6-7
This often quoted scripture finally made sense to me very recently, and, I learned, it has everything to do with faith.
Faith is what I have struggled with for many years of my walk. In my lack of faith, I remained in a continuous state of anxiety, allowing fear to prevail over my life.
After listening to a teacher one morning speak on faith, I pondered this scripture he used during his sermon. In thinking about it well into the afternoon, I asked myself if it is possible to live my life anxious for nothing (not worrying about the future), and, could I truly have peace? A dear friend whom I had not spoken to for several months called me that same day. In posing these questions to her, she asked if she could read some pages from a book that she was just given, A Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. As she read, I heard faith in almost every sentence, and with such great detail. The scripture I questioned all morning long came up as she was reading – a surprise to us both and an affirmation of God’s love and faithfulness. As my friend continued to read I began to feel less burdened. Tears began to flow.
Of course I set out the following day with great determination to find this book. In talking with another friend about the book, she exclaimed that she was currently reading it. I never heard of this classic written by a woman of faith many years ago, and now 2 dear friends were immersed in it. Less than a week later I was given the gift of my own copy. What a joyful day, as I knew it would be an asset to my every waking day. I do not mean for any book to replace the Word of God. Reading God’s word makes a huge difference in your life, but I also believe that a well-written book is a great accompaniment and sometimes an appendage to the bible. This particular author has a gift of bringing scripture to life by expounding on how to obey, to walk, to have faith, to trust, to lean on and serve God with all your heart. My desire is to help get this book into your hands, and, that you continue to pass it on to others. Imagine how life would be if we had peace from God as we trusted Him each day – each day!
These last 4 years have been the most challenging for me, but, I can now say I have begun to “walk by faith”. I believe it was God’s timing for me to trust Him once and for all. By placing fiery trials in my pathway, I learned to seek Him and know Him. Now my eyes have been opened a little wider and a new journey begins…
The following is a taste from chapter 5 titled, “Difficulties Concerning Consecration” (don’t let the title scare you…). She is speaking about Consecration. The definition of Consecration is to set apart or declare holy. Sanctification. We are taught from God’s word that He is sanctified and we are to be sanctified by His truth. She states that we strive to do this and we do what we think is necessary but yet we find nothing different in our experience.
“ The chief temptation that assaults the soul at this point and at every step of its progress concerns feelings. We can’t believe we are consecrated until we feel that we are. And because we don’t feel that God has taken charge of us, we can’t really believe that He has. As usual, we put feelings first, faith second, and His promise last of all. Now, God’s rule in everything is, His promise (His word) first, faith second, and feelings last of all. We cannot change this order.”
I realized after reading this that I had not lived in that order, but I was ready to. I also realized that putting my feelings first was like putting myself first, which took the focus off of God and put all focus on me. It seems that when thoughts and focus are turned to one’s self, the door is open for fear, making it most difficult to walk by faith! Hannah goes on to say how to put faith before feeling. “Give yourself completely to the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you all that is not of Him in your heart and life. If anything is revealed to you, give it to the Lord immediately and say, “Thy will be done”. If the Holy Spirit reveals nothing then you must believe there is nothing, and must conclude you have given Him all. Then recognize the fact that when you give yourself to God He accepts you. Let your faith take hold of that fact at once. Firmly believe that He has taken all that you have surrendered to Him. You must not wait to feel that you have given yourself, or that God has taken you. You must simply believe it to be the case. If you are steadfast in believing, you will realize that you are completely the Lord’s.
These revelations were moments of bliss for me. You can have these moments too … moments of bliss. They are yours always as you walk side by side with your Heavenly Father.
I leave you with this last encouraging scripture to ponder or study. I got lost in His word a few days ago, in a good way, while studying on the race for faith. I was going to share it in an upcoming letter but was so excited and could not wait. The following is from Hebrews 12. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.