As a pastor, I sometimes can get lost in the pride of my flesh by trying to persuade people through my own way of speaking to give their life to Jesus. I can also say that it is almost instantaneous that after I begin to well up with such pride that the Holy Spirit convicts me and reminds me that I am not the Grower, but simply the planter and waterer, which is nothing (1 Corinthians 3:7).
I, as many other Christians I am sure do, try to encourage people as well in their faith. This means not only believing in what you may not see, but sometimes not believing in what you do see in front of you. Life will throw things at you and the devil is a master at deception. So, when I think of deception, I think of something being falsely portrayed. We can so easily think because our marriage is not what it used to be that we are destined for divorce, an illness that has come on us or a loved one means it is death is inevitable, or even a loss of job means poverty and despair for you and your family.
Another kind of faith, call it a 3rd variation of it, is what I see as a resignation faith. This kind of faith, in my opinion, more so encompasses the former 2 kinds and is the kind of faith the Lord calls for his followers to have. It is a faith that is rooted in hope and trust in Him. It is the kind of faith that causes a follower to yell in the midst of heartache and pain, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15).
Now I could have easily gone the route after listing some hardships one goes through that God will deliver you from all of it and make things right, as He eventually did with His faithful servant Job. But we must “ungrip” and unhinge from our own perspectives and expectation of what the process of deliverance will look like, or many times we will be disappointed. Never forget to let God simply be God. Job got angry at the Lord and finally began to question Him, but God’s response in Job 38:2 was simple and revealing to who He is in the midst of such pain and who we are with the question, “Who is this that darkeneth my counsel by words without knowledge?” First off, who are we to question God? Second, He is the one working and teaching. Stay quiet while the Teacher teaches!
A huge component of faith is simply giving up. A matter of fact, one cannot truly have faith if they are not willing to give up. Maybe you have yet to find yourself in a situation in life where you have had no other option but to give up and let God do what He does? Maybe you have never looked up as Job did and proclaim to God that even though my butt is getting kicked down here, I know you still have all of this in control and I trust in you. If you are in that place now, or have been there before, consider it pure joy my brother or sister, because God loves refining folks through fire, so keep giving up and trusting in Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua Randall Englehart is lead pastor of Agape Center Ministries in Michigan.