Being at the Knife Edge of Faith (Part 2)
As I have mentioned in Part 1, the Lord has had me ‘ruminating’ over the life of Elijah. In particular, Elijah’s response to Jezebel’s death threat where he runs in fear (1 Kings 19), after having such great faith and victory on Mt Carmel in defeating 850+ prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18).
Perhaps now is the time to explain what I mean by ‘Being at the Knife Edge of Faith’.
In 2 Cor 5:7 it says we (ie: followers of Jesus) are to live by ‘faith and not by sight’ – this is what I am calling ‘being at the knife edge’.
Genuine faith challenges all of our natural settings and senses. Our default, human settings are to live by ‘sight’. In other words, we normally and naturally live by all of our human senses and judgement. Also, let us not forget, our default, human settings are also heavily tainted with the sinful condition (our fallen nature) of living and serving ‘self’. Jeremiah 17:9 describes the human heart as ‘deceitful above all things and beyond cure’. Romans 3:23 says ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God‘. When we truly come to Christ, when we are truly born again, when we truly give up our lives to Christ, God transforms our default settings. That is, we longer live for self and we longer live by what we see. [‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ – Gal 2:20] We live by complete faith and trust in our Heavenly Father, being led continually by the voice of our Father. [For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God – Rom 8:13-14] [My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me – John 10:27] Day by day we are to walk in the Spirit. [So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature – Gal 5:16] [Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit – Gal 5:25] Day by day we are to have our minds renewed. [Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind – Rom 12:2]
This faith living is a challenge and an opposition for our ‘natural man’ who wants to keep control of our lives and every situation.
Getting back to Elijah. Even with the great faith moments that he had had, Jezebel’s threat struck a chord in his humanity. Elijah lost it. Something deep within Elijah rose to the surface. Fear came in, instead of faith. Elijah chose death instead of life. Like the contest on Mount Carmel, the Spirit and the flesh had a contest, but this time the flesh won (for a while). Elijah had fallen. Ah!, but God can use these situations to flush something out that can deepen intimacy with Him. I am remembering Peter when he had a ‘human moment’ and denigned Jesus 3 times. God highlighted the weakness, repentance came in, and a greater intimacy and committment came in.
I have much more to say about Elijah but let me leave you with these verses from Colossians 3:1-10:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator