The Hope Part III
We will continue with our study of believing, since it is so closely tied to hope. In the previous article we saw where a woman, even though she was on the "outside" from a religious standpoint, demanded and received healing for her daughter by her believing.
Because of the mother's will, that is, her believing, Jesus Christ was obligated to grant healing to the daughter: "be it unto thee even as thou wilt". The devil spirit that was vexing her daughter was cast out.
Just as there are many examples of great believing in the Word of God, there are examples where there was little believing, and these too are for our learning.
The Greek word oligopistos is used five times in the New Testament, and is translated "of little faith [believing]". This would logically be opposite to the "great believing" as seen in Matthew 15 with the mother.
Verses where oligopistos is used:
Its first use is in Matthew 6:30. Matthew chapter 6 instructs the disciples on praying, financial giving, fasting, and forgiveness. They are not to use vain repetitions, or to "show boat" for others as to how much they give or how hard they pray, but rather keep it between themselves and God, as He was certain to bless them.
Since the revelation of the Word of God was given to men living in a particular culture, we at times must look at the cultural idioms that were in existence at that time in order to more clearly understand certain passages of the Word of God. These idioms are referred to as "Orientalisms", and Matthew 6:19 through 23 are an example of this:
Here is a translation from the book Orientalisms In The Bible, by Bishop K.C. Pillai:
How we control our thoughts directly influences our believing. If we neglect feeding our minds with the Word of God, if we neglect keeping our mind under control to believe the promises of God, we will not have the believing we need.
We do need to think about material things, but we are not to let them be the center or the focus of our lives. We do not put them ahead of the things of God.
Sometimes it may take very little for someone to believe a promise of God. At other times it may be a serious challenge for that same person. We each have different minds and old-man natures to contend with. But if we continue to feed our minds with the Word of God and continue to pray and do not give up, believing will come.
In these verses, "attend", "incline", "keep" are all things that we must do. As we keep (guard, protect) our heart (the innermost part of our mind) with the Word of God and believe it, we have life.
Psalm 1 contains promises dear to any believer:
I do not know many people who would not want "and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper". What a promise! That is God's desire for his people. To have this however, the believer must immerse their mind in Word of God, let their mind soak up that Word, and then believe it.
Let us return to Matthew 6:
We will be anxious about the necessities of life if we do not believe that God, our Heavenly Father, has provided for us. The prior verses addressed the need for the child of God to control their thoughts, to focus on spiritual truths rather than what the world may teach.
God does not want us to be anxious. Rather, He wants us to believe His Word regarding the truth that He as provided for all of our needs.
Rather than having "little believing" and being anxious, we are to seek God first, put His Word into our minds and keep it in the midst of our hearts, and to believe that our Heavenly Father has provided for all of our needs.
A believer who neglects taking care of their heart and their believing can inadvertantly one day find out that they do have needs that are not met, and that leads to anxiety and other problems. Our Father wants us to stay on top of things spiritually so that our physical life is blessed, and we bring forth fruit and whatsoever we do prospers.
Believing is foundational to becoming a born again Christian. We confess Jesus Christ as Lord in our lives, and believe that God raised him from the dead.
We are not to be a son or daughter of God who lives life with "little believing". If the Canaanite mother can muster the believing to look Jesus Christ in the face three times and not budge, then the born again believer who has Christ in them certainly can do no less.
We must go to the promises of God and claim them moment by moment each day, for they are our birthright. We must not allow ourselves to become complacent, as it is our Heavenly Father's desire that we live a more than abundant life. We start by putting God and the things of God first.
Part II | Part IV