The Hope Part III

More Believing!

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:

Matthew 6:19-23

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Here is a translation from the book Orientalisms In The Bible, by Bishop K.C. Pillai, and sheds an "Eastern light" on these verses.

Matthew 6:19-21 from Orientalisms In The Bible

Let not your thoughts be centered in material things where fears and worries breed defeat and frustration, and where the doubts break through and steal your thoughts:

But let your thoughts be centered in the Spirit, where neither fear nor worry breeds defeat and frustration, and where doubts do not break through and steal your thoughts.

For where your thoughts are, there will your heart be also.

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 for the results desired.

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.

Proverbs 4:20-23

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

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:

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

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:

Matthew 6:25-30

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought [do not be anxious!] for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought [being anxious] can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought [why be anxious] for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith [oligopistos]?

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.

Matthew 6:31-34

Therefore take no thought [do not be anxious!], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles [those who are not believers, who do not seek God first] seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought [do not be anxious] for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself [tomorrow has its own anxieties].  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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