Genesis 5:23-24 (NIV)
Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
I love to read about faith. I love to study it, learn about, and talk about it. I am challenged to live by faith. I want to please God with my life. Faith is an ever evolving endeavor in the life of a believer. You think you know what it is and how it works until you realize you have not tapped into its true reality. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is what makes the impossible totally possible. It takes the limited potential of our humanity and gives it purpose. If what you dream about and long for is humanly possible, it does not require faith. If you can make it come to pass, hope is not part of the equation. As we wander where our feet may fail, to the place of human weakness, beyond the help of anyone else other than the Lord, we find that faith is found only in the Presence of God because we die in its midst. Deep revelation? For me it is. We think faith is self-empowerment but it’s not. It is totally surrendering all that we are and are not to the Presence and Power of the Living God.
This morning as I read about faith…yet again, I ran into Enoch. He lived for a total of 365 years. I cannot even imagine such a life span. My first almost fifty have been tough enough. Wavering and wandering in and out of God’s Plan. It took nearly thirty to figure out that He is more than enough and all that I desire. Even then, there are times I struggle to maintain my faith and peace with God the Father. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was not more, because God took Him away. Lost in the Presence of God. So united with the Father that one is swept away one day. No mourning of his death because one could not be noted. The ultimate end to the life of faith in God. I find that this defines my purpose in life. I want to live faithfully for God until I am no more. So lost in the Identity of God, so close to Jesus that it is hard to discern the two. Humbled to the point that others must know the One who took all of me. I want to live so deep in the Presence of God that there is no question that it was the Lord who took me away.
Hebrews 11:5-6 (NIV)
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
There are two different pursuits of faith to be found in the church today. There is the faith movement that wants to take from the Kingdom of God in an effort to make this life better. There is also a much smaller move to live by faith in the Presence of God placing all of one’s life into His Loving Hands. I have lived both of these pursuits. I have found the latter more satisfying. Faith goes beyond our daily needs as those who know the Lord are confident that He is their Provider and Source of Life knowing every good thing comes from the Father produced by His Love. We have everything we need to live a godly life. God has literally set us up for success in our pursuit of faith by supplying all of our natural needs.
God didn’t stop there but also gave us the Holy Spirit to cultivate our faith from the inside out. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We must know what is a given in this life to ever step out into the realm of hope labeled impossible, improbable and completely unlikely. Faith is a process of Kingdom acquisition, as we lay down our life, our ways, and our desires, just to have more of Jesus. To come to God through Jesus Christ requires that we believe. Do you believe? Do you even know what God has promised? Those who want to become consumed by the Love of God and live in His Presence don’t stand a chance until faith takes over their human heart, settles their random wandering thoughts, and they decide to know confident hope for themselves. We cannot rob the Hand of God. He opens it to those who desire righteousness and bore obedience of love and devotion. See God knows our heart. We cannot trick Him into blessing us. The only requirement is faith. Real faith that believes enough to trade this life in for something so much more.
John 17:20-23 (NIV)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus prayed for you and me before He went to the Cross. In the garden, He was praying for us “those who will believe in me through their message.” The Lord prayed that we would have the Glory given to Him and that we would be one as “we” (Jesus and the Father) are one. He lives in us and we live in Him just as the Father lived in His Son. The goal of our life in Christ is complete unity. Jesus had already confided that He and the Father were One. (John 10:30) Seamlessly united in purpose. The Glory of God given to us is His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the One inside of us that identifies us as God’s Children. The Spirit of the Living God who fills us with God’s Love. He is the guarantee of every promise made to us by Christ. He explains God’s Word to us and gives us understanding not common to man. The Holy Spirit produces in us those qualities necessary to live by faith and in unity with God. 2 Timothy 1:14 encourages believers to “guard the deposit” that has been made in our life. Those who decide to will experience unity with God as we become less and less to have all of Him.
John 3:30 (NIV) “He must become greater; I must become less.”
In the beginning of our faith process, this statement seems a bit overwhelming. How can God be love when He seems so bent on our submission? Why do we surrender our life if His Intent is to save us? Why can’t I just live like I want since I have immeasurable grace? Faith is meaningless unless you understand that fathomless limits and potential of God’s Love for you. The prodigal son was well within his rights to continue to feast with the pigs and flail in the mud. He was given the opportunity to return to His Father and he chose to do so. Once there he was welcomed with a kiss and to feast with his family. This is the final destination of faith. God grants us total freedom to live life as we choose. He offers us His Son if we want to live with Him forever. Faith chooses to accept the new life that we cannot see and forfeit the life that we live. It is not a hostile takeover but a willing sacrifice.
Romans 14:17-19 (NIV)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Today, I am consumed with the thought of living until I am no more. This is not about dying or not dying but becoming so overtaken by the Love of God that I cease to exist and all the world sees is Jesus in me. This will offend some people who will just forget they ever knew me in their absolute rejection of His Love. Others will want to know me to discover the One I found to be worthy of my life. The crazy part is living like Enoch is a focus on becoming one with the Father through His Son – Jesus. It doesn’t really consider others opinions or acceptance but focuses on one thing. Complete unity with God through Jesus Christ. Although we become consumed with love for others, they no longer have an impact on how we live, what we do, or what we say. It is all about Jesus in that moment. It is not the great commission but our innermost personal mission to make faith in God a reality in our life so our hope is secure. From this seed grows ministry and unconditional love for others. From this position, we become unstoppable as the impossible becomes completely possible. People will want to know our Lord when they see this happen in our life. Our messes become messages and tests testimony of a love far greater than the world has ever known. I want to live like that so when I do pass from death to life and step into eternity that those left behind will say, “Lori, walked faithfully with God; then she was no more, because God took her away.”
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.