Living Above SEE-LEVEL — Part One

January 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Wade's Weekly Word

John 20:29,Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

2 Corinthians 4:18, “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…”

We Christians are sometimes accused of not being in touch with reality, of being a mentally deficient people who cannot deal with the “real world”. Because of our deficiencies, we supposedly find it necessary to take an existential leap of blind faith into the dark, hoping that it will help us cope with life. Also we are said to find it necessary to make this leap of faith so that eventually it will take us to that “land that is fairer than day” in the “sweet by and by”. We are portrayed as human weaklings who lean on faith as a crutch because we lack the strength to face the real world.

The typical secular, non-Christian person, who is living only at “SEE-LEVEL”, sees the real world as consisting of those things which have monetary value, or that can be scientifically tested – things that can be weighed, measured, counted, calibrated or metered. Others who are SEE-LEVEL-Seers view the real world as the place where such things as sexual permissiveness, drug use, cheating, drunkenness and twisting the rules of ethics in a dog eat dog system are the normal and real world. The See-level person’s philosophy of life is “seeing is believing.”  Their worldview is basically a naturalistic materialism that views the intangibles – those things that cannot be approached through the five senses – as either nonexistent or scientifically unverifiable.

So, is biblical faith irrational? Is it merely wishful thinking, believing something for which we have no solid grounds?

Many skeptics insist that the Christian’s exercise of biblical faith violates reason. Yet that’s not the nature of the faith described in the scriptures. Jesus, for example, didn’t invite his audiences to believe in him without reason, but appealed (among other things) to his own miracles and good deeds: “Though ye believe not me,” he said, “believe the works” (John 10:38). “Jesus of Nazareth,” the apostle Peter told his listeners at Pentecost, was “a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22). The evangelist Luke mentioned “many infallible proofs” of Christ’s resurrection experienced by numerous eyewitnesses (Acts 1:3).

One of the great challenges of the Christian life is to be able to consistently live above see-level. By this we mean that ours is a “believing-is-seeing” worldview based on our using the eyes of the heart to see the invisible, (not the non-existent) the unseen, and to walk by faith and not by sight. The walk of faith enables the Christian to love Jesus and believe on Him with joy unspeakable, although we have never seen Him with our physical eyes. However, we have been given spiritual sight and insight because God has shined in our hearts to give us “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

How does one get above see-level living and walk by the faith that pleases, enjoys, and obeys our Father in Heaven, and sees and savors the Son of God the way our Father does?

Living above SEE-LEVEL Requires that We Become Four-eyed in Sight!

There is a fresh water fish that lives in Northeastern South America that is called the four eyed fish. Its scientific name is “anableps” which is derived from the Greek for “up-looking.” The fish does not actually have four eyes, but the eye is divided to allow the fish to see both above and below the waterline.  Each half of the eye has a separate pupil, iris and cornea, but the retina is divided. This adaptation allows this fish to find food at or below the surface and also gives it extra protection against predators. Since it spends virtually all of its life swimming at the surface, it needs this extra protection.

As amazing as the species of fish is, the fact is that if one is to ever become a Christian they must become four-eyed. The biblical truth is that all of us are born with only the ability to view the world from the natural or see-level. We are two-eyed men, when God requires that we be four-eyed so that we can see into both the natural and the spiritual world. This means that by nature we have a set of eyes in our head and by the miracle of grace we are given a set of eyes in our heart.

Jesus revealed that there was more than one kind of seeing when he said in Matthew 13:13, “Seeing they do not see.” We can see in one way while not seeing in another way based upon whether or not we are two-eyed or four-eyed.

The apostle Paul prayed that believers would experience “the eyes of your heart (understanding) being enlightened …” (Ephesians 1:18).

Moses was grieved that the people he was leading were only see-level seers: “to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see” (Deuteronomy. 29:4).

So it was in the days of Ezekiel: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not” (Ezekiel 12:2).

Likewise, Jeremiah grieved over the spiritual blindness of his people: “O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not” (Jeremiah. 5:21).

See-level persons live by opinions of the experts. They live by every word that proceeds out of the professor’s mouth, or the mouth of the scientist, the doctor, the economist, or the politician. They operate by the ORE worldview: Observation, Rationalization and Experimentation. They observe with their physical eyes, rationalize about what they saw with their natural minds and then decide to experiment with its benefits or blights. In reality, they pay honor and give glory to the works of their minds and hands.

Paul defines conversion — which Satan does all he can to hinder — as “seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He says the same thing but in a different way in 2 Cors. 4:6: “shining in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” These descriptions of conversion imply two things. One is that the gospel is the proclamation of the “knowledge” of Christ in such a way that its glory can be seen by the eyes of the heart. The other is that this “seeing” is the work of God, “shining in our hearts” the same way He did on the first day of creation when He said, “Let there be light.” In other words, seeing the glory of Christ in the gospel is a gift. Only in the hearing of the gospel of Christ does God say in the heart, “Let there be light.” By means of the glory of Christ in the gospel, and for the sake of the glory of Christ in the gospel, God restores our sight only in the presence of Christ in the gospel.

If you are truly a Christian, you can say, “Thanks be unto God that whereas I was once blind, now I see! The songwriter testified to the experience in these words: “In my darkness Jesus found me, touched mine eyes and made me see!”

Are you living above SEE-LEVEL?

 

“Howers” or “Wowers” – Which? – Part 1

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Wade's Weekly Word

(Please take time to read the following scriptures: Luke 1:11-13, 18-20,57, 03-64; Romans 11:33-36)

The initial experience of being miraculously birthed into God’s Family evokes a childlike – Wow! Jesus taught that if we are going to access the kingdom, progress in the kingdom, and have success in the kingdom, we must maintain a child-likeness. Not a childish foolishness, or fickleness, but a child-like faith, a child-like desire for fun, and a child-like delight in the Father and His Family! Unfortunately, most Christians get over the Wow of their childlike faith – replacing, it with an How of doubt, disbelief and dashed hopes. Most Christian are more likely to come to church as a skeptic, asking HOW, rather than as a child of God that shouts WOW! More come as an auditor of truth than as a worshipper of the One who is the Truth. The expressions on the faces of the people in the pew is a “so what,” instead of the exclamation of OH!!! the wonder of it all, just to think that this great God loved and included me in His plan, and I can call Him my Father! His promises to me are yes and amen in Jesus, and have never failed!

Loss of Hope is the Basic Reason Why “Wowers” Become “Howers”!

Proverbs 13:12, tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. “ Another~ way to say this would-be when expectations are dashed, detoured, or severely delayed; when prayers go unanswered, when God’s promises seem to fail, there is a loss of hope that tends to imprison us in chains of heartsickness. If we aren’t careful we become fearful of expecting very much from the Lord due to the anticipated hurts of more disappointment.

A. Hope Deferred Leads to a Faith Decline, which Becomes Skeptical of Anything Divine! – 1:5-7, 18

Zacharias, was a priest, married to a godly woman, serving the Lord faithfully. Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. Yet he had become a victim of hope-deferred. The angel told him in Luke 1:13, that his pray had been heard-but after so many years, perhaps 35-40 years, of asking for a son, hope-deferred had made him a skeptical “hower”, instead of a worshipping, faith-filled “wower.”

The tendency of Christian “Howers”, of hope-deferred victims, is to do like Zachariah – to stay faithful to the church, do our duty by worshipping and offering our prayers and incense every week. Yet because of dashed hopes, unanswered prayers, and unchanged circumstances, we find it difficult to believe in the supernatural, tend to miss the presence of the Lord when He shows up, and are always wanting some sign from God to lift our faith from its doubting dungeon. We lay hands on the sick but don’t expect them to recover. We pray for the Holy Spirit to move in power and renewal yet we are skeptical of it ever happening. If there is any move of the Spirit that we can’t analyze and categorize, we rationalize it away. We lift our hands high in worship on Sunday, but our hearts are low, cold, and cynical because hope has been deferred.

Hope-deferred produces resignation, fear, unbelief, loss of passion, escapism, depression, and skepticism. Hope-deferred in the lives of Abraham and Sarah had led to advanced stages of heart sickness. After 24 years of waiting for God’s promise to become a reality, the final stages of soul-sickness had set in.
Gen 17:17-18, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!”
Gen 18:10-12, ‘And he said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

Hope deferred, if left unchecked moves you from a Wower to a Hower through a downward progression.

1. Discouragement—courage is having a heart. The prefix dis means loss of heart
2. Confusion – doubts arise and fears dismay, dreams are questioned, prophecies are discarded as highly unlikely to be fulfilled.
3. Unbelief—Hopes are dashed and faith has no shoulders to stand on.
4. Disillusionment – This is a cover up for feeling angry at God for disappointing you.
5. Bitterness—This is anger gone underground. It’s a root that grows when grace isn’t appreciated and appropriated, and as a result, we become ingrates.
6. Cynicism and Skepticism – A deadness and numbness of heart sets in and even our laughter is that of cynicism, sarcasm, and pessimism.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, also had a divine visitation and was told what would happen to her. She too raised a question of how, and grammatically they are the same, but she is given and explanation and Zacharias is given a reprimand. She is brought to a quick Wow! and he is disciplined for his unbelieving How?

Luke 1:34-35, “And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:38, ‘And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.”

What made the difference – the state of their hearts! Mary, a young teenager wasn’t a victim of hope-deferred heart sickness. Mary’s question indicates surprise not disbelief. Unlike Zacharias, she asked no sign. Zacharias wanted proof. Mary wanted to know the process. This teenage girl going about her humble daily duties shows a more ready faith in the far more astounding message than the aged priest in the holy place of the temple in the atmosphere of the sacred incense.

God did two things with Zacharias’ lack of faith. One, he answered his prayer anyway. Jesus rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith and refused to perform miracles due to lack of faith. Yet, due to the indispensable need of the forerunner, John the Baptist, God answered a prayer in spite of a lack of faith, yet with a penalty. Zacharias lack of faith caused God to take away his voice. Four faithless words spoken from a heart made sick by hope deferred cost Zacharias forty weeks of silence!

Zacharias was kind of like the preacher who played golf on his Sunday vacation. When an angel pointed out the unfaithful servant to God, God said, “Watch.” The preacher pared the first hole, birdied the second, eagled the third, double-eagled the fourth, and shot a hole-in-one on the fifth. Confused, the angel asked God, “Why are you giving this preacher such a good golf game when he should be in church?” God smiled and said, “Who can he tell?” Like this preacher, Zacharias had, had an incredible encounter with and angel, but he couldn’t tell anyone. He had great news but couldn’t tell anyone. He and Elizabeth were going to have a son. Their son was to be the forerunner of God’s Son. The long-awaited Messiah was coming and Zechariah could tell no one. Zechariah remained mute until the birth of his son. God frustrated him because God was aggravated with his lack of faith. This is the cost of being a Hower instead of a Wower – you lose your voice for praise, testimony witness, prophesying and preaching!

Are you a Hower or a Wower?

(We will conclude the message next week with Part 2)

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