June 24th – Faith or Presumption?



A dear friend of mine has adopted a paraplegic daughter. She is totally confined to a wheelchair, and cannot speak, walk, or control her body at all. Since she was born she has been as physically dependent as a new born baby: utterly incapable of breaking out of her living prison – her own body.
A young new convert in the Baptist Church at Amesbury, who had been on a special Pentecostal evangelistic campaign and returned full of burning zeal, came to me and the girl’s father, saying “It’s simple. Just wheel her in he middle of the whole church, lay on hands on her, and pray, claiming that she be healed – there and then.” – “Name it in faith and claim it.” Now why didn’t we do it? He would put it down to our unbelief, and perhaps he was right.
The New Testament story of Jesus rebuking the disciples for their unbelief positively shouted right then at our feelings of guilt. But was it unbelief? Behind the rock-like belief of the zealous young man were the unspoken assumptions:
(1) that God wants every one perfectly fit and that all disease, all disability, is the direct work of the Devil,
(2) that all healing then becomes the casting out of some demon or other,
(3) that the will of God is always and without exception to heal and restore to total fitness and
(4) that we know the will of God well enough to jump off with a public demonstration of our faith.
In short, when Jesus was tempted to descend from the pinnacle of the Temple, the Tempter quoted scripture ‘He will put his angels in charge lest you even stub your toe on a stone’. Jesus’ reply was “You shall not put God to your test”. It is no good believing so deeply that you leap off a cliff crying out to God ‘I have total faith, now save me’. That’s not belief in God. That’s trying to use God for your own ends – putting him on trial. There is a difference between that and faith in Christ. Luke 4:9-12
“The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God” he said “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up on their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’.”
Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.”

On the other hand: a man was clinging to a ledge on a sheer rock face. He cried out to heaven “Is anyone up there? Help me”.
A voice from heaven said “Let go my son and I will catch you”. The man thought desperately, and cried “Is there anyone else up there?”

A Prayer:
Begin to show me, O Lord, the great gulf between knowing you, whom I trust, and knowing me, whom I do not.

Now read Psalm 141.

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