“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house” (Hebrews 3:1-2).
The author of Hebrews offers a strong word to all who are “partakers of the heavenly calling.” What is this heavenly calling? It is that you hear heaven calling you.
Even now heaven is calling for a people who are free from the materialism of this world. Some believers sigh daily, “Jesus, my heart is not here. Nothing in this world satisfies me. You alone are my life.” They could have their house taken away, their job, everything but the clothes on their back, and they would still love God with all their heart.
But faithfulness to God doesn’t just mean a willingness to lose everything for his sake. Scripture says we can give our body to be burned at the stake as a testimony, but without love in our heart it would all be in vain.
Some think of faithfulness as simply obtaining victory over sinful habits. Others think of it as doing good deeds. Still others think of it as being deeply spiritual, constantly in prayer or reading the scriptures. But none of these things can ever make us faithful to God. You may ask, “What about all my efforts to remain pure? My sanctified service to the Lord? My crying out to him in prayer? Aren’t those considered faithfulness?”
All of these wonderful things are commanded by God’s Word, and we will do them if we are faithful. But in themselves they do not constitute faithfulness.
Faithfulness to God is impossible unless it springs from a trusting, believing heart. You may say, “But I do all these things with that kind of heart.”
This is true when life is moving along smoothly. But as our trials increase and our battles grow more intense, our flesh can grow weary. That’s when true faithfulness is put to the test. Fears or doubts may begin to creep in. It is then that some Christians lose their childlike abandonment to the Lord, the very thing that sustained them before. Soon their hearts are filled with caution and questioning.
I want to share with you how you can be faithful to God and hold fast to your confidence, especially in these troubling days.
Recognize Satan’s lies and refuse to listen to them.
Every Christian has to remind himself daily, “I have an enemy who is out to destroy me. Satan is a liar, a deceiver and a seducer.” Jesus warned of our enemy, “The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Christ has exposed to us the instigator of every deceptive falsehood. And he warns that in the last days Satan will increase his efforts to accuse us. “The great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:9-10).
The devil’s lies are meant to cast doubt in our minds, disrupting our confidence in God’s saving power. He spews forth lies as a flood, “cast out of (Satan’s) mouth water as a flood after the woman [the church], that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood” (12:15). And he reserves these lies for those whose hearts are set firmly on Christ.
In fact, Satan’s main targets can be narrowed even further. The enemy uses his most convincing lies against those who are determined to enter God’s rest. Hebrews tells us, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief ” (Hebrews 4:9-11).
“Rest in God” signifies a place of complete trust in God’s Word and promises. It is a place of being settled, a continual confidence that God is with us, that he cannot fail, that he who has called us will see us through every trial and battle. Yet, just when you think you’re about to enter a new life of rest and trust in God, along comes the old serpent with a pack of newly concocted accusations. Why is Satan so determined to bring lies against us? He wants to cripple our faith. He knows if our faith is allowed to grow he’ll no longer be effective against us.
Therefore, if you have said, “I want nothing of this world, only Jesus,” then beware: You have been made a target. He will come to you in your prayer closet, follow you to church, hover over you on your job. And he commands his demonic powers, “Send this lie to him. Now give him that one.” I have read many biographies of great servants of God, and all acknowledge that at some crucial point Satan came against them with devastating lies to try to destroy their faith.
Here are some of the devil’s biggest lies:
Lie Number 1: “You are making no spiritual progress.” One day a voice whispers to you, “You haven’t grown in your walk with Jesus. In spite of all your efforts in prayer, service and ministry, you’re still hardhearted, self-centered, prone to sin. You’ll never grow up spiritually, even if you live to be one hundred. Something is wrong with you. Others are growing and passing you by. You’re leading the life of a hypocrite.”
First, we are never to compare our growth by that of others. And second, the devil isn’t the one to tell us whether we’re growing. He wouldn’t accuse you unless you were growing!
Lie Number 2: “You’re too weak to do battle against the devil.” The enemy tells you, “This spiritual walk is too much for you. You don’t have the strength to go on fighting. Slow down and go easy on yourself. Maybe you should reconsider this faith walk. Is it worth it?”
Scripture warns that in the last days Satan will succeed in wearing down some: “He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:25). Maybe you’ve heard this voice in your mind recently: “You’re wiped out, mentally drained. You can’t possibly go on.” It’s true at times we’re worn down by the battle we’re in. In just such times the enemy moves in to try to rob us of our joy in the Holy Spirit.
In truth, much of our spiritual weariness is caused by one of the enemy’s implanted lies. “You’re too intense about the things of God. You absorb all the pain of the lost and hurting, the poor and needy. You’re just going to burn out if you keep going.”
If you resist that lie, Satan will come back with another: “If you’re wearing down, something is wrong. You’re supposed to be at rest. You must have unresolved sin. What is hidden in you that you haven’t dealt with?”
Satan has used all of these lies against me over the years. He has accused me, “You’re not at rest in your soul. How can you possibly preach to others of entering God’s rest? You’re a hypocrite.” It all comes straight from the pit of hell, concocted by the father of lies.
Lie Number 3: “God is no longer with you. You have grieved him away.” The enemy will whisper, “God still loves you, but he is not with you right now. You are displeasing him somehow. It’s obvious his blessing and favor aren’t with you.” He’ll then use God’s Word out of context to pound at you: “God left Israel when they kept committing the same sins over and over. That has happened to you now. Otherwise, why the long dry spell? Why do all the daily struggles continue?”
The Lord never forsook his beloved people Israel. Every trial he allowed was meant to chastise them, not to destroy them. God has never given up on his people at any time. He allows us to be chastened by the enemy, but when that work is over he says, “Hands off, devil. These are my people.”
I believe Satan tried to convince Moses the Lord had forsaken Israel. After all, Moses had been so disgusted with the Israelites’ sin that he smashed the tablets containing the Ten Commandments — tablets that God had made by his own hand!
But Moses was able to refute the devil’s lie. Instead of condemning Israel, he warned the people they would backslide and turn to idols in the latter days, provoking God to anger. Sin would threaten their very existence and scatter them throughout the earth, but the Lord would never forsake them:
“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them” (Deuteronomy 4:29-31).
Today we have an even surer word from God: “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6). “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
Right now, no matter what you’re going through, Jesus has stated, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God is with you always. If you continue to seek him, his presence is with you no matter what lies you hear, no matter what your circumstance. He enables you to stand face to face with all of hell’s demons and declare, “I don’t care what you say or how you try to make me feel. The Lord is with me!” “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Be fully persuaded that your high priest is touched by all your hurts — and that you have full access to his throne at all times.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We have been invited into the throne room of the Potentate of the universe: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (4:13). He knows everything you have been through, everything you’re going through now, and everything you face ahead. And he is waiting for you to come boldly to him.
You see, our Lord has experienced all we are going through, at all points. And he is empathetic, loving, full of mercy, desiring to help us in our time of need. You don’t have to explain anything to him. You can simply say, “Lord, you’ve been right where I am. You know exactly what I’m going through. I can’t put any of this into words. Please, help me.”
Is this your time of need? If so, do you know he is available to you at all times? You don’t have to go home to your secret closet to enter his throne room. No, God invites you to come into his presence anytime, anywhere, boldly and without reservation. And you can go in confidence that he will answer — and that he will always keep his Word.
But we are not to bring unbelief into his presence. As we come to the Lord, we are to “convince ourselves” and be “fully persuaded.” “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20).
We live by promises — God’s promised Word to us — and not by what we see. If we are to be faithful to him, we cannot spend our time nursing doubts, listening to Satan or entertaining his deceptions. We are to recognize our enemy clearly. And we are to encourage ourselves daily in the Lord, especially in our difficult times. We are to deal with our unbelief, especially when we are weak and hurting. Even in our darkest moments we can whisper, “Devil, I will not put up with this. God’s Word is true. And he loves me. He will never forsake me, no matter what you tell me.”
Then we can say in the midst of every trial, “I will rejoice because I have a place to go in my time of need. I have a Source. And he is everything to me.” Amen!