But HEAR THIS! It’s very important. I heard a lot about Jesus Christ, and I read a lot about Jesus Christ before I came to know God. What was there within me that kept me from knowing God in those days when I was hearing so much about God and Jesus? My carnal mind – that is, the mind of my “nature” – was reading and hearing all this. It did not suit or please my “nature”, because my “nature” knew that a major change would take place and that the “natural man” would not have the last word. That element of faith within me was doing nothing but looking out for my safety in the natural, and it totally ignored the spiritual me. My “nature” was on the throne, and it didn’t need or want a God. My “nature” was god, and I was in subjection to it.
But there came a time when I could not reach satisfaction within myself. A surging from deep within cried out for something my nature could not provide. That strange element of faith rose up and said, “There’s something more!” For me, personally, it took a particular set of circumstances which did the work. For you, it did or will take another set of factors, those particular to your own situation. Never-the-less, that faith one day is going to cry out for something more than the satisfying of the “natural man”. It will begin to yell, “GOD!” and you will hear, and you will respond, because of that unique element that God put in us all when He made man. But the important thing is to determine how you will respond. There are many more than just the two alternatives of saying “yes” or “no”.
First, we can respond with, “Yes, I believe in God, but there is a very special way I want to respond, and it’s not exactly like what Jesus said it ought to be.” It may be that I like the way of Buddha, or Confucious, or Muhammad. Or maybe it’s in “The Science of the Mind”, or something of that nature. . .Then there’s the way of, “I have my own ideas of what the Bible means about certain things, so I must find a group who thinks the way I think.” Then there’s the group who feels that “it’s alright to just sort of blend the ways of the flesh in with the things of the Spirit, and that doesn’t require too much change for me”. . .et cetera.
But the faith that is built into the being of a man also requires that those interpreters of God’s Word will have done their work, and what I am told is that the Word of God actually is the WORD OF GOD. The Bible is supposed to be the recorded Scripture from God Himself. Can I be sure it has been brought forward from the dim past of history in a pure, unadulterated form which I can trust is really the WORD OF GOD? Here again is the cry for that FAITH to come into play. Does my spirit bear witness to the validity of the present-day Bible to really being the Word of God?
Is there some way I can talk to God about this? And how will I know that what I hear is really from God Himself? Somewhere in the Old Testament it says that the proof that a prophet is speaking the truth is that what he says comes to pass. So it must be with God. The way to know is to do what the Bible says, and we are so very clearly told throughout the Scriptures that we should PRAY and ask God for whatever we desire, and then see if He doesn’t respond. Once I had to make a decision about taking a job in another state. To do so would disrupt many plans that we had made, selling a new house we had just built, and changing everything about our family situation including leaving a church we loved. I had never asked the Lord to speak directly to me concerning His will, but it came to that. I had to set before Him a petition that only He could perform – and He did! Just what I asked to happen did happen, and it could only have come from God!
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Volume 5, Number 4, June/July 1985.