Many of today’s teaching, especially in the Body of Christ (The Church) have continued to centre on having a subjective faith rather than a complete trust in the supreme counsel and divinity of God. Subjectivity of faith gives a picture of a believer having an amount of the so called “faith” as a force bringing about a reality of the things they have desired and hoped for, majorly when it comes to materialism. It is also used on the biological aspect of our body or health. Compounding these two thoughts we have come to derive what is popularly known as the Health and the Wealth Gospel.
So when we notice or see some Christians who are not rich, or we see some who are not doing well health wise, we are quick to determine that such Christians do not have enough “Faith” that would bring about a recovery of their said wealth and health. When we come to notice other Christians who are supposedly “doing well” and have good health, from our human and cognitive ability, there is that proclivity to make statements like “God has blessed him/her”. We automatically associate their material possessions and well being to their faith in God, even though there is nothing spiritual about the people in question.
Many Christians have towed this way (the health and wealth gospel) and have become frustrated because there is always one or two things they haven’t done. And just when the one or two things are done, they discover that there are more things undone and therefore should not expect the material and health empowerment from “God”. In other words, there are something’s they have not done to provoke God to turn on the taps of health and wealth from heaven.
We have failed to understand the composition of the human life. Understanding the composition of this human life would help us to understand our relationship with God going forward. The human life is made up of two parts namely: the biological (body) and the Soul part. Both combined gives the human life.
The mystery of the formation and function of the biological life (body), the material part of mankind continues to be unlocked through scientific and medical study. The soul, which is the invisible and the immaterial part of mankind, cannot be examined through scientific observations. The origin, structure and activity of the soul traditionally fall to the realm of theology – the study of God.
When we take a look at the “health and wealth gospel”, the predominant attention is given to how the body feels, its wants and needs. The soul part of the human is forgotten, no one cares to know if the soul is being fed with its food, as long as the body is doing just fine. This has engendered the general Christian of today to going to Church or seeking God with a different motive of: what I want, I can go to church to get it. Rather than go to church to learn from God and get their souls fed with its food (The Word of God).
Heat is the outside pressure of adversity. The Word of God in the soul prevents the outside pressures of adversity from becoming the inside pressures of stress in the life of the believer. This is how imperative the knowing, listening and understanding of the Word of God is.
To get a very good number of people to attend our churches or organisations, we market our churches as a product, telling people they should come because God can give them all they want. The Gospel becomes fatally compromised by messages that are all about our use of words, finances, health, positive thing and success in general. At least we have achieved one thing, we have a church filled with so many people and that determines success for the larger perception.
People are then suddenly loaded with unrealistic expectations. The greater the unrealistic expectations the greater their disappointments. When your expectation is from the Lord, you will never be disappointed.
If we have to understand the definition of Faith, then we would have to revert to the source of the FAITH, which is God. His definition of faith is in contra-distinction to the human definition; it takes precedence over man’s definition. Faith is belief, trust or confidence expressed. This means there is an object of faith and that object is God. Faith is a principle, which has its roots deeper than feelings. It requires that we believe whether we see or not; whether we feel or not.
An example is this: You are asked if your car can drive to a particular place that’s ten miles away. The general answer we would give is “of course”, not because we have a subjective faith but we have faith in the car, because it’s the car that would do the work. Our faith is not in ourselves but in the ability of the car as an object.
Trust on the other hand is defined as security, confidence and hope. It is the firm belief in the reliability, truth and ability in the strength of something or someone. Trust also refers to a situation often characterised by the following: One party (Trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (Trustee). The principle of trust therefore is predicated upon the fact that the Trustor voluntarily abandons control over the actions performed by the Trustee and as a consequence, the Trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other actions. The trustor can only develop and evaluate expectations.
In our personal walk with God, we become the trustors, and God the trustee. Our degree of trust will be based on the measure of belief in the honesty, fairness and the benevolence of God. Trust simply put is the belief that a person (God in our case) will do what is expected.
Sometimes why God takes us through some challenges is only known to Him. I am able to affirm that God knows all His children. He knows what is best for us; He knows how he can take us to that place where we are able to give Him glory and adoration. Sometimes he takes us through some things our bodies would intrinsically reject but He knows why. Joseph will go to prison until a time appointed by God. Jesus would be slaughtered on the cross, reasons known to God.
At such difficult times, Joseph could only continue to trust in God; Jesus in the crescendo of His pain could only ask for the will of the Father to be done in spite of the pains He was suffering. It was the will of the Father that Jesus went through the pain of carrying His cross up until when He was nailed to the same cross at Calvary. He had to believe and trust in God even while on the cross.
So many examples to allude or make reference to: especially from the life of the greatest of the Apostles, Apostle Paul. He came to the conclusion that he had an unexplainable joy on the inside of him when he saw tribulation, affliction and suffering. He said that because he must have had access to some information, which sort of gave him the confidence or audacity to speak that way.
He knew that the peace that comes as a result of accepting Christ is so sweet and the hope of the saints so glorious, that the Christian can rejoice in the face of sufferings. He knew that our afflictions, sufferings, persecutions work out patience. Patience is the same as endurance. Our troubles in other words can develop passionate patience, which further forges in us the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for what God will do next. It is called experience by some; which is the practical contact with and observation of facts or events forming our character.
He knew that through our much varied experiences in life and character formation, we are never left feeling short-changed, because there is so much hope produced in all these things. Paul knew that patience or endurance of affliction secures divine approval and that the sense of divine approval feeds the soul with plenty of expectations.
The present pain you are going through is part of the deal, it’s part of what God has predestined that we go through because we become the beneficiaries when our characters have been formed in accordance to the Will and Purpose of God. It starts with afflictions and sufferings.
The paradox of all these is that God can use anything that would help Him put us in the proper perspective and order. For some, He can use sickness, for some finances and for some marriage problems to mention a few.
If we now say like the “health and wealth gospel” people say, that God wants us rich and well, how would our characters be formed? How would we get to that pinnacle of our walk with God with our already flawed characters?
Not sure the clay has started to talk. The Potter would continue to form and make the best designs out of the clay. Let God mould you as you continue in the trust you have for Him as the trustor.