Faith, A Life Principle
Habakkuk 2:4 — Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but The Just Shall Live By His Faith.
After almost 20 years of pastoring my church, I resigned. As I’ve stated in previous blogs, I needed a break, rest, time in God’s Word to grow personally. So, we packed up and moved to Arizona. But then once there, something unexpected happened — my faith took a nose dive.
I couldn’t really tell you how it happened. I didn’t lose my faith in God, His Word, or my salvation. I just lost … something.
It was like the life I had lived by faith for so long until then just seemed to fade away. I had always had “faith” as I lived out my life. But now I felt … alone. God was no where to be found. That vibrant connection was hanging by a thread. It was terrifying.
I was, as our verse says, “just” through faith in Messiah before God. I still had my faith, but I couldn’t “live by [my] faith” any more. But why?
What I didn’t realize before then was that my life of faith found its basis upon two things — the ministry and my health, the spiritual and physical aspects of my life.
While “in the ministry,” I knew/believed/had faith that I was “God’s man.” And because of that awareness, I had faith God would always be actively involved in my life. My faith was under the tangible umbrella of ministry service to God. Of course God was watching over me, my wife and my family. Once, however, out from under that umbrella my faith took a soaking. My faith had the emaciated appearance of a drenched cat that had been caught in the rain — a mess. But why?
My faith had, unknown to me, been rooted in the protective umbrella of the ministry rather than the personal protective umbrella of my God. It didn’t take very long for this reality to become very apparent once in Arizona. And so, my spiritual life was challenged. It had taken a blow to the chin and found itself heading to the mat.
And then …
While going through that, something else quite unexpected happened. My physical life took a hit. Prostate cancer. Not only did I discover how “mortal” my faith had been, now my mortal life was in question. I had always been healthy. It had been twenty years or so since I’d been to a doctor. I had always thought I could maintain my own health only to now find out that was coming apart too. How could this be happening?
My “faith” had been propped up and sustained by what I had and could maintain — the ministry and my health. But now, that unraveled rather quickly ….
That all started about ten years ago. That’s not where I am now. The dark clouds are all but lifted. Praise God.
Habakkuk had gone through his own dark times. He also saw the dark times ahead that his people were going to face at the hands of a wicked, ungodly nation. It shook him. How could God use a heathen people as His agent to bring chaos and destruction to His very own people? How could he makes sense of any of this? What was God up to? What was God trying to say? God, what is your point!?
The point: “The just shall live by his faith.” That’s it. That’s what God was trying to get across to Habakkuk and to His people. That’s what God is still trying to get across to His people today. And just like then, sometimes it takes the hard, dark times to show us how far off we have strayed from living our lives by faith rather than our own confidences. Actually, it takes times such as what Habakkuk went through to see what one’s faith is grounded upon.
There’s incredible power in those simple words: the just shall live by his faith. They are words that brought a Reformation to the world. They are words that still save souls and reform lives. They are words to live by.
That’s why Messiah came. He even told us so. He said: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” We who are justified by grace in Messiah live abundant lives of faith through Him.
The Just Shall Live By His Faith.