THIS SERIES: A HEALTHY HEART
Over forty years ago I was impacted by one of the most influential Christian writers of the twentieth century, AW Tozer. One portion of his teaching which has stayed with me is this little gem on faith:
In a dramatic story in the Book of Numbers faith is seen in action. Israel became discouraged and spoke against God, and the Lord sent fiery serpents among them. “And they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.” Then Moses sought the Lord for them and He heard and gave them a remedy against the bite of the serpents. He commanded Moses to make a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole in sight of all the people, “and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” Moses obeyed, “and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Num 21:4-9).
In the New Testament this important bit of history is interpreted for us by no less an authority than our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is explaining to His hearers how they may be saved. He tells them that it is by believing. Then to make it clear He refers to this incident in the Book of Numbers. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
Our plain man in reading this would make an important discovery. He would notice that “look” and “believe” were synonymous terms. “Looking” on the Old Testament serpent is identical with “believing” on the New Testament Christ. That is, the looking and the believing are the same thing. And he would understand that while Israel looked with their external eyes, believing is done with the heart. I think he would conclude that faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God...
Now, if faith is the gaze of the heart at God, and if this gaze is but the raising of the inward eyes to meet the all-seeing eyes of God, then it follows that it is one of the easiest things possible to do. It would be like God to make the most vital thing easy and place it within the range of possibility for the weakest and poorest of us...
All we need to do is turn our gaze on Him. No effort. No struggle. Just look.
This is such a remarkable picture. And so easy; just right for those who are weary, broken or struggling. The invitation is to get very quiet inside, turn your gaze upon Him and just hold it there. It seems that faith doesn’t require lots of effort, or spiritual strength after all—just resting from your struggles, and gazing at the finished work of the cross. That really is good news!
NEXT WEEK: THE PASSIONATE HEART
We were made for love: to give it and receive it.
GET IN TOUCH!
[Photo credits: Aaron Burden (cross); Timothy Barlin (man); Adam Solomon (hello); @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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