Mark 6:1-6 records Jesus with His disciples arriving in to His own country. He went to the synagogue and began teaching. Many were amazed at His words of wisdom and the mighty works wrought by His hands. The people knew Him as the carpenter of a local, well known family and took offence at Him teaching in the synagogue. They chose to refuse what He had said because they knew Him after the flesh. Jesus declared, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. He could do no mighty work there…..and he marvelled because of their unbelief,” Mark 6:4-6.
There were no limits in Jesus’ life. He had all power given to Him by His Father but the people limited Him through their unbelief. What a lesson to learn! My unbelief can limit the Unlimited One!
Hebrews 3:12 gives us further revelation on God’s view of unbelief, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” God calls unbelief evil. Why?….because it will take you on a path away from trusting God. It was unbelief that kept the children of Israel from entering the Promised Land. After all the mighty miracles they had witnessed first hand after leaving Egypt, they feared the unknown “giants” of the Promised Land, questioning in their unbelief that God would keep them safe. God was grieved with that generation and denied them entry into the Promised Land, and His rest, because of their unbelief.
Romans 4:20-21 Speaking of Abraham, “He did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith giving glory to God, being fully persuaded that what God had promised, he was also able to perform.” Unbelief will give you a fit of the staggers!
Someone may give an anointed word in a Gathering, but unbelief can prevent God establishing it in a person’s life. Unbelief will prevent every blessing God wants to give. Where does unbelief come from? Pride! My independence is pride, wanting to know everything instead of trusting my Heavenly Father with the unknown. Wanting to stay in a comfort zone of safety, having all “the boxes ticked”, trusting in what is known instead of trusting God.
We all want to be in the fullness of God but often do not understand His workings in our lives to bring us to this desired haven. In order to reach fullness we have to be pressed out of measure. Why does God press us out of measure? To bring us to the place where we learn to trust Him in all things…..to bring us to fullness. Paul described his situation in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 “…..we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, THAT WE SHOULD NOT TRUST IN OURSELVES, BUT IN GOD who raises the dead.”
God is teaching us His ways. We do not like it because we cannot understand what He often permits in our lives. God’s wisdom is so superior to ours. Even though we know His word tells us His ways are higher than ours and past finding out, still we try to fathom with our puny, finite minds the Unfathomable One. The independence of our prideful nature that wants to be in control of our own lives, wants to know everything instead of resting in the knowledge that Father knows best and has everything in hand. We often try to “help” God out with our scheming ways to change situations instead of leaving Him to work, as we surrender our will to His. Humility is always the key.
When Paul said “I die daily”, he was not talking of a physical death, but death to his flesh life that the Spirit of Christ may come forth. We, too, have daily encounters, ordained of God, opportunities to kill our flesh, to die to self that the same Spirit of Christ may come forth from our being. Jesus died on Calvary to give us new life, His life. As I die to self, surrender my will to the Lord in circumstances/relationships, His life manifests through me…Christ in me, the hope of glory! His enabling power, strength and grace is given in exchange for my surrendered will and trust in Him.
This is God’s programme for us – pressing us out of measure and in to His fullness. The wilderness is not a destination, but a vital part of the journey to the Promised Land. The wilderness is where we prove God and find the sweetness of His presence transforms us for eternity – forgiven, transformed, indwelt – journeying on to fullness.