Present-Tense Faith; October 10, 2017

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Even this most familiar of all the Psalms deserves further meditation. There is a minor difference in tense between the Japanese and the English in this first verse. Where the NIV says, “I shall not be in want,” the Japanese says, “I have no lack.” In other words, it is speaking of a present-tense situation. It is indeed faith to say, “God is going to provide everything I need.” However, it is a somewhat different level of faith to say, “God has already provided everything I need, whether I see it or not.” I think this sort of faith is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24) Mark recorded the recollections of Peter, and Peter certainly experienced what faith was all about! We have trouble grasping that God is outside of time, so everything is “now” to Him. That is objective reality, even when our subjective experience seems different. Faith can bridge the gap between those, and when it does, it is glorious indeed.

God has been training me in faith over the past 60 years, but He sees me as already what I will be (in my experience). In other words, He sees me as perfect in Christ, and that is glorious indeed. My task is to trust Him with that, not getting hung up on my own mistakes and failures but rejoicing over what He has already declared to be in Christ. Like Paul, my declaration is “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12) I may see a small balance in my bank book, but I am to rejoice in God’s “riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) I may see all sorts of circumstances that would tear me down, but I am to rejoice that my God says, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5) Life on this earth feels like a tension between “now” and “not yet,” but by faith I can live in the eternal “now,” even when physically I may be in the “not yet.”

Father, this is a glorious truth. I do and I don’t grasp it. There’s an illustration for you! Help me walk more and more in Your “now,” not yielding anything to the devil, so that Your kingdom may indeed be manifested in and through me, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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