When I was a little boy we had a neighbor named Mrs. McCoy. Her farm land was rented out to other farmers except for the chickens she kept, and she rarely left her house because she couldn't walk well at that late stage of her life. But she loved her chickens. So she allowed us to 'help' her gather the eggs when we visited, and she would give each of the 3 or 4 of us our own personal basket to put eggs in. She said, "I don't want you to put all the eggs in one basket."
Of course we all know that boys ages 4 through 8 are especially careful and gentle with fragile things and therefore make perfect egg gatherers, lol. Mrs. McCoy was wise to spread the risk around between several baskets!
All the eggs in 1 basket?
I've been asking what affirms us as Christians? What confirms us in our faith, and as individuals in Christ? Do you know Christians who put all their spiritual 'eggs' in one basket? Is their spiritual life totally in the basket of one church, teaching, person or ministry? Have they taken their faith in Jesus from Him directly to put it in Him through a stream of the faith?
Have you seen that 'basket' taken away, corrupted, or fall from grace which caused that person a massive crisis of faith? If they did have a crisis of faith when that happened, it is because they put all their spiritual eggs in one basket.
They said they believed in the Lord, but that believing was filtered through those ministers and their ministries.
They were affirmed not by the Lord, but by those ministries. They did not know the Lord directly, but knew of Him through those ministries. They were believers, but not knowers. Their faith was confirmed by man, not by the Lord in their own walk with Him.
There's nothing wrong with being involved in the various streams of faith, but they are not our salvation. We should be affirmed by the Father Himself and Lord Himself. Not by the 'stream of faith' in which we are involved. Those may contribute to affirming us as Christians and people, but they are not our spiritual core.
Consider this statement from Jesus in John 17: 3:
"This is life eternal; That they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."
That statement does not nullify the rest of scripture which says if we believe in our heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and that He is Lord we will be saved. It merely points out the deeper knowing of eternal life. To truly know the Father is deep Life. In the Greek the word 'know' is the word 'ginoskosin', which means 'to come to know'. Deep eternal life is a path in which we come to know the Father and His Son whom He has sent.
There is a difference between believing in Jesus, and knowing Jesus. There is a difference between believing in the Father God, and knowing the Father God. When we believe, we are born again and saved, but deep faith is knowing.
When each of us was first born again we were believers, not knowers. We believed in Jesus, said a prayer, stated our faith, 'asked Jesus into our heart', or something like that. We believed. We were born again, some even baptized with the Holy Spirit. We were and are believers. We became identified as being a Christian.
Path to knowing
We set about finding things which affirmed our faith. Ministries and churches, friends and media, small groups and special speakers, all of which affirmed our faith and confirmed what we believed to be true, is true. But we didn't immediately know the Father or Lord. We believed. We were using the various ministries and media to help us get to know the Father and Lord, but many have never made it past believing, to actually knowing the Father. Knowing Jesus.
Even decades in the faith later, because they've always sought affirmation in ministries and ministers, teachings and revival centers in a misplacement of faith rather than taking the time and effort to know the Father, they remain believers, not knowers.
C. S. Lewis observed: "It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him."
Is your faith in the written Word, or the Person Who IS the Word? Is your faith merely in chapter and verse, or the One from Whom those verses flowed? When you 'stand' on the Word, are you standing on chapter and verse or the Person of the Word? Is your faith 'all in' the basket of Jesus, or the basket of Jesus with lots of little baskets attached?
We will pick it up there next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org