Importunity.

2/20/17 Devotional

Luke 18: 1-8

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

There’s a whole list of things that come between praying, believing and the answer being fulfilled.

Keep coming and believing

I think we sometimes get caught up in this life of faith, this idea of faith, how and where we see ourselves in the life of faith. There are some times when I’ve expected God to do things in my life, because it’s written in his Word, because I know it’s a promise of God, and it’s taken Him this long. It’s taken Him 15 years and it seems like nothing has been accomplished.

What I’ve been believing for is irrelevant – that’s between He and I. We both know. We’ve had the conversation. The knock-down-drag-out fight, “Come on God, I know this is your promise yet I’m not seeing its fulfillment.” Anyone else ever been in that place? 

I think we can be honest enough about our human nature to know that if someone takes God at his promises and every single time they ask, they get what they’re asking for, well I would suggest that that’s not faith at all. I would suggest that that’s not faith at work in our life to any degree.

At some point when we get what we want from God instantaneously without question, it just happens because we followed a formula – I’ve watched my dad train hunting dogs for years and many of them respond the same way. Performance, the dogs give their performance and get what they wanted because of the performance.

A dog could have faith in that type of a scenario. I think God calls us to something deeper. I think when we keep reading the promises of Scripture, we build momentum in our hearts and our mind takes hold of the promises of God. At that moment there’s something inside of us that’s built. For many of us we’ve gone too long and allowed time to be our worst enemy. We’ve allowed time to defeat our faith.

In fact, one of the greatest problems with our life of faith is that we allow time to steal faith in what God has promised. Many of us have gone through that battle. God has spoken clearly to our heart. God has spoken clearly through his Word. We’ve pulled the promise of God from the pages. We’ve stood firmly on them and because it hasn’t happened in the timeline that we were expecting, what do we do? We lose faith. Time should not be our biggest enemy when it comes to faith. Time is one of the greatest problems I see as we study out and try to live out God’s Word.

We see such a polarization in the church community when we talk about faith. We’re led to believe that some believers always, without exception, instantaneously gain the object back of their faith. It makes a really good story in church, especially from the pulpit.  There’s a whole list of things that come between praying, believing and the answer being fulfilled.

We get caught up at times and allow time itself to be our worst enemy. How long did it take for Abraham and Sarah to realize the promise of God before Isaac became a reality?  A long time, 14 years. If you don’t know, study the story, but that’s the whole point, that God spoke and it didn’t happen instantaneously. God spoke and delivered a promise to his servants and they walked it out every single day of their life, believing God, that this promise would be fulfilled, yet nothing in the natural seemed to change.

I believe when we keep coming and believing, no matter what it looks like, and it seems that the answer to our problem or to the promise of God is being withheld, but we come every time with the same type of faith, the same belief, engaged in what God has written on the tablets of our heart, I believe at that moment we impress God a bit with our faith.

If he’s looking for trusting souls at all, that’s pretty impressive to know that time is not the biggest buffer to our answer when we’re seeking his promises. In fact we’re going to read a little bit about how it totally changed the course of a few folks’ lives.

When and how God turns the juice on is his business. That’s the simplest way I could put it writing this out. When and how God turns on the juice is his business. It’s easy to slip into a position of taking sovereign control out of his hands. The other extreme is to come to him not asking at all. “Well it’s just whatever your will is God, let it be done, hallelujah.” Just flow through life. “Whatever will be will be.”

Jesus taught about importunity. Jesus taught about this idea that we would repeatedly and annoyingly make requests to God. Luke 18: 1-8, a common story of the unjust judge.

Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The judge knew that she, this Persistent Widow, believed so pressingly of her request that she was just not going to quit. the Persistent Widow was going to keep coming and keep coming and keep coming. Her request would feel like an onslaught.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Jesus teaching principles of faith, coming to God with a petition or a request. Jesus talks of an unjust judge and says he heard the Persistent Widow’s plea consistently over and over and over and finally gave in.

I remind God of this parable all the time. I feel like I come to him asking consistently. There are times where I think to myself in my prayer time between myself and God “I’d like to trade you in on that unjust judge because I think I could have broken him down by now. I think if it were between me and that unjust judge by now, God, I’d have broken him down. I would have seized my request.” It feels at times the answer to my request gets caught between heaven and earth.

Scripture clearly lays out a gift of faith, where God’s spirit augments a person natural level of faith. I’ve come to know that in spite of my floundering, in spite of my doubts, when things are down, I’m so convinced of what God says that I’m going to come back to him again and again and again and as often as I need to. I’m going to ask believing without shadow of doubt, I’m going to come believing because time will not steal the promise of God in my life.