THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY HIS FAITH
Over the years many books of the Bible have encouraged me and taught me, but I think the book of Habakkuk has been one of my greatest encouragements. God gave me a vision the first Sunday in September of 1987 that is yet to be fulfilled. Many times I have wanted to strike this vision from my memory so I could get on with my life. It is so much easier to have never had a vision, than to have a vision placed within you that has yet to come to fruition. There are so many times that I have sat before the Lord asking Him to take this vision away from me because I do not see how it can come about. Nearly every time I have ever prayed about this, God has turned my hands to Habakkuk 2:2-4 which reads as follows.
Habakkuk 2: 2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie,
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.”
4 “Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.”
I think this is the hardest thing to explain to friends and family is that God always tells me to wait for the appointed time for the fulfillment of this vision. At one point, a couple of years after God had given me the vision, I had about half of the plans written to substantiate the flow chart He had shown me, and I took the metal box these plans were in out into the back yard. I had lighter fluid and matches in hand, and I began to pray asking for the release to burn this vision that burned within me. Then God told me it was for an appointed time. He helped me understand how Moses had tried to push God’s vision into his own time. Moses had lived in the royal court for forty years, was given a vision he tried to push into his own time, and spent the next forty years herding sheep. Then he fulfilled his destiny for God. My limited understanding of the plans and timetable of God gave me no authority to move forward without God’s approval. God’s timing is always so much better than my timing, however it is not easy to live by faith. But the Lord told Habukkuk that the just shall live by his faith. I petitioned the Lord that the book of James in the New Testament in James 2:17-22 reads:
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
19 You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!
20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
I asked the Lord if I was showing total faith in trusting Him, when James had said that faith without works is dead. I told the Lord I felt like a double minded man, unstable in all my ways, that James talks about in James 1:8. I told the Lord I wanted to serve Him with my entire being, but I have responsibilities to my family too. How can I count it all joy when I fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of my faith produces patience, as James says in 1:2-3? I asked the Lord about James 1:12. James says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” And James does say in 1:18 that, Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. So Lord, am I understanding this or not? The just live by their faith, faith without works was dead, am I doubting You Lord which is making me double minded, am I not showing joy as I am being tested, am I enduring temptation to qualify to receive the crown of life, and did You bring me forth in the word of truth? Just asking the questions makes me feel unstable in all my ways!
The Lord in His patience has helped me to understand. He said that I have been living by faith since He gave me the vision. I have attempted to trust Him in every area of my life, although I have many times tried to resort to my own strength and understanding. He forgives me for my lack of faith during these times, but that is the reason I have felt double minded. As Timothy says in 2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. He told me I had done fairly well in showing joy during trials, but it has always been my lack of faith that has me worry about tomorrow instead of enjoying today. But I have been getting better as the years go by. He said He did bring me forth in His word of truth, and has instructed me because I have allowed the Holy Spirit to teach me in His ways. He said in 1 Timothy 5:8 that I had felt much guilt because of what this verse says, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” And God was right. I wanted to provide my family with a million dollar home with all the amenities, but I wanted to serve God more. How could I be as faithful as God has called me to be, when I am living in a home a fraction the size of what I am capable of providing for my family? With my entire library in storage, I do not even have access to what God has given me over the years. But God made me realize that none of these things are important to Him. He called me to be what He wants me to be. He will fulfill my destiny within me at the appointed time and place. And, as for my ability to do anything apart from the Lord, who do I think I am kidding? I have no talent or ability aside from what God has given me. So trust in the Lord? Do I have any choice? I must live by my faith in God, because faith in myself is a joke. I do trust You Lord, and I have faith You will accomplish everything in me You want to accomplish. Help me endure with joy.
I’ve written the vision and made it plain on paper so that whoever reads it may run with it. Help me Lord to remember the vision is yet for an appointed time, but that the appointed time surely will come. Help me hear Your voice Lord, and please tell me to go left or right. I have confidence in Your plans Lord, and know Your timing is always right. Help me to not be discouraged, but to keep my eyes on Your kingdom at all times. Help me have faith in You Lord in everything that occurs in my life. I humble myself before You Lord and ask that my talents be utilized to their fullest. I know You love me Lord so help me remain faithful during times of tests and trials. Please help form me so my character is what You want it to be. Help me remember that faith without works is dead also means that we must have faith in You not in our own meaningless efforts. If I supply my own needs, how can I truthfully say that I have faith in You to provide for those needs? If I trust in mammon, how can I trust in You? Please help me provide for my family as I know You want me to, help me to lead in love and raise my children to be mighty warriors for You Lord. Remind me that to raise my family to love and fear You Lord is my greatest calling. Help me to walk in faith in all I think and do, and help my voice to say the right things to lift up Your saints. I love You Lord and do it all to Your glory. Please forgive my sins, especially my lack of faith, and help me trust You always Lord. I love You.
Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.”
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is in the Lord.”
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.”
11 “As a partridge that broods but does not hatch,
So is he who gets riches, but not by right; It will leave him in the midst of his days,
And at his end he will be a fool.”
12 A glorious high throne from the beginning
Is the place of our sanctuary.
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You shall be ashamed.”
“Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord,
The Fountain of Living Waters.