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From obedience to faith to victory

Discussion in 'Deeper Fellowship' started by Tharseo, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Tharseo

    Tharseo Member

    131
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    China
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    Hi all. :) I have been thinking on a passage a few months ago and I want to share what I have learned with you all.

    If you are Joash the king, how many times would you strike the ground with the arrow?

    My answer is: once, because Elisha never told him how many times he should strike, so once is enough, is it not? But the correct answer is five or six times, so I must be wrong! That draws my interest to this passage.

    Joash has been obeying every command Elisha gives, and so by his obedience God promised him: "You will defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have destroyed them". But what happened to this promise? Why is the Aram not defeated at the end?

    For God requires faith from Joash. This faith cannot come from obedience, nor other people's faith. If Elisha have made it clear on how many times he should struck the ground, it would be Elisha's faith, not Joash's faith, and it would merely require his obedience.

    Does your faith also come from obedience? Does your faith come from your pastor's faith? Or, does your faith come from the promise of God, that "you will defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have destroyed them"?

    I think I never really understand what faith is. Faith is not merely about following instructions. It is initiative, and in some sense, aggressive. Other people can help me, but I must not merely follow their instructions. I must hold on to the promise of God, that I will achieve victory over my enemies - my lust and my weaknesses, and strike for it until I have defeat my enemies.

    Do I want only three victories over my enemies? No. How many victories over Aram depends on Joash's faith. How far my victories will go also depends on my faith.

    How much our faith has, how far our victories will be, because they are given to us according to our faith. Now I am bold enough to seek for more. I want to experience the power of God, that I can do all things through God, and not be bound by my own weakness.

    But to achieve victory, I need to deny what I wish to hold on to. I need to step out of my comfort zone, to do things I never did (and things I could never do). I guess that is why the first word came to my mind when I registered in this forum is "Tharseo (take courage in Greek)". I really need it.

    Thanks for reading.

    P.S. I guess I am leaving cf soon, because I am returning to China. Nice to meet you all. May you all find victories through faith in God.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  2. Oldmantook

    Oldmantook Well-Known Member

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    May God bless you and keep you as you return to China. Courage is needed in a country intolerant of Christianity. God will provide.
     
  3. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    +2,482
    Canada
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    Well, the passage doesn't ever say that Joash acted wrongly or with too little faith. It seems to me that Elisha did not make clear the purpose of striking the ground with the arrows and so Joash did not do so as many times as was necessary to defeat the Arameans. That's not on Joash but on Elisha.

    Perhaps, but Elisha could have told Joash why he was striking the ground with the arrows without telling him how many times he should have done so. I wonder if Elisha's anger toward Joash was not misplaced anger with himself for not being clearer.

    Faith gives rise to corresponding action. Faith is what makes you willing to follow divine instructions - particularly when you don't fully understand them.

    Why would you hold on to the promises of God if you don't first believe that doing so is a good idea? You must have faith in the promises of God, you must believe that God will fulfill them to you, before you hold onto them.

    Again, nothing about the story indicates Joash lacked faith. If he had understood the purpose of striking the ground with the arrow, he may well have struck it a dozen times! How was he to know, given what Elisha had told him, that three strikes wouldn't be sufficient? He had no idea why he was striking the ground in the first place!

    Anyway, the scope of a believer's faith, its size or strength, is not really the crucial thing, but the object of their faith: God. It is because of who the Christian believes, in whom they place their trust, that even the smallest amount of faith can move mountains. (Matthew 17:20)

    Well, victory over the devil, the world, and your flesh was achieved for you by Christ on the cross of Calvary. He has won the victory already; you just need to know it and to live by faith in the truth of that victory day-by-day. (1 Corinthians 15:57; Colossians 2:13-15; John 16:33; Romans 6:6)

    God's blessing and protection be upon you! Shine brightly for Him in China!
     
  4. Tharseo

    Tharseo Member

    131
    +80
    China
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    Single
    I don't think so. The whole story uses the word "Elisha" but only when he is angry, it uses "the man of God". It is God who was angry with Joash, not Elisha.

    It is a long story on how I obtained these conclusions, and I wrote very little of it here.

    He has won the war, yet you can still lose to your weaknesses now, can't you?

    Knowing it is not enough. You need to obtain the victory. If you "know" (believe is the better word) God is going to give you victory, but you do nothing to obtain it, God will take it away. God will not give if you do not truly wish to receive, and most of the time it requires us to give up things we hold preciously, so that they would not be obstacles for us to obtain victory.

    Thanks for the reply. I guess this is my last post.
     
  5. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    +2,482
    Canada
    Baptist
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    Only if you neglect to live in the truth of your victory in Christ.

    Knowing that the victory over the World, the Flesh and the devil is already won by Christ is essential, though it is not the ultimate key to living in victory. Acting on the truth of that victory, living in it by faith, is how it comes to shape a believer's life. Perhaps this is what you mean by "obtaining the victory."

    Well, from what I see in Scripture, if I'm a born-again believer, then I possess Christ's victory as a consequence of being born-again (Romans 6:1-18). It is his victory and I am in him (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:4, etc.) and so partake of his victory - if I choose to. Many Christians don't live in the victory that is theirs in Christ. If they did, their constant struggles with sin and Self would diminish drastically. For God to take away the believer's spiritual birthright in Christ, their victory in him, He would have to take away their adoption into His family which He will never do (Romans 8:37-39; Hebrews 13:5). A believer can be the possessor of victory and yet never live in it just like a person can be the inheritor of millions and yet live like a pauper.

    Christ said,

    Matthew 16:24-25
    24 ..."If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
    25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.


    So, yes, I must give up the thing I hold more precious than anything else: my Self. I must die that the life of Christ might manifest in me. But it is because I know Christ and love him that such a sacrifice is not a terrible obligation but a joy; for I know that, in dying to myself, I enter into the abundant life I can have as a new creation in him.
     
  6. Erik Nelson

    Erik Nelson Well-Known Member Supporter

    +752
    United States
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    Married
    Doesn't Elisha first tell him to shoot an arrow out the window and then informs him that the arrow represents victory. So King Joash knew the symbolic significance of the arrows.
     
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