The Bible Or Experience?
You choose to base your thinking and believing on what God said, or on experience. One or the other determines what you believe, and therefore do.
Whatever controls your beliefs, in effect becomes your god. Do you want your experience to be your god? Are you sure you are capable of judging and understanding your experience well enough to let it be your god?
We face this continually. God's Word says one thing, but circumstances say another. The Bible says "by His stripes you were healed," yet you feel sick. The Bible says "my God shall supply all you need," yet you see needs unmet.
What is the answer? Is God a liar? Is His Word for us today? Does it apply to you?
The children of Israel faced this. Twelve spies came back from the promised land with a report that "told it like it was." It looked difficult or impossible for them to possess the land. Yet, God said they could.
NUMBERS 13:1-2 NKJ
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them."
NUMBERS 13:31-33 NKJ
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."
32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.
33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."
They looked at the situation and saw giants. It looked to them like God had missed it -- but God was actually testing them to see if they would believe Him and act on His Word.
What About You?
You face the same test today. Will you believe God's Word and march forward in obedience, or will you rationalize away God's clear Word because of what you see?
Unbelief goes by what it seems like -- instead of what God said.
God said many things in the Bible to you and about you. Will you believe them? Or will you stumble in unbelief because you give more weight to what it seems like? Will circumstances rule your life -- or will God rule your life?
Your experience may contradict what the Bible says. That gives you a choice. Will you trust God and depend on Him to bring it to pass? Or will you depend on yourself and your experience?
All unbelief in churches today is because people experienced things which contradicted God's Word. In other words, it did not seem to work in their life. So they decided the Bible must not mean what it seemed to say, or else their experience would have been different. Then they look for ways to explain to others why the Bible does not mean what it says. That becomes their doctrine. It is easy to find churches full of this, filled with people who will talk you out of believing God's Word is for you today.
Why didn't the Word seem to work in their life? We must put the blame somewhere, either on them or on God. Was it God's fault? Did He lie? NO!
We humans never like to admit we were wrong -- but it is the inescapable conclusion. We may think we know everything -- but we don't.
Many ignore and reject the scriptural evidence for healing being God's will. They, or their teachers, usually do so based on someone they knew not being healed.
Some claim they have tried God's Word and it did not work for them. So they don't believe it is true for today -- at least not for everyone.
Can we afford to base our lives on our limited experience? On what we think happened when we tried to act on the Scripture?
Even if someone loves God and gives their life in service to Him, God will not change His rules for them. Most fail to realize this. God is a God of order -- He operates according to His laws -- regardless of His feelings.
We must always remember that no one receives anything from God because we deserve it. It is by His grace and through faith.
So if a faithful missionary dies of cancer, many conclude "it must not be God's will to heal people today, or surely they would have been healed." That is basing doctrine, or what you believe, on experience.
Experience is a shaky foundation. Only God's Word is sure enough to build our lives on without someday failing us.
ROMANS 3:3-4 NKJ
3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged."
No one except God knows what someone really believes. People may tell us what they think we want to hear. They may just be hoping. Maybe no one ever taught them how to receive from God. We are not qualified to judge because we never have all the information.
Some may say, "Why doesn't God just do it anyhow?" Because He is a God of order. He gave His Word and He goes by it.
God's Word Is Final Authority
The Bible is given to us to change our thinking so we can begin to think like God does.
JOSHUA 1:3 NKJ
3 "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.
God told Israel He had given them the land -- even though giants were still living in it! As far as God was concerned, it was already a fact. He had said it and He knew He was able to bring it to pass.
God does not bring things to pass when we refuse to cooperate with Him. When we refuse to believe His Word and obey Him, God's will in our lives is hindered.
Several scriptures prove that. The Bible says it is not God's will that any should perish -- yet they do. It also says God was not able to bless Israel as He wished to.
HEBREWS 3:19 NKJ
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
ISAIAH 48:18 NKJ
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
We must cooperate with God.
The Word Judges Us
Many think they should judge God's Word to determine if it is correct. They have it reversed -- the Word is judging them!
JOHN 12:46-48 NKJ
46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
47 "And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
It only takes one person acting on God's Word and receiving to prove that it works. Thousands of us may attempt to receive and fail -- proving nothing except we failed.
Let's quit blaming God and start accepting responsibility for our own actions. Let's begin to seek God for more understanding and insight, so we may fully act on His Word.
JOHN 17:17 NKJ
17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Regardless of your experience, God's Word is true. If you act on it fully and accurately it must work. The only other choice is to say God is a liar.
God's Word will judge us. Let's believe it and act on it, regardless of what our experience, or anyone's experience, tells us!
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