The Key of Faith (continued)
Read: Genesis 15:5,k 17:1-8; Romans 4:17-24; Hebrews 11:8-10; Revelation 21:9-18, 22:1-2
The Battle of Unbelief
Now the work of the enemy is not only from the outside - it is from the inside. The enemy has got a very strong and deep foothold in man by nature, in you and in me, and it is no small thing to enlarge us unto the enlargement of God. There is much in us that ever seeks to frustrate and limit God. That foothold of the enemy in us by nature is something that ever stands in the way of God's thoughts, as a positive force to resist God. The essential nature of the foothold is unbelief, and there is not one of us, no matter how advanced may be the point of our spiritual progress, who has no battle remaining with the unbelief of his own heart.
"The sin which doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews 12:1), which impedes, retards, and arrests us in the spiritual race, is unbelief. You know that this letter to the Hebrews is all concerned with going on - going on to fullness; and here, in this metaphor of the race - "running with patience the race that is set before us' - we find the exhortation to lay aside this impeding thing that so easily besets us. It is unbelief. In the original text, the passage follows immediately, without any chapter division, upon the eleventh chapter of the letter, which is the chapter of faith. Thus, in that quite general way, it is very appropriate to our present need to speak about this matter of 'faith unto enlargement,' for as it was with Abraham, so it is with us all.
But of course it has particular and specific applications. In the work of the Lord, in a ministry, in a testimony, in an instrumentality for Divine purpose, there are times when the direction and course of everything seems to be to close it down, to thwart, frustrate, and bring it to an end; and because of that, a very great test of faith arises. Those concerned are thrown into the vortex of a great conflict as to whether God, after all, wants this, means this, is after this - or whether, in view of the accumulation of frustrating, crippling, limiting efforts and activities, some mistake has not been made, and the whole thing needs to be reviewed and revised. At such times, the enemy does press very hard with questions. It is a time of severe testing of faith. And what is true collectively becomes so true in individual lives from time to time.
(continued with # 19)