It was like a V-8 moment. Something I have known for most of my life as a believer (35 years) but it shot off the page and hit me square between the eyes.
I was reading a book for my Recovery Coaching certification when I read this statement: “It is most difficult to let go of our own beliefs and devices, God only responds to faith, not our empty promises and futile strivings”[i] (Page 178, underlining mine). A lightbulb went on. My only explanation is that God chose that moment to send a zinger into my hard head. He does that sort of thing. God will use any means necessary to accomplish His plan and purpose in our lives.
All our efforts to do better next time (which simply appeases our own guilt – which is not the same as actually repenting) is not a step of faith, it’s a step to strengthen our own flesh. All the New Year’s resolutions (how are you doing with yours by the way?), diets, promises to change – without faith are simply us trying to do life without God.
The authors continue: “The prophet Jeremiah got to the heart of the issue, ‘My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water’ (Jer 2:13, NIV). Anything done in your own energy is a broken cistern that won’t help you – no matter how noble or spiritual.”[ii] (Page 178)
As I thought about these statements the Lord brought two other Scriptures to mind:
“The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17
“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23
In the interest of keeping it real, one of my long-time struggles has been with food. I’ve had times of great success but I’ve had many, many more times of dismal failure. I know HOW to do it but setting up a diet plan or strategy is a set of do’s and don’ts akin to the law. How is success measured? I lose weight. But is that really success? Has my heart changed one iota? Is it a broken cistern in which I pursue change apart from God? Oh, I prayed about it plenty if that is what you are thinking.
Praying about something is NOT the same as walking it out in faith. PRAYING is an important part of living by faith but it is not the ONLY part.
Walking it out in faith requires a change in my heart, a change in my beliefs. Thus far the Lord is teaching me to believe and live as if I believe that HE ALONE IS ENOUGH. It takes faith to believe He will fill the longing of my soul that I keep trying to feed with food. That when I chose to say no to my flesh that He has something grander and more wonderful for me than food. It’s not something I do once but over and over and over again. I remember Pastor Bill Raws saying “a step is not a walk.”
Perhaps your issue is not food. Is it gossip, or anger, or overspending, or fear, or isolation or independence? What is your broken cistern of choice? God’s word says, “The righteous shall live by faith.” That applies for every single one of His blood-bought, redeemed, adopted children.
What do you need to believe? What heart change needs to take place in your life? You can’t make yourself believe. You can’t change your own heart. But YOU CAN WALK BY FAITH BELIEVING.
Say it to yourself many times a day, out loud if possible: Lord, I believe You are enough and by faith I chose to ______________ (fill in the blank) and then step away from your broken cistern and drink deeply of the rivers of Living Water.
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Isaiah 55:1
[i] Neil T. Anderson and Mike & Julia Quarles, Freedom from Addiction, 1996. Bethany House Publishers.
Written By Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and provides ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.