Nan's Corner - April Article
Faith Choices: The Key to Overcomingby Nancy Missler
Knowing how to make “faith choices” is saving my life. I trust Him in all of this. That’s easy to say, but “walking that out” is what I need to do right now.
Last month we began a new series on what it means to be “an overcomer.” We defined overcomers as those believers who willingly relinquish how they feel and what they think and, by faith, choose to trust God’s indwelling power to bring about His will. (Galatians 2:20) Overcomers are the ones who survive the furnace of affliction and come forth as pure gold. They are the ones who follow Christ’s footsteps. “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
This month, we want to continue our subject of overcoming by exploring what “faith choices” are. It’s critical we understand how to make these kinds of choices and learn why they are so important. Simply put, “faith choices” or “contrary choices” are the means by which we exercise God’s authority in our lives. Making a “faith choice” is personally saying, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) In other words, we make the choice by faith, God, then, implements His will in our lives.
I wrote this article several months ago when everything in my life was going pretty smoothly, but as of three weeks ago, my life has come to a crashing halt as I am encountering some “life threatening” health issues…specifically cancer. If there has ever been a time for me to make “faith choices,” it’s now.
Three weeks ago at a routine doctor’s visit, they found a malignant melanoma in my head (specifically in my sinus area). The only option they said was to operate and take my face off (specifically take my nose and whatever other area is infected). If I do nothing, he said, it would grow and eventually be fatal.
How would you feel if a doctor sat in front of you and told you this?
It scared me to death. I don’t want to have that kind of operation. I’d rather die! Yet, if I do nothing, the tumor will gradually take over. What would you do?
Honestly, if I didn’t know the Lord right now and if I didn’t know how to make “faith choices” to follow God no matter how I feel, and no matter what the circumstances are, I’d just give up. There would be no hope at all. Knowing how to make “faith choices” is saving my life. I know God loves me; I know He is faithful; I know He is full of miracles; and finally, I know His plans are the best for my life. I trust Him in all of this. That’s easy to say, but “walking that out” is what I need to do right now. I don’t necessarily “feel” these things, but by faith I am choosing to believe them and act upon them.
I have to be able to trust in God’s Love, His faithfulness and His ability to perform miracles, without having to see just how He is going to work all these things out. Faith choices are the only way I am able to do this. “Not my will, Lord, but Yours.” I trust You with my life, my family and all I hold dear. (Matthew 26:39)
Non-believers can make all the non-feeling choices they want to, but it will never do them any good, because they don’t have the authority or the power of God to perform anything different in their lives than what they feel or what they think.
Christians, however, do! Because we have Christ’s divine nature––His Life in us––we have His authority to choose His will (regardless of how we feel) along with His power to perform that will in our lives. That’s what an overcomer is. Overcomers have victory over hostile powers. They are the victorious ones who have learned how to master the flesh, prevail over the world and conquer the devil by daily living Christ’s Life. They have learned to set themselves aside and depend upon His power and His authority to bring about His will.
The following is a beautiful example of “faith choices” to do God’s will, regardless of how one “feels.”
A woman named Sara wrote this incredible letter to me:
“It was the last day of our trip home to Florida to visit our family and I was at my husband’s parents’ house where we’d always stayed, packing alone. All the kids were at the beach and Tom, my husband, was out fishing with two brothers-in-law.
“The Lord had me stay home alone and soon I would find out why. As I was packing, the Holy Spirit led me to Tom’s suitcase and had me lift up the bottom of the inside of it to find an address book with over two pages of women’s names and their descriptions. At first I froze, as tears of unbelief welled up deep inside of me. I wanted to run (I felt like I had finally found my ticket out of a very unhappy marriage), but the still, small voice of the Spirit of God within constrained me. “Remember, I’m in control,” He said. “How you handle this and the choices you make are critical. Choose to walk by faith, not your feelings, and your life will change.”
“I called a friend and placed myself under her accountability and received some wise counsel as to how to proceed. My husband arrived home shortly after that and with the book in hand, I asked him if this was happening all over again. He said, “Yes.” He just looked at me and said, “I am going to hell. You know Jesus. Will you please pray for me!”
“Those were perhaps the most honest words I have ever heard him say. So I did pray and I asked God, “May Your will and not mine be done. I give this to You and it is now in Your hands.” (My own feelings inside were screaming, “Run, get out, this is your chance!” But I chose, by faith, to really mean what I had just said in my prayer.)
“Immediately, Tom began to confess everything. He took the book from my hands, ran into the adjoining bathroom and lit it on fire. When he came back he said, “It is time to expose my sin.”
“A dear pastor that we know came over that night and spent three hours with Tom out in the street. Later, the pastor asked me to come out and told me that “Tom has just had a Damascus Road experience.” I wouldn’t have believed him, except that I had prayed those very same words for my husband many times. And in a prayer meeting just a month earlier, someone gave me a word for my husband, using “the Damascus Road” analogy. Then the pastor said to me, “God has heard your prayer. Tom was saved tonight and baptized out in that street.” Well, you can imagine the extreme feelings I was experiencing!
“The next few weeks involved a lot of pain, but an unfolding of the glory of God like I have never seen before. Tom confessed to all the men he is close to. He confessed to our four teenage children, my mom, sisters and two pastor friends that he was a false convert living a life headed for hell. He even named all his sins, sparing the grossness of the details to protect their imaginations. Telling the children was the hardest of all. They each began to cry. They thought their dad was a Christian. But God’s glory shined, even through this, and He began to heal all of our hearts. Eventually, Tom asked me to marry him again (renew our vows) and our lives have never been the same. He now calls me from his car and holds the phone up to the marriage CDs he is listening to so I can hear. For the first time in 19 years, we are experiencing the oneness in the Spirit that God so desires. We are continually in the Word and praying together. We have had more conversation in the past year than we’ve had in all our 19 years put together. Our children are alive as never before. I didn’t realize till now that they, too, were dying.
“There is so much more to share, but God has given me a heart filled with the joy that is born out of pain, a great new love for my Savior and a hunger to know God’s Love in an even deeper way. Isn’t He wonderful!”
This is a perfect example of “faith choices” at work. Sara didn’t feel what she chose, nor did she even want to make that choice to follow God, but “by faith” she simply told God “not my will, but Yours.” And, look what happened.
God has given us His authority and His power to overcome the world, the flesh (our old human nature) and the enemy. We overcome the world and all its pressures by applying the blood of the Lamb. (Hebrews 9:14, 22)
We overcome the flesh (hurts, fears, unforgiveness, anger, negative thoughts, jealousy) with its sin nature by the Cross. (Romans 8:2)
And, we overcome the evil one who continually tries to kill, steal and destroy us by the Word of God. (1 John 2:14) All these work by making “faith choices” to follow the Lord, no matter how we feel, what we think or what the circumstances are.
God loves us, He is faithful to His Word, and He is also full of miracles. I’ll keep you posted as to what miracles He does in my life. “…to Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we [can] ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20)
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Next month: “Jesus is the True Overcomer.” See also all of the other King’s High Way products on the K-House Online Store.