“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:2,3).
Confidence in God comes out of relationship with God. The relationship between God and man is spiritual in nature.
One of the great questions of Christian faith is whether we are “working for God” or “working with God”. A hireling or employee can work for someone or even work for God. They blindly do what they are instructed to do for a wage or reward. In a negative sense, this is nothing more than outward religion or legalism.
But we are not called to be hirelings or employees. We are called to be friends of God and even sons of God! “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14,15). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom 8:14).
Friendship – and especially “sonship” – demands a relationship. Relationship implies two-way communication or dialogue. By dialogue, we mean that we can speak to God and know that He hears us. It also means that God can speak to us and we can know that we have heard from God.
Even in the natural sense, can there be a genuine relationship or friendship without communication?
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments we see example after example of communication between God and man. Yet we still struggle with the idea that God wants to communicate with us today.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). What was available to believers in the past, through the Scriptures, is also available to us today. Jesus encourages us in this truth: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
The Scriptures tell us that it is impossible to please God without faith: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). We have to be diligently seeking, knocking and asking (Matt 7:7,8), believing that He will reward our efforts to communicate with Him.
FAITH AND THE WILL OF GOD
What is also important is that faith is impossible unless the will of God is known. So, on the one hand, faith is essential to pleasing God. On the other hand, we must know the will of God before faith can be activated in us. When we take an action of faith based upon God’s will, we can be confident that He will move on our behalf. The will of God is the hope or basis of our faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). What we do not mean by hope is, “I hope that it will turn out alright”. Biblical hope is not chance or luck, or wishful thinking. Scriptural hope is based on the promises of the One who never breaks a promise!