Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The life of faith is from the heart. If the heart is not clean it's not confident. The 'I am not to blame' excuse, has grown in popularity, especially in the last 40 years. While we have blurred what is right and what is wrong, we are coming to the place where there's a dispute as to whether there is any right or wrong. Why does adultery hurt a marriage and family so much? Because it's wrong! It's not a sickness, or because of some psychological challenge, it's plainly wrong!
When we do wrong we suffer consequences. We have violated a moral code that God has written into the Earth and the only way to resolve the matter is to repent, forgive and be forgiven, be cleansed and commit to living right by the power of the resurrection of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit within.
The heart can only be preoccupied with one major emotion at any given time. If we are filled with fear, then we may be praying, but we are not believing, and that is the essence of successful praying. If we are filled with hatred or unforgiveness, then we will find faith escapes us. That is why Jesus placed the need for us to for us to forgive others immediately after he had talked about prayer. We need to repent from those things that entangle our hearts with emotional chains. Repentance is a doorway, faith is a living room.
Habakkuk writes a hymn of faith revealing his persistence of faith in discouraging circumstances
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the field yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
The Chaldeans, like the Assyrians and Egyptians, cut down and burnt the fruit-bearing trees of the countries which they invaded. The entire context is negative, fearful and disastrous. The lad is about to be invaded. They are all about to lose their houses, their farms, their animals, their harvests, their fortunes, their money. Many may even be slaughtered. However, the answer the prophet has is to sing. Praise is the language of faith.
After the marauding Chaldeans have invaded and devastated the country, the fig and olive trees, cornfields, vines, and livestock were all destroyed. For the Israelite, it would be hard to imagine a more precious and loved possession than their thousand-year-old olive trees, their vines, figs, sheep, and calves. Yet, in spite of the fact that these sources of joy were all destroyed the prophet composed a song of overcoming, to be sung by all those in the temple. This was not a song for his own private devotions but written for a people devastated by defeat, from their own folly which had brought calamity when God lifted His protections from them. Obviously, the prophet carried significant authority to compose songs for the national hymnal which the Chief Musician was to orchestrate. Prophecy and worship regularly word together in the strengthening of God's people.
Christianity has always been the great 'in spite of' religion. Even though we are in prison, we will sing hymns, when we're persecuted we will rejoice. This has always been best shown through singing. Paul and Silas show clearly we should never underestimate the power of praise. God means more to us than our harvests and fortunes and favorable circumstances. Even though nothing is working like it should. Even though I've lost everything, I'm still going to connect with the Lord. Anytime you connect with Him you are going to have joy bubble up from within. Smiling, dancing and joy are irresistible to the person who has met with God. Our salvation means far more than anything else, even more than any of the blessings the father can bring us. How would it be if God actually meant more to you than anything else?
See you in church!