As life delivers trouble to your doorstep, you quickly discover that what you “know” is always challenged by what you feel. Faith is built on facts, not feelings; trouble arrives with feelings, not with faith. A positive attitude is helpful but can’t deliver you. When trouble comes, your opinions, theories, feelings, ‘hope-so’ and ‘maybe-so’ won’t help. Faith will help but it never arises from circumstances and attendant feelings; it only comes by hearing the word of God. It is then made strong by giving God the glory. Notice Paul’s attitude and position of faith in his own troubling circumstances:
2 Tim. 1:12 NKJV For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
Paul had many struggles and troubles throughout his entire ministry life but always responded by saying, “I know,” and “I am persuaded.” His was no theoretical faith; it was an “I know” salvation, and an “I am persuaded” kind of faith. He refused to allow events and circumstances to move him out of the realm of faith toward God.
Acts 20:22-24 NKJV And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul was an “I can do all things through Christ” man who acted the same whether he was in the penthouse or the basement. Of course, it was not only Paul who believed and lived this way, refusing to be moved by circumstances; it was also true of Abraham, the father of faith, whose steps Paul was following and in whose steps we are told to follow:
Romans 4:19-21 NKJV And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
“I know,” “I am persuaded,” “I am fully convinced” will keep you during troubled times. The Lord says He will keep you. You believe His word. Then trouble comes and you will find out if you just believe or if you know the One whom you have believed and are persuaded He is faithful.
Rom. 8:38-39 NKJV For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Even in adversity Paul was persuaded. He lived persuaded. He lived fully convinced. These were his absolutes and this is how we need to be building in eternity. God will not change and His word will not change. It is trouble that will change if we remain steadfast in our faith toward God and refuse to be moved by what is observable to the natural senses and felt regarding that natural input.
John was another with an “I know... am persuaded... fully convinced” gospel.
1 John 3:14 NKJV We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
His statement is not “we hope” or “we believe,” but “we know.” How different it is to believe something or to know something. For example, if I wish to sit down in a chair, I mentally ‘size it up’ and, if it has no apparent weakness, I believe it will support me. This is fine but it still provides me no real rest until I actually sit in it. Only then do I actually know it will support me. John says “we know.” This is beyond believing; it is the language of absolutes, the language of “fully convinced,” and the language of “persuaded.”
1 John 5:11-20 NKJV And this is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death; We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
Practice making “I know” statements and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how impervious to confusion, worry, fear, etc., you will become. Start to know what God knows by being close to Him and keeping your faith directed toward Him rather than the desired end you would like. Knowing Him is the key to an “I know... am persuaded... fully convinced” gospel and great liberty. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 NKJV