A few Sunday’s ago my pastor was talking about faith. It is a normal and expected topic when attending church, don’t you think? ;) What is baffling to me, is how I have been taught my whole life about faith…and yet still have SOOO much to learn. I still have eye openers. Light bulb moments. Jaw droppers. I just love how God is so amazingly clever in how He gets through these thick skulls we have. Haha! We can read the a passage of Scripture that we undoubtedly have read before…and God can highlight it in a way that makes it as if it is the first. Fresh. New. Real. Relevant! That is just one more proof in our days that He is living and active!
Let’s take a moment to list some things that are birthed from faith. Maybe this faith we strive to strengthen isn’t as necessary as we make it out to be. (IT IS! I was playing the sarcasm card there. And since you can’t hear my tone…I want you to KNOW! I have not lost it. ;) )
Evangelism. You would have no reason to evangelize if you, yourself didn’t have faith in the hope of your future in Heaven. You would have no confidence to evangelize if you didn’t have faith in the Author of your words. Christ’s perfect life, undeserved death, and miraculous resurrection are all the reasons and confidence that you need to speak. He took the life of each of us seriously. He is asking that you do the same. And not just with your own. We are to take every human life just as serious as He did when He gave His life up for us all.
Hope. Think about people in this world that you know right now who do not know Jesus as their Savior. What do they have to hope in? They should be dreading and terrified of when their life ends. Especially not knowing when, how, and what is to come. If they DO know what is to come…they have no reason to feel hope in their days now. What do they have to look forward to? Torment.
We have everything to hope in. No matter what the enemy throws at us…he is not our future. He was our past…but we have been delivered from eternity with him. Hope is a no-brainer. If we aren’t seeing our hope… We. Aren’t. Using. Our. Brain. Simple! And if we aren’t sharing this hope we have… We. Aren’t. Using. Our. Heart. Ouch!
Grace. Why in the world would we ever extend grace to anyone if we didn’t understand, by faith, that God’s grace trumps all else? He had/has absolutely no reason to extend grace to any one SINGLE human ever to live. Ever! After all, we are born into sin. We learn to sin before we learn much else. But God is a God of agape love. (Can I get a hallelujah?!) He sees His children who have chosen salvation through His Son, Jesus, as pure. Blameless. Without blemish. So why is it that we so easily do the exact opposite? Why is it that we see each other as a teen going through puberty…covered with blemishes? Sometimes we even get really close to inspect others with a magnifying glass. Looking for any sign of even the tiniest of blackheads forming under the skin. Then, we won’t let it go. Whispers. Gossip. Things blown out of proportion. Where is the grace in that?! If you are worthy of being magnified under the same scope than by all means…inspect away. If you fall short…try grace. It will look good on anyone! ;)
Forgiveness. Are you squirming? Forgiveness is tied right into grace isn’t it? How can I forgive someone who doesn’t even understand and/or care how bad they have hurt me?! Here is my challenge to that statement. Ask God…if, and only if you are braced and prepared for His answer…to break your heart for what breaks His. Your eyes will be opened to so much hurt and pain that you never saw before. That magnifying glass you gripped tightly will gather dust on a shelf because you will be spending so much time praying for and speaking life to the lost and broken. You will not have time for trivial things. Reality…there are people dying. There are souls heading for eternal suffering. There are wars going on in the Heavenly realms that could use some earthly warriors. Forgiveness is only a choice because we have made it an option. To God…it is an absolute.
Provision. Oh this one hits home. This is a stumbling block for so many. Whether you are rakin’ in the dough or scraping bottom; we are all to rely on God for our provision. Isn’t it interesting that it is difficult for both ends of the spectrum. Those who have worked their way to success sometimes have difficulty remembering Who it is that provided life for them. They don’t need a Savior to work miracles with their finances. They don’t need to have faith for tomorrow. Being ‘self-sufficient’ is not always the blessing it appears to be. And then there’s those who work all day and still come up short. They can also have a hard time trusting, by faith, that God is still working on their behalf while they are slumbering. They sometimes feel as though God is just watching them squirm. Faith though. Faith is being sure of things unseen.
Let’s look at a verse that can help put things into a simple perspective. Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”” I can just see some of you out there, minds turning, a bit of bitterness rising. You might be saying, in your head, ‘How in the world could I ever even think of becoming a lover of money when I have…none?! I don’t have money, that is the problem!!’ My child, read it again. It does not say that you have money, it says that you love it. You constantly think of it. You dream of the day when you can go buy whatever you want. You covet what your neighbor has. So what does contentment look like? Dive into the Word of God and find out!! You will not regret it!!
Let’s end with the four challenges and a quote that my pastor gave us when it comes to faith.
1) Don’t look at what you can’t do. (No fear.)
2) Don’t look at what you can do. (No pride.)
3) Don’t look at what you want to do. (No selfish ambition.)
4) Rather, discover what you’re supposed to (called to) do. (No limit!)
“Is God impressed with what you are capable of? Nope. But when you do it His power He will delight in you!”
Actively look for ways to strengthen your faith this week. Ask God for His revelation on areas in your life that need work. Maybe you have no problem trusting for provision, but are not showing grace. Whatever it is…be intentional! God did not leave your salvation to chance. He was absolutely intentional. Let your faith prove to Him that you are grateful for His sacrifice.