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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Living Faith

It all comes down to ONE thing… Living Faith. What is it that you believe, and how far will you let your beliefs lead you? We all have to answer this question. All of our lives are racing towards one moment when we will all have to give an account for ourselves. What do you believe, and how has it led you?

I use the term “Living Faith” because it isn’t enough to simply say, “I believe in Jesus.” Scripture says in James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” I say “Living Faith” because your belief has to emanate through every part of your life. It isn’t possible to have a real encounter with Jesus, and walk away with an unchanged heart. This is where I come up with the idea of “Living Faith.” It is about going in a new direction, and putting your life under the leadership of Christ instead of following your own self guided inner compass. When your faith transforms the way you live, it affects the way you think, act, what clothes you wear, the types of movies you watch, the books you read, the places you go, the music you listen to, the words that come from your mouth, how you relate to others, and the way you spend your time when no one else is watching. When your faith changes, or affects the way you carry out your day-to-day activities, it becomes alive in you. In other words, your faith is not dead. It is apart of every fiber of your being. If you were to think about what is it exactly that makes you “tick” the answer should be Faith.

In my own mind I’ve wrestled with different ideas & theologies, but it all comes down to one thing… faith in Jesus. Whether He returns again for the second time before my life is over, or I have to face my mortality & die, the moment I see Him face to face the only thing that matters will be my faith. Just as a miner sifts through dust and rocks searching for one element of value, God is going to pour all of my life before Him & me to determine its worth. The only element of my life that holds any value to Him is the element of faith. Without faith all of my “good deeds” are just another piece of grit to be sifted through, but in the light of faith the things I do in this life suddenly take on far greater value because they were achieved through the Holy Spirit to bring glory to my Creator.

Through Christ we are empowered do things that go far beyond what we would ever be capable of doing on our own. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus told his disciples, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing with be impossible for you.” To the world, I’m just a 29-year-old housewife, but because of my faith, and the power that is in Christ I can do greater things than I can imagine.

At some point every believer’s faith will be tested. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” For some of us, the testing of our faith will be very drastic and obvious. Noah’s faith was tested when God asked him to build an ark, Abraham’s was tested when God asked him to sacrifice His son Isaac, Paul was put in prison, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses whose faith makes our own seem pale. For over 2000 years, the members of the Church have been persecuted, and martyred because of their faith. We live in an age where too much focus is given to what feels good, safe, and comfortable right here, right now, and without any thoughts given to the eternal consequences. Many people my age share the sentiment that they would never join the military and go to war because they don’t want to lose their life. I argue that some of the finest Christians have lost their lives on battlefields because they felt that what they believed in was worth sacrificing their life for. We should value our faith above our lives. The moment we accept Christ as the head of our life, it no longer becomes our own anyways. God wants our faith to be everything to us, and if our faith is that strong, nothing will cause us to let go or deny it. Recently in our Sunday school class we were talking about persecution, and one class member made the statement that if someone came into her home and threatened her family with death if she did not renounce her faith, she said she would do whatever they said out of fear, and hope that God would forgive her because she felt that her family was more important. This was very troublesome to me, and what made it even worse was that another member of the group who is quite a bit older, began to justify her feelings, and say that God won’t judge us because we succumb to fear. I couldn’t sit by quietly for this. I hope that none of my family is ever threatened to the point of death because of what I believe, but above my love for my child, my husband, my parents, or any other person on this earth, I am accountable to God, and my life would have no value if I sacrificed that belief. Jesus, who was without sin, died a miserable and humiliating death on a cross for me, so that I wouldn’t have to spend my life and my eternity separated from God. 1 John 2:22-23 goes a step farther talking about anyone that would deny Christ. “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist – denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” If everything in my life is preparing me for one moment when I have to choose, I’m prepared to lose everything, and everyone I have. Faith that is worth living for is worth dying for, because for me death is only the beginning.

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