I wish to encourage you to walk in faith.
Faith and belief are spoken of often in today’s world, referring to almost anything that anyone wants to place their confidence in. It can range from a casual thought to a life transforming belief. However, I don’t want to encourage you with the world’s whimsical idea of faith. Rather, I wish to expand your appreciation for a more authentic faith. One that reasons, that evaluates, that builds its beliefs upon God’s truth and not the assumptions made by a disbelieving world. I speak of a faith that produces fruit worthy of its creator, and results in His honour and the believer’s eternal reward.
Faith is a remarkably simply thing, yet able to endure the most complex of life’s circumstances. It fuels the believer with the inner resources required to overcome. However, faith has a definitive starting point, for “without faith it is impossible to please him (God), for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). At the most fundamental level, the Christian’s rationale concludes that it is ”by faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). From these 3 elemental truths faith grows. Remove these 3 foundations, and the entire faith structure in life will be wonky in its wrong view of God, leading to disastrous consequences.
Jesus disciples could have asked Him for anything; more money, greater popularity, improved health, a successful world-wide ministry. Instead, they “said to the Lord, Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). Why faith, and not all the other things which they could have used for Jesus? Firstly, because thy recognised the connection between Jesus as their Lord, and having Jesus as Lord of their growing faith fuelled by Jesus.
Secondly because, like John the Baptist who said of Jesus; “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30), the disciples understood that stuff doesn’t grow faith in the Lord of Lords. Things distract us, they twist our loyalties, and they demand our attention while requiring constant maintenance.
Pretend or Genuine
James, Jesus half-brother, explains the futility of pretend faith; “What good is it …if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14). Obviously, the answer is no! So-called faith in God that does not express itself in God-reflecting behaviour is simply pretend faith. James concludes; “that faith apart from works is useless?” For “as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:20, 26).
James makes it clear, authentic faith in God through Jesus Christ is seen by others, as well as being experienced internally by the believer. When justification takes place at the time of believing in Jesus as Lord, the repentant sinner spontaneously dies to self and lives a new life as evidence of their real faith. “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). If you want to know whether your faith is from God or simply self-generated, the test is this; is your living characterised by love-styled, Christ dependant, obedience to your God?
Be encouraged, Jesus is NOT an add-on to your existing beliefs, just to ensure that you’ve covered all bases. He is NOT some prophet you get along-side of in order to get what you want from the Almighty. Jesus Christ is the Lord! He alone is the only forgiver of our sin, if we believe in faith!
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz