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Faith

by Larry Bryant

How do I view my Faith – do I see it the same as God and others, or is my view clouded?

Today the church and Christians are under great scrutiny, and many times we fail the tests that are placed upon us and earn (deserve) the correction and chastisement that comes our way.  Usually we speak/act/do by what our past experience has been, or without fully running our responses through a “Christian” filter.

There are times when just believing and having faith causes others to challenge us – not on facts and data, but on emotion.  While there are many secular facts and much data to prove Jesus existed and the validity of our Faith, He lived as the Bible declares, He died, and He rose again.  We are challenged by those who refuse to accept scripture, or these facts and data to say we truly don’t or can’t have Faith in God.

The focus of this article is to challenge us to look at and examine our faith, my faith, your faith – where does it align?

There are many accounts of Faith in the Bible – and we are going to use just a few of those to look at the church and ourselves individually.

In Daniel beginning a 3:8 we read the account of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abendigo – and the Faith they had that God had them in His hands.  If they were not harmed in the fiery furnace that would prove their faith was just and their God lived, but at the same time they were willing to accept within their Faith that if God took them home – their Faith made them winners just the same – they would be with their God.

Where is our, my, your, Faith in a situation like this – many of which we face everyday.  A diagnosis that isn’t what we want to hear?  Learning about an infirmity that we will endure for the rest of our days?  Being called upon to live alone after years of having our lifelong spouse with us?  Do we look at those furnaces and say God has me and I know I will be ok?  He’s got me and I’m ready for the journey – Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”.  Yes, we will and can be sad, or unhappy, but at the same time we need to be firm in our unwavering Faith in our belief that God has a plan, and his plan is for us to have what kind of life?  John 10:10 – not just life, but life to the full.

In Genesis 6 we read the account of Noah being tasked to build an Ark.  Now put this into perspective, no flood had ever been recorded occurring prior to this request, but Noah, because of his Faith in God – took on this task, a task that would take ~100 yrs to accomplish, then once all of that hard work was over, the journey just began with the saving of the human race and all air breathing animals on earth.  Wow, what Faith he must have had.

Where is our, my, your, Faith in a situation like this – where we are tasked with something difficult, something we didn’t ask for, something that wasn’t in our plans – and something that isn’t quick to accomplish?  Our spouse fails in weakness and has an affair, our children rebel and challenge us as parents, unexpected pregnancy, unexpected addiction, the church as a need, our parents are becoming more elderly and interfere with our present life/plans…  The list can go on and on – none of these are short term situations that affect us.  We may even be the one with the addiction, or some secret sin that no one but God knows about.  The journey may last the rest of our lifetime, or just a short time.  Do we say God has got we, me, you as we travel this road?  Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”.

With the accounts above we see these were undesirable issues/situations that occurred in our lives.  We usually turn to God quickly when things go wrong, even if we have not spent time talking with Him for some time.  It is easier for us to that when we have something undesirable in our lives, to turn to God and ask for relief.  Ask Him to take it away.  And even give it over to God – take this from us.

 

But in Genesis 22, we see a much tougher account that challenges us to look at our Faith – and that is the account of Abraham and Isaac.  Issac was the result of direct intervention of God – the fulfillment of many years of prayer, belief, dis-belief, and yes, even laughing at God that the promise would come true.

Abraham was challenged in his faith to give back to God everything he was promised by Issac being born.  His future lineage, his future heritage, the future of God’s plan and the continuance of God’s people – all of that rested in Issac his son – now God wants him back.  Abraham must have been torn up inside – truly having Faith in God – but with his humanness feeling how could God ask for Isaac back?  How could God not keep His word? Now will God really provide a substitute sacrifice?  God hadn’t told Abraham anything except to give Isaac back.

Where is our, my, your Faith in this situation – what if God asked for ALL of our blessings back?  What if all that is good in our lives he asks us to give over to Him where they would no longer be available to us?

Think about that………really, really think about that.  Let that sink in – all of your family, all of your future, all of the finances you’ve set aside for your future, maybe even your kids and grandkids future.  Your health where living life becomes a daily struggle?

See, this account is different.  God is asking for ALL of what He promised, all of what He provided, and all of His provisions back.  Do you, me, we, have Faith enough to hand it back without a fight?

I believe each of these accounts can also be a parallel for His church – many times we hold on to “things” rather than let Him lead.  We step out to help God much like Abraham and Sarah did with Hagar – do we intervene and then claim victory for God, rather than allowing God to get the glory because we waited on His timing?

Now reflect on your, my, our lives.  Are we walking with God such that we have the Faith to give everything back to God he has provided to us?  Are we willing to accept something unexpected and walk for Him?  This is we ourselves, as well as our churches.

When we (our churches as well) step out and declare, demand, and demean where God has not asked us to, or do for Him because He isn’t responding to our prayers and needs like we think He should – we have to be aware we are no longer walking with Him, we are walking FOR Him.

Our Faith is all about God and what He can and will do.  It is not about me – it’s not about rules, it’s not about being saved, which somehow gives me license to treat others different than Jesus did.  It is about Jesus and what He did and can/will do through me.  I have to walk with Him, in Him, and be willing to be used by Him.

Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Him.”

John 14:6

To God be the Glory – may my Faith always hold me in awe of Him.

 

Larry Bryant is an Elder at the Tell City Church of Christ and resides in Tell City, Indiana




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4