Friday, January 18, 2013

Living the Life of Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  –Hebrews 11:1-3 (KJV)

A life of faith in Christ involves daily surrender to Christ while simultaneously putting off the values and philosophies of the world.  This does not mean for a moment followers of Christ hide themselves from the world – quite the contrary.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 we are “the light of the world,” for a “city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”  The world has always needed people of faith to shine Jesus’ light and to show the world there is hope in the Lord.  Admittedly, we have not always done a great job.  Christian people are flawed human beings and we often fall short of what God would have us to do.  Yet, we are plan A in God’s strategy for reaching the world with the gospel.  If we fail in our task or refuse it altogether then the work is unfinished.

Putting off the values and philosophies of the world means we live daily by faith in Christ and God’s Word.  The Word of God is the basis for our values, beliefs, outlook, goals, and morals.  Faith in Christ brings true life, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, compassion, patience, and self-control.  Does this sound familiar?  It should for here we have the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22, 23.  In Jesus Christ, we are free to practice these and live them out in ever-increasing measure. 

One major problem is the flesh, which always tries to interfere with living a life of faith.  Christians must make a conscious, daily effort to take up the cross and follow Jesus.  Unless we do this, we will fall short of the full life of faith and become overwhelmed with the problems and cares of life.  Sadly, I have known too many believers who were as morose and unhappy as anyone without Christ was.  Many years ago, I was attending a revival meeting and the guest evangelist told the congregation, “You all certainly do not look happy.  I have seen happier faces on bottles of poison.”  I am going to make a bold statement here; followers of Jesus Christ ought to be the happiest, brightest, most outgoing, positive, energetic, hard-working, and honest people in the world.  This is a tall order to be sure, yet the Holy Spirit provides power for rising above the draining effects of our problems and shining the light of Jesus Christ – each day.

Consider what others see when they look at you.  Do they perceive a self-centered person who is always complaining, moaning about problems, critical of others, pessimistic, and generally unhappy?  If so, please know that faith in Jesus Christ can reverse all these negative attributes.  The life of faith empowers us to be Christ-centered rather than self-centered.  In turn, we become hopeful, optimistic, patient, and compassionate towards others.  We cease from our moaning and complaining and start praising and rejoicing.  Remember, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). 

Resolve to stop complaining and focusing on the negative.  Start focusing on Christ.  The life of faith is the good life in Christ.  Begin living it today.

God bless you.