Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:6-7
Do you realize you are God's child and heir? Then, do you allow Him to guide you? Because we have New Life in Him, we are not as successors to Him, but rather His partners in ministry. This is about whom we serve and whom we trust. Is our allegiance with and to God, to material things, or to something else? We have to realize our commitment to Him may seem tremendous, yet the wonder, joy, and benefits far outweigh any sacrifice on our part. We, as Christians saved by His work, are the heirs to the Kingdom. This includes the entire world-everyone who has ever lived and will ever live has and will have received the Word and the invitation, yet few accept it. We cannot just barge in either, because we need His covering and His clothes, which are also freely given to us by our faith. We are only presentable when we have His covering, lest our sin show and alienate us from God as enemies.
Do you realize the hope He gives you because He delivered you? Romans 8 is perhaps one of the most liberating and encouraging passages in the Bible, telling us He gave us New Life. We have worth, satisfaction, enrichment, entitlement, and purpose because of Christ. We have a reason to press on in life and service. We have no condemnation as His child. Having received this great comfort, why would we desire to live away from His presence? When we keep our mind on Him, we attain a magnitude of peace and a glimpse of His glory that helps empower and give us confidence in all situations.
Since the Spirit of God is living in us, we must be on guard against our lusts and evil desires so our minds are on Christ and not on those selfish desires. We cannot do this on our own, which is why we must rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us. Do we want the peace of Christ and to be His joint heirs, or turmoil and death because of our sins by being His enemy? With His peace, we are able to persevere even through suffering by being "heirs of God." We are saved and thus have hope beyond what we can comprehend, because we will be delivered. If not now, it will be in a time to come. If you do not have the confidence that you are Christ's "joint heir," what is in the way?
Faith helps us, with the Spirit's guidance, to know what sin is. As a pastor, I try to convey to people that they must know what it is because sin affects and sin corrupts! Thus, sin must be dealt with by His management of us and His conquering. We are saved and do not need to fear having our sin take us over or to allow fear and our failures to condemn us when we are in Christ. Christ in us is the ultimate liberation. We can live a life of contentment even in stress, so we can respond to life with gratitude, with trust, and with obedience by His guidance.
In Romans 8:37, Christ tells us that we are more than conquerors. This is our realization, in strength and in assurance, that nothing in creation can come against us. With this precept we can start to see His guidance and then start us in the process of applying our faith more by becoming "an offering." As Christians, we must know what it means to be conquerors. As the power of the Spirit empowers us, we can model the character of Christ. We can be responsive to others positively, because God is concerned with how we are with one another as well as how we are with Him. Then, when we confess our faithfulness on Sunday, our confession will be applied and seen on Monday. Our confidence in God and in His plan and purpose for our lives will help us act in faith with our faithfulness.
Just think how your life will be transformed by thinking and doing life as Jesus calls you to. This is about seeing and doing life as Jesus is in us and guiding us, because you know what? HE IS! He chose you, justified you, glorified you, and redeemed you; thus, He is for you and not against you. Our joy must be built on nothing else but what Christ did for us; not because of joy or sufferings, but in spite of them. No power on earth or in the universe can conquer God in us.
This way we will show God is sovereign by believing and living it. This will help us develop real faith. Sin will distort our thinking and our ability to recognize God's love and call. Real faith will help us see what God is trying to accomplish through our lives for others. We will see where He is kindling us and be the people that the Holy Spirit uses to fuel a roaring fire for His glory. Thus, we can walk in the Spirit and walk away from our desires.
Faith will help us see the world for what its potential is; not just for the suffering we experience and see. This is where we apply our faith. Since we are His heirs, we should accept the responsibility and the inheritance. The world may live in sin and desire its evil, but there is a longing for order and a better existence; hence, the felt need to receive order and the Holy Spirit's role to reveal Christ who can fill that need. This helps us be implanted with hope. We must not remain in our ignorance and infirmity by receiving mercy, yet never giving it. When we lose hope, we lose the desire to serve Him or to receive His blessings.
God did not call us just to a creed or a confession. He called us to follow Him as a way of life that includes right thinking, faith, reason, and action. It is not about just right thinking or right doing; it is the synergy of the two. Our confession of Him will lead to the response of our will and desires that lead to action. In this way, we can be His hands and feet in the world and look after His sheep. We can be what we are to Him and then show it to others. Our effectual faith will have results when we fully realize we are His heirs.
Deeper Things of God
"But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." 1 Corinthians 2:10
One of the Holy Spirit's roles is to reveal the deeper things of God. He wants not only to live through us, but also work through us. He gives us the tasks and the strength if we will only accept them. He will carry us through all that we could ever face, from sufferings and sorrow to joy and jubilation. The deeper things of God are received and understood by faith. And, by the way, the deeper things of God will never contradict the Word of God!
God turns our faith into reality. Allow Him to do so in you. Actually, the reality is that discipleship is not a destination. It is a journey, a life long process of learning and growth. This cannot be accomplished with any precision without the realization that we will never arrive. It is the journey, not the destination, because our destination is already assured and booked. It is a goal that we never obtain here on earth. It is a plan that we are empowered to follow. It is a response of our love for Him. Thus, when we are growing, we are moving so the moss of pride and the pains of apathy do not grow on or infest our lives or the lives of others around us. Without this growth, our options are grim. We will become either stale or evil. For a Christian, there is no good middle ground between these two destinations.
The goal of faith is not the work we do, but our allowing Him to do His will in us. There is no such thing as chance; this is God's providence. We may not understand, so all we can do is "hang tight" and trust Him. With a goal in mind and a destination well planned, we must be cautious of trying to run ahead with our own desires or distractions. That is, we need to make sure we are neither ahead nor behind God's timing. Faith is not an excuse to do what we feel, desire, or want. It must be focused on Christ alone! For this to transpire, we have to be in the Word daily, learning and growing. Did you know that over 20 per cent of Christians never read the Bible? We must know and live out the precepts and the plans that the Bible gives us! The Spirit will enable us to follow.
With the Word in our hands, seen through our eyes, and given to our feet, we then form and cement it with our prayer life. We are made for prayer, and not just for our needs. Prayer is not a tool to get our way and will. Prayer is to bring us closer to Christ. Prayer and faith work together. Prayer and faith create discipleship. Prayer and faith synergistically work together to keep us refreshed and vibrant in Him and to others around us. It is a willingness to obey, a willingness to go ahead in our walk, venturing forward even in the mist of fear and where trepidations lurk. It is a risk; there will be failures and setbacks, but, remember this: God loves you, and it is OK to fail; we all do. Even the greatest leaders of Christendom have at times failed in their walk. The important thing God wants us to know is that He is with us, so we need not give in or give up to fear.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Faith helps us with patience as God will continually place people in our lives that we do not like. Our desire will be to put them down or avoid them. Unless we are truly worshiping God, we will miss crucial learning and growth opportunities. If we persist, He may allow us to fall apart. When we are callous to one another, it is a slap in the face of God. Let us keep His temple undefiled. We must continue to fight against the pride and selfishness that get in the way (Ephesians 6:13-18). That is, we are to wrestle before God against our nature, but never wrestle against God (Genesis 32:24-25) unless we desire to be crippled!
Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:6-9
God's purpose and plan is to make us His children. He is the good Parent who guides and protects His children. At the same time, He does not over-protect them so they lose out on life's opportunities to please Him, to the ultimate good. Here, we are temporarily looking to the hope we have now and to come. Christ will see us through if we trust, obey, and remain in His way.
When we are growing, we become contagious with our faith. We then are able to witness because we have something to say and something to model that people want. When we are growing, we will become the church that Christ designed, mobilized in Him to be welcoming and connective to others for Him. Let us, as the church triumphant, pay heed to His call and follow. Let us apply our faith, then, watch that faith grow and become contagious to others. If we just sit around and come up with excuses, we will drift too far away from the fish. We will not catch anything and the fishing expedition of life will be just a meaningless and wasted trip. Let us allow the power of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and break our will so we can be receptive to our Lord and Savior, and we can do as He called. It all comes down to the decision of whether we will make our faith real and impacting, relinquishing our pride so we can learn, grow, tell, and teach others, or we can plant our rears in the pew, thus making our only impact our butt print in that pew! Let us make sure our impact comes from a life transformed and passed on to the people around us. Let us follow Him and be His fishers of humanity. This is the church triumphant!
We have to make a net of faith before we can learn how use the net of evangelism to fish. We have to learn how to follow Christ before we can show Christ to others.
Questions to Ponder
1. Are you willing to Follow Me (Christ)? If not, what is in the way of your following His Way?
2. If you do not follow, how can you then become "fishers of men?"
3. What does it mean to you to be set apart, challenged to know and grow in the faith? How can this help you apply your call and mission?
4. Becoming a disciple means promising to be living and obeying learners and partakers, and to remove whatever is in the way of your growth. What needs to be done in your life to get this process going, rebooted, rekindled, or to become more in Him and less in yourself (John 3:30)?
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Galatians 3:14
Some passages to consider: Matthew 4:17-19, 23; 9:9; 10:1-15; 28; Luke 6:39-40; Romans 12
© 1999, 2007, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org