Archives For Faith

When all else has passed away, faith, hope, and love will remain (1 Corinthians 13:13). Faith, hope, and love are the essence of our belief in God. They are the underpinnings of all Christianity is meant to be. On a personal level, they are the glue holding our lives together. Take any one of the three out of the equation, and things begin to unravel. Together, they are the anchor of our soul.

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Without faith, hope, and love it would be impossible to please God or serve others. Without faith, hope, and love we could never know or understand God. While the apostle Paul singles out love as being the most important of the three, I submit without faith and hope, you could never have love in the first place.

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Spiritual warfare is a real and ever-present occurrence in the life of a disciple of Jesus. We spend most of our days fighting off Satan. Whether it’s in the subtlety of the decisions we make each day or getting smacked in the face with a major challenge to our faith, for as long as we are seeking to follow Christ we’ll be fighting off Satan. On our own, we’ll lose every time. Our sinful, physical beings are no match for the dark spiritual forces swirling about us.

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But Jesus not only can defeat Satan, He already has. Satan is no longer any match for those who are allowing Christ to live through them. Knowing this, why do we so often succumb to the temptations of the devil? Why are we not finding more success standing against him?

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Jeremy Camp has written a song titled, “The Same Power”. It reminds us the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. How often do we live as if this is true? We spend our days trying to solve problems in our own strength. We never want to be seen as incapable or weak. Our image often seems to be our primary concern. Jesus said He is glorified through our weakness. Indeed, it is only when we humble ourselves enough to say we can’t do it on our own that His power is allowed to manifest itself in our lives.

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He longs to fill and equip us with His strength but gives us the option to accept it or not. He leaves it up to us to decide if we will call upon the power residing within us through His Spirit, or choose to attempt to conquer this world on our own.

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We should all want to be fierce followers of Christ. As a people, it seems Christians have lost a lot of the aggressiveness of those who came before us. For whatever reason, it has become fashionable for Christ followers to cower into passivity, doing whatever necessary to keep from offending anyone. This isn’t the life we saw modeled by Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to step on some toes when necessary. While he was the most gentle, caring, and loving person to ever walk this planet, He also possessed a sharp tongue and an intense passion for the truth.

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He didn’t let those who were perverting the truth slide by unnoticed; He called them out. Jesus pointed out what was wrong with the world and rebuked demonic influences in it. He was as quick to chastise those teaching false standards of living as He was to gently heal a person trapped in a life they did not want to live.

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What fears and excuses get in the way of you living on mission for Christ? What keeps you from living the life He created you to live? If Jesus was, at some point in your life, worth surrendering your life to Him, I’m going to assume you meant it. I will presume you do not wake every day contemplating ways to live in opposition to His Kingdom and His plan.

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My guess is you want to live your life for Him. You want to be the person He created you to be, because you understand you will never find true peace, joy, and fulfillment any other way. If all this is true, what are the reasons you have for not living on mission?

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Most are familiar with the story of Moses and the burning bush. If you grew up in church, it was one of those Sunday School lessons that tend to stick with you. Too often, the story is left in one of those Sunday School rooms, never to be examined again. Re-reading the story this week, it struck me how like Moses we all are. Before you feel too good about yourself, I’m not intending this as a compliment.

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Moses had many amazing qualities, but this was not his finest moment. God called, and Moses balked. He gave excuses why he wasn’t the right man for the assignment. He explained he wasn’t equipped for the job and asked God to send someone else. How many times have we done this when God gives us something to do?

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So why do we do this Jesus thing? Why would we devote our lives to a man who was last seen alive more than 2,000 years ago, and to a God we cannot see? Everyone is going to live for something or someone. But why Jesus? What compels us to live radical, counter-cultural lives for His sake? These are fair questions, and ones to which every Christ-follower should have an answer.

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We’ll dive into this a bit, but my immediate answer would be to respond as Peter did when Jesus asked if he would desert Him. Peter’s response? “Where else would I go (John 6:67-68)?”

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Becoming a disciple of Jesus can seem like a lot of work, but upon closer examination, we see work has little to do with it. Instead, following Jesus as a true disciple is about doing just a few things well. As I’ve continued my journey to discipleship, I’ve come to realize there are three keys to spiritual success. Craig Groeschel summed these up well in his latest book, “Divine Direction”.

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He wrote, “It’s the faithfulness to do mundane things well, develop productive habits, and to remain faithful that eventually leads to success.” These are three simple concepts, all of which have the potential to unleash incredible results in our quest to live a more Christ-like life.

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Every so often, I like to increase the amount of hate mail I receive. There’s no better way to assure this than discussing the faith (or grace) vs. works topic. As I have stated previously, I don’t fall into either the faith or works camp. I believe one without the other is useless, and believe there is strong Scriptural support to say the answer isn’t either faith or works, but rather faith and works. James says plainly in his letter faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).

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Coming from the brother of Jesus, I’m going to consider him a strong authority. There’s more to say about this, however. To those in either the faith or works camp, I urge you to keep reading. Not so I might persuade you to agree with me, but rather to take an honest look at what Scripture says about this and consider the eventual logic behind each view.

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It’s Thanksgiving day in America. While I recognize a good number of readers are not Americans, being thankful is something to which we can all relate. So whether you celebrate Thanksgiving in your culture or not, I suggest we all take some time today to reflect on all our blessings. Even if you are struggling in this season of life, I am confident you can find some things for which to be grateful.

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Something amazing happens when we pray prayers of gratitude. Our attitude changes. Our physical countenance improves. Most of us forget how truly blessed we are and take much of our lives for granted. But today, just for a little while, let’s reorient our focus on simply being thankful for everything God has done for us.

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