By definition, is faith even exercised if our lives are acted out in situations of certainty. Hebrews 11 defines faith as, “confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” So, what is, “stepping out in faith?” Should we all, at all times, be exemplifying this type of extreme lifestyle? Making decisions on a regular basis that ask more of us than we seemingly have the capacity for. It says that Abraham moved his family to a place he had never been because of direction from God. Incredible. I have heard that, “perfect obedience leads to perfect faith”, and that “obedience-is faith best illustrated.” That being said, what is God asking you? What is your conscience tugging at? For the rest of my life I will be working on my attitudes, and behaviors, challenging my beliefs, and questioning my mindsets. I know for certain that there are things I believe now that will not make sense 5, 10, 20 years from now, so, I leave room for truth to change what I believe. 2 Peter 1:5-9, “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Warning) But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” Seven attributes that each could be thoroughly taught over, but the point for this is that the Bible is explicitly saying we should constantly/consistently be challenging ourselves. Whether we are developing as individuals, or increasing our faith through obedience, each day should be filled with introspection, that leads to outward obedience. GUILTY. This is not always me. There are daily choices that I make (which are good) that have become habit, and aren’t as calculated as they were eight months ago. Which, in itself is a good thing, but is that where it stops? Certainly not, where is my challenge. There is still areas that need to be changed and mindsets that are contrary to Jesus’s, so my level of urgency and challenge should be no less than it was the day I left a twelve month rehab center. Paul said, “I have not already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Sure doesn’t sound too satisfied, despite the completion of two-thirds of the New Testament.
Agenda: Look, this is a lot of explanation for a few very simple principals: 1) Our faith should be consistently taking us to uncomfortable places. 2) Our level of urgency should never diminish when it comes to character development and advancement of the gospel. These are always written as much for my criticism, as it is for your exhortation, but today hits home with a greater thud. There is conviction and I am doing my best to welcome it. I pray it is never said, “I became short-sighted,” but unfortunately my vision isn’t always that great. My Savior has saved me from much, and the least I can do is try and become a better person, or be obedient when He tells me to talk to someone. I began writing this understanding that although I have a busy life, and it is as fulfilling as it has ever been, I am relatively comfortable. I am ending this post disappointed, because I have not been obedient enough, and obedience is a pre-requisite for taking my relationship with God to the next plane.
I found out this past week that we will be going to Greece to work with Syrian refugees. It is exciting, and nerve-racking considering the circumstances, which will be filled in as they come. But, this morning, what is reverberating in my Spirit is my own effectiveness while I am there, and without a doubt I know it is contingent on my obedience-and that begins now. You see, God is the most effective solution and He has a plan to be used, but it is up to us to be obedient to that plan.
I am grateful for His direction and conviction, and by faith I put my trust in His plan, no matter what that creates. He is closer than you know.
Until next time.