I’m not going to detail for you the last couple of years as I walked with Christ. There were enormous blessings, over and over again. It’s Jesus’ everlasting love. But there were also times when things were rough. I mean really rough. And more than I would like to confess, there were times when the rough became fits of anger. Am I saying that sometimes Christian’s let the circumstances of the world, and day to day living, affect them? The answer is a resounding YES.
I did not grow up in the church. Only by the grace of God I serve Him and love God with all of my heart. God is my core. I have an eternal and intimate relationship with Him. It’s only by His grace and the mercy He poured out on me that I even exist. The Prophet Isaiah said it this way, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6 NIV) We are but filthy rags when we think about the wondrous, gracious, and merciful God that we serve. Though circumstances are rough, and the outcome may be long and painful, I still believe. I remain. God sustains me.
My faith is very important to me. I desire, and often pray that my life would reflect “Jesus Christ Alive”. Yes, Jesus alive in me and working through me by the power of His Holy Spirit. But because I am human, I fail from time to time. What does God think about my faith when I fail? It was once said that our faith fails, or is fallible, because our view of God is too small. That failed faith refuses to accept a sovereign God who is able. The good news? When our faith fails, God does not. God’s faithfulness in the face of our failure is one that applies to us today: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
Have you ever wondered, what is faith? Faith to me is the unwavering belief in the power of God to equip me to serve Him and glorify Him no matter what. The Bible says “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) The confidence that I have rests with a faithful God even when I don’t see or feel that anything has happened. Does faith squelch my fits of anger when the rough times get devastatingly rough? Sometimes. I’ll be honest… sometimes the light that I desire to shine is not so bright. Faith is truly taking God at His word and trusting Him. This is where humility plays a part; at least for me.
The times that I spend in humble conversation with God everyday are the best times because, in His presence is hope, love, healing, deliverance, recovery and the unending sense that my Father will care for me. In both the Old and New Testaments, it is evident that God is trying to re-establish a relationship with us. Why? Because trust had been broken. And trust and confidence in Him are very important. What kind of relationship could we have if there is no trust? Stop and think about that for a moment. At the very heart of faith is trust and confidence in God and His Word. God will do what He says He will do. Will we trust Him?
Let me go back to the fits of anger. I find that during my angry outbursts with those around me, and even God, I can’t think straight. I’m not open to listening. I just want to take charge and change things. How is it that I can re-establish my relationship with God if anger is in the way? If anger is a barrier to me listening and receiving? This is how… 1 John 1:9 says this, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession and forgiveness is the pathway to a clearer understanding and a willingness to now listen.
So how do we grow in faith and believe what God says in His Word? First, by hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:7 ESV says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” This is foundational. Secondly, faith grows by applying God’s Word. We must take what we are taught and put it into action in our lives. Are we going to be perfect in doing so? No. But if we don’t apply anything and just put on the “Mask” of a true believer who walks in faith, we are kidding ourselves. Our circumstances won’t change and we will find ourselves suffering over and over again. And you know what else? You can’t hide from God. The Bible says this in Hebrews 4:13 NIV, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Friends, the question is Humility or Anger? We will experience both responses. When struggles come, when times get rough, most of us don’t build on the foundation of Christ’s Word. Anger causes us to be deaf and blind and act in ways that may not honor God. God’s Word in James 4:10 NIV says this about humility, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” And “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NKJV and Psalm 51:17 NKJV “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” Humility is the gateway to strong faith.
If you would like to listen to a powerful message by Pastor Aaron Taylor on the “5 Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith”, click on this podcast link: http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=21
I am always thankful to be able to share my thoughts with you. I will be praying that you have an incredible week as God’s Word touches you. God bless you.