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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do We Ever Get Beyond a Little Faith?

I have heard many people tell me that the economy is bad. I believe them. They tell me that people aren't investing, spending or giving because they are afraid of the economy getting worse or even staying where it is. They tell me that people who have jobs are afraid that these jobs will end. They tell me that people are afraid.

Does faith have anything to do with this? Or are all of these things excuses for people to claim to have faith while being faithless?

Did the economy change God's favor? Surely God did not look at the economy and say that he was going to stop supplying what His people needed. God has worked for His people during wars, famines and plagues. The economy didn't stop God's favor.

Is the economy a hurdle that God can't clear? No, God is greater than the economy. In fact, the Scripture tells us that God causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.. So, God is using this bad economy to bring good to those who love Him. In some cases He is bringing people back to Himself because He is all they can trust. In other cases, God is using those who are doing well in this economy to supple the needs of those who need the supply. In all cases He is leading people to understand that they can trust in Him if they just will.

Does this economy mean that God no longer expects us to be obedient? No, that can't be the case. Obedience is required in the good and bad times. In fact, the bad times are when obedience is even more necessary for how will there be good times if we are not faithful during the bad times?

Yet, people are neglecting to tithe, serve or attend church. They aren't having times of prayer nor are they reading their Bibles. I know these things because they are so anxious about the economy. If they were doing these things the anxiety would be gone for they would know that God's love has not wained nor has His favor left us.

I wonder if some people ever get beyond a little faith. They want to say that they believe but they fail to show it. Thus, they don't have it when they need it.

Matthew 6:30-34 (NIV) 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Anonymous said...

A timely message for me. Not because of the economy, tho, but because of a situation with my grandchildren.

Just yesterday, as I was pleading with God about this situation, God reminded me of something He had shown me a few years ago in the Bible's account of Jesus calming the storm during the crossing to the other side of the lake. (Now, everyone else may have seen this all along, but not me.)

That story had always puzzled me. The part about Jesus' statement that the disciples had little faith.

I mean, they clearly believed that Jesus could rescue them or they wouldn't have awakened Him and cried out for Him to do something. They had faith in Jesus to rescue. Well. Isn't that faith?

One day, I asked God to clear that up for me. :} And here it is:

The disciples believed that Jesus could rescue them right then, but their faith fell short when it came to trusting in, resting in, what He had said about the long haul.

Jesus SAID that they were going to go to the other side.

Jesus said that is what would happen, and settled down to take a nap without doubt of the trip's outcome. The disciples? Not so much.

And that is where "little faith" is to be found. Jesus might as well have said to the disciples, "I, God, said we were going to the other side. Why didn't you believe me?"

They had enough faith to cry out for rescue when things got stormy, but too little faith to believe that they would make it to the other side, no matter what, simply because Jesus said they would.

God reminded me, as I was grabbing hold of Him and crying out for rescue, that the disciples and I have much in common.

I believe we should bring our storm to God as a statement of faith that He cares about us and is able to take corrective action.

Having more than 'a little faith' allows us to make our requests known to God without the panic that my recent requests have held, for we know that our outcome will be as He said it would be.


Anonymous said...

The Christian life is a journey; for many, it is a long one, of tens of years, for some, a short one - they pass on, soon after their entry into salvation. It matters not how long the journey is, it is how we have journeyed that is important; and how we finish matters.

Everybody starts somewhere, and it is never you instantly are perfect or near the arrived stature. Preachers who misled in this direction ought to be shot!  Every child of God is to grow, and if, right from the beginning, you are already mistakenly thinking and embracing you are perfect or arrived, self-pride becomes the order of the day, so to speak.  Without humility you cannot grow in the positive way in the Lord; you may grow, but in the negative way.

In this journey of ours, Jesus Himself said that we will have troubles (John 16:33). Despite it being so, we are to journey conforming to the ways of God; that is the will of God for all His children.  Why must we be conformed to the ways of God? It is because we now belong to the holy God; we are to please God.  If you do not conform to His ways, how can you be pleasing to Him. If you instead of growing in righteousness and holiness, grow in wickedness, how can you be pleasing to God?

Heb 12:10-11 gives us a good picture of what is happening in our lives or journey. In essence, the text tells us that God chastises or trains us, in our journey, for our good, so that we share and grow in His holiness.  Why is this growing in holiness important? It is important because: 

1) we are soldiers of God advancing His Kingdom through our lives; every sovereignty has her own righteousness, justice, and ways, which if one is a subject, one is to embrace.  Since we are children of the Father God, subjects of the King, have we no need to embrace that righteousness and justice of God? Of course, we are to.  Ps 89:14 clearly states that the very foundation of God's throne are His righteousness and justice. We have to embrace; the righteousness, the justice, and the ways of God is good, and when we embrace these and live by these, men are to be able to be won over to the Kingdom, because of what they experienced through their contact with us.

2) Isaiah 35:8-10 tells us that this journey that we undertake is called the Highway or Way of Holiness. Satan and his minions will try to get you off this highway. If you don't stick to the ways of God, you can get deceived and get dragged off the highway.

3) this journey will end, and the destination is where we dwell in the presence of God.  Unless we share in His holiness, we will not be able to persist in His presence without offence to His holiness.  It is for our good now, and in the time to come.  Scripture said that without holiness no one sees God.

Generally, God is not the one who brings you and I, the troubles of life; troubles find us, for a number of reasons: 

1) a Fallen world; we are still in a fallen world - things just don't function perfectly.  Many things that hit the non-believers, hit us, too.  We can pray for rain to come and go, but when left alone, rain comes and goes, for both believers and non-believers. Now if the atmosphere is so polluted that it rains acid rain, it falls on both non-believers and believers, for example. A screwed economy's impact has no eyes, i.e. it does not, on its own, do this: "if you are a non-Christian, I will hit you, and if you are a Christian, I will not hit you."

2) Satan and his minions are still running around; like lions going to and fro, devouring who is devour-able.

3) wicked men are all around.


Anonymous said...

Cont. Fr above

Almost all of time, God does not need to create the troubles for us; instead uses the troubles in our life to chastise you and I, and train us, under them. Verse 11 of that Heb 12:10-11 text said that those trained by such chastisement or training of God, will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. Romans 8:28 is always at work - IN ALL things, God works them for the good of those who LOVE Him, who are CALLED according to His purpose.

Why do say all of this, as a response to Ps Prentis' entry about how people are carrying themselves in the face of a coming bad economy, if not one is already here? It is to emphasize to all that we have to first, get our perspective right, that there is no short-cut: it is we have to journey on, despite all these troubles, bad economy, climatic hazards, etc, etc, happening all round us.  It is never a question of being trouble-free, but the mark of a Christian is how he perceives and addresses the troubles and problems that come his way.  

I have run into multiple bad patches of economic times before; as a growing Christian, I have come to be wiser, by the wisdom of God, and I have come to be more dependent on God, instead of being the smart aleck. As I have said earlier, it is how we journeyed that is important (and how we finish, matters).  I cannot, in this comment, go on to talk about what are the right responses, or attitudes of perceiving, and addressing of troubles and problems in much details; this comment would be too long.  Begin to journey WITH God, subscribing to His ways; persevere, and fulfill the conditions of Romans 8:28; trust God that He knows best, even though, at times, things still do not turn, right-side up.  Moses did not become a mighty deliverer until the fullness of season; David went through troubles and troubles from King Saul before he finally becomes King, even though he was anointed to be one, as a young lad, by Samuel. Don't give up sticking and growing in the ways of Kingdom.  God tweaks real-time, despite erroneous depiction of this, by some; be like your Father, He continues to move forward, He does not go back in time, or give up; you too, must act likewise; it is not the end of the journey, that you lose your job, you lose your house, or you lose your spouse; you have God, His word, and His Holy Spirit indwelling you.  There is always one you can turn to, God; but come to Him with humble and contrite heart. Scripture said such He despises not. I also leave you with this secret - LOVE God - read Ps 91:14-15.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions