I am a Pastor who is praying to know how to lead in faith while being a wise, Spirit-responsive, other-centered person. Knowing where wisdom ends and faith begins is not an easy thing to discern. In coming weeks, it is likely that it will become possible to gather once again for worship. Doing so will involve risk. What is the right thing to do? You have your own decisions to make that will require faith and wisdom. If called back to work, where does faith start and fear end? In entrusting your kids to schooling, when is the appropriate time?
No choice is without cost, as we have seen nationally. When we prioritize the safety, the economy takes a huge hit, and there is a financial cost to families that may be part of their lives for years to come. If we prioritize ‘normality’ the risk of sickness, and possibly death, increases, though it remains debatable to what degree. Many of us, I think, might feel a little like a bungee jumper who jumps off the bridge over a chasm. Though connected to a strong elastic, he cannot help but wonder, during the free fall, if the cord will hold when he hits the end of it.
Though we know the promises of God, it is quite human to wonder as we lean on Him: will He catch me? Everyone who follows Jesus Christ faces the choice of faith; not once, but each day.
Our very Gospel pivots on faith.
Will we trust the promise of God’s grace or continue in our own religious works?
Our security rests on faith.
Will we attempt to create wealth and relationships that make us feel secure or will we live with our hope resting on the Rock, secured by His Word?
True faith is constantly renewed. Grandpa’s faith is insufficient for today’s challenges. Our own faith that kept us a decade ago needs to be bolstered by discovery of faith that is sufficient for today. “The righteousness of God (is) revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17, KJV) If you don’t understand Paul’s point, let me restate it. Faith for today is laid on the foundation of yesterday’s faith in an ongoing process; faith to faith.
Genuine faith does not exempt one from feeling real fear! In the book of Daniel, we meet faithful men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were Jews who had been carried off to serve in Babylon when Assyria conquered Jerusalem, ripped from their homes and transported hundreds of miles into an alien culture. There they faced the challenge of hanging onto their faith in Yahweh or being assimilated into the religion and culture of Assyria. The safe choice was to ‘go along to get along.’ The faith choice was to trust the Lord. They chose the Lord and He gave them want they needed. (Read the first 6 chapters of Daniel prayerfully and those words will renew you in faith!)
One day the megalomaniac king decided that he would set up a giant image of himself and require all of his administrators to give worshipful homage to it or face a fiery death. These men could not bow to an idol and keep their faith intact. Did they feel fear? Judge for yourself as you read their response to the king’s demand. “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NLT) Do not miss that phrase – ‘even if He doesn’t!’ They fully recognized that their choice could bring them death and they were willing to make the faith choice anyway!
Are you facing a choice of faith today? Don’t confuse the fact that you are experiencing some fear with a conclusion that you must be faithless. Instead, focus on God. ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus’ the Scripture counsels us. I have told myself that a hundred times this week! “Jerry, keep your eyes on Jesus who instilled faith in you and who keeps faith alive in you.” And I know, from the Word and my testimony, that HE is faithful even when I am faithless. Praise Him.
Accepting God’s gift of faith will ask you to set out from the known, from what you perceive to be safe, to leave behind the comfortable. God WILL meet you there. Ponder this word from the Word. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (James 2:14-18, NIV) (If you intrigued by that excerpt, here is a link to the entire chapter which inspires me to greater faith. James 2)
Let’s grow in faith together, encouraging each other. Lose any critical spirit. Reject any judgment. Quell the emotions. Exercise faith!
I hope to ‘see’ you online this Sunday, 10 am, for virtual worship.
(Faith Discovery Church)
(Mercy Me sings a song built around the story in Daniel I shared above)
They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
“It is well with my soul”
I know the sorrow and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful
You’ve been good all of my days
Jesus I will cling to You come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You care
I hope in You alone ooh
It is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul
Bart Millard | Ben Glover | Crystal Lewis | David Arthur Garcia | Tim Timmons © 2017 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
9t One Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Ariose Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
All Essential Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)
Letsbebeautiful (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)
Tunes of MercyMe (Fair Trade Music Publishing [c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])
Crystallized (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) D Soul Music (Admin. by Spirit Music Group)
CCLI License # 810055