27 Jul 2011

The faith that changes us: The faith that pleases God

Submitted by Stephen Winters

Faith is:

  1. the thought, the determination, the umption that there has to be more to life than the way things are or appear to be.
  2. the action, the moving force that keeps us on track to keep going, to keep our eyes on the goal, as we persevere, to keep going through the most severe difficulty, to keep us pressing on when it seems impossible.
  3. perseverence. Faith keeps going until the end. Faith helps us to move mountains, to do the impossible because we never quit, we never give up. Every time we fall down and get discouraged, we get up and go again. 
  4. is our inspiration and motivation to see ourselves as we really are and to be willing to change., and to keep going through the difficult things of life that God uses to change us.

One of the biggest challenges in life is realizing that we are wrong, our thoughts are wrong, our ideas are wrong. (STOP! Pause a moment and examine yourself. How did you respond when you read that first sentence?) This is because many of our thoughts and ideas are based upon our emotions. We get often emotionally attached to our thoughts. We think that because we have a thought, then our thoughts are correct. Our thoughts keep us captive. We look at a seemingly difficult task and think, "That is too hard. I'd never be able to do that!" And so we defeat ourselves before we get started. OR we look at a new coworker or a new neighbor with judging thoughts. Something about the way they look or behave gives us judging thoughts. So we avoid them without knowing anything about them.

There have been many times in my life when, before I started a project, had a certain idea about it. But, once I get started on it, find out that it was much different than my initial idea.

I have found a similar thing in correcting/disciplining children, my first thoughts are usually wrong. As an example, I hear an argument or fight between the children in another part of the house. Then one of the kids will come to me and complain about the other child, giving an explanation of how the other child is causing the problem. The description of this child often triggers in my mind thoughts of how the other child is wrong. My first emotional response is about how that other child needs to be punished. However, from many times in the past, I recognize that my first thoughts and emotions about what happened are quite often quite wrong. So, I take the children who complained with me and we go back to the other child and have them each tell me what happened. Many times I have them act out what happened. Most of the time I find out that what I had thought happened was way off.

"19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do" James 1: 19-20

So, when our thoughts and emotions tell us to quickly do something, it is much better to pause (hold off our angry or emotional response, and to investigate what really happened.

"14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2: 14-26

Then we might then ask, what is faith? One way of looking at faith is that faith is the umption that gives us the will to begin and to keep going when we get discouraged and want to quit.

We all have ideas of how we think things are or how we think that life works. From all of our life experiences we think that things are a certain way. What we don't realize, and don't want to see, is that our thoughts are wrong, we are wrong. The result is that our misunderstandings give us a lot of fear, which keeps us in bondange.

Many times in life our first thoughts are wrong. We instantly prejudge a person or a situation without finding out what is real. It often takes a lot of courage, perseverance to face our thoughts and to work through to find out what is real. Faith is the spark that should keep us going to work through until the very end.

The prize is at the end. We don't find out what is real, we don't see things as they really are, until we work through the situation until it is complete. At the end comes the awareness and knowlege of how things really are. It is only then that we realize how wrong we were. It is then that we are released from our fears and the bondage of our own misconceptions.


 

 


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