Sunday, June 5, 2016

Is Your Faith Effective?

Written by Lori with Ken's corrections and insights! 
Is your faith effective? Do others want what you have? Do you have joy and peace that only the Lord can give? Have you been transformed by the power of God's Word, or more likely to be complaining, unhappy and fearful? There is one verse in the book of Philemon that explains how we make our faith effective. Hearing of thy love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus {Philemon 5, 6}. 

Too many Christians go around telling others how broken they are and how they must die to themselves daily. We sing songs in church about our brokenness. Many complain about how sinful they are and share their weaknesses with others. Why would unbelievers be attracted to this behavior or to a powerless Christ? Doesn't the God of the universe live inside of them? To many this is a badge of humility to wear one's weaknesses in the open for all to see, but have they ever considered that such sins are placed on the cross so as to stop entangling them again and again?  

Philemon 6 tells us that we make our faith effective by "the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." What are these good things that are in us now that we are new creatures in Christ, and Christ now lives inside us?  We who believe have the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance {Galatians 5:22, 23}. We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that we should show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light {1 Peter 2:9}. We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us, and the list of promises of who we are goes on and on. Just open up the Word of God and discover all of the good things that are in you because of Christ Jesus. {Read my Roman's study by Michael Pearl.}

To make our faith effective we must grab a hold of God's promises and believe them. We do not deny that a Christian can sin, nor believe that one can never be addicted or not be entangled in sin. But this sinful life should not characterize the believer. It is the fruit of the Spirit that must become who we are, no longer the flesh and fleshly ways. 

We are taught, even by modern psychology, that we will do what we focus upon. Imagine the golfer who stands over his shot saying over and over "don't hit a bad shot... don't slice... don't screw this up like the last shot," only to discover that they slice the ball over and over again. When we are consistently focused on being sinful and speaking about it often, we rob ourselves of a focus on God's promises, on loving and serving others. But when we begin to believe God's promises and that the God of the universe lives inside of us, then loving the Lord will naturally flow out of our transformed lives. 

Stop listening to the lies of the enemy that want you to focus on your sins and failures. If God is willing to see your sins no more because He only looks to Jesus for those who are in Christ, why don't we do the same? We can watch our pesky sins, bad habits and addictions fall away each and every time that we choose to believe God instead of our flesh and circumstances. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind with Truth. God calls you a saint who has been freed from the power of sin and dead to the condemnation of sin. Walk in the freedom and newness of life that Christ has died to give you! Surely the Truth has set us free! Are you free indeed?