Sunday, January 2, 2011

We can be a "People of Faith" in 2011

Why not start the new year that God has granted by seeking to live by faith rather than live by resolution? Resolutions are made to be broken because generally speaking, we are weak. But faith works in weakness. It overcomes weakness because it denies the self the gratitude of accomplishment. Remember the words of Paul when he decried, "...For when I am weak, then I am strong"? (2 Cor. 12:10b) He was happy to be so because his weakness empowered the Lord to be His strength. It is a simple principle of life yet often, one very hard to learn - nonetheless, one in which we would do well to practice.

When we are weak we parlay strength to another. This can be seen on many fronts but where I see it most effectively is in faith paired with humility. Ah, humility, one of humanities hardest quests - it always strides down the avenue of loneliness. You see, our flesh craves attention and gratification; it desires, really craves, to be fed. But faith greets the cravings of the flesh with temperance and humility. For example, an individual performs a task that few others do in this life.  His/her first intent is to boast of it before others. In casual conversation amongst those who are uninformed our flesh first desires to burst out in the strenghth of accomplishment in order that the uninformed may give us the nod of "wow! your so much better than I or we!"  Well....are we really? Or did we just put a God given talent into action? Isn't that something, all people can do if they simply apply their hands and feet to their talents and even more so, if they say "Yes" to the Lord when He calls them out for service. Truly, the actions of the flesh are fleeting and cravings can only be filled by more, more, and more of the same.  But simple faith triumphs over the flesh.  In this example, if we button our lips then any good that may come because of our accomplishments happens behind the scenes, God then must water it and others may become empowered by the fruit that the accomplishment brings. God, or even another is honored to use it in the way He or they voluntarily desire.  In other words, we give others the empowerment to profit, not because we told them what we did, but because they discover it naturally and it prospers for what it was sent out to do.

What then are people of faith? Are they the types who close their eyes tightly, clasp their hands together firmly, and with all the emotion they can muster squeeze out, "I believe" then go away reckoning that they said a prayer of faith so God should respond because He is supposed to? Or are they those who simply realize that in this world there are "two lives" granted to us. The first we are born with and without proper Christian upbringing, will become the one that we desire to feed, protect and promote. In that life, the way we live and act will always be based upon what we saw, read, touched, and heard as we grew up. It thrives on the influences that surrounded us as we grew up. And it craves to be fed.

The second life is a "life-in-waiting" for it never becomes life until we realize the first life has fatal flaws. The first life is insufficient in every way to evolve into the second. It is corruptible by nature and seeks to always lift itself higher.  When that does not occur it bleeds and it cries out in a myriad of emotional distraughts.  It then entangles us in a web of neurological and even physical sickness.

The second life, is always there.  It waits to start living within us.  It is God's plan, His purpose, His desire, and His creation.  It can only become reality when we realize the weakness of the first and the dire need for the Lord to spark the second to life.  This happens when we humbly lay ourselves before Him, confessing or sin and weaklness-really our disasters- and ask Him to raise us up in His strength.  Pauls said in the oft quoted verse of Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  You see "His purpose" is the key to this passage.  His purpose is His life within us.  It is there and only there where the true strength available to us is discovered. 

This year lets us seek Him and His purpose as our inspiration.  Obedience is the key as He works in us to fulfill His desire.  At the same time, we become a new creation and the life He desires to live through us will become the life that honors Him and puts others first.  We realize in the second life that He is first and because of our weakness we have no reason to boast before others.  They too, are honored as we seek to allow His strength to work through us. 

Faith is allowing God to always have control and to listen with obedient intent to His loving voice.  In doing so, you will receive the favor of His blessing-really His strength, coming to light before your very eyes.

May God begin to work His work in you this very day!

God Bless,

MIke

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