Christian Living

How to Be Faithful

Sorry guys! I know it’s been a while. We’ve been fighting through more car and computer problems. I feel like it’s the story of my life lately! Anyway, computer availability has been spotty, but hopefully we have a solution now at least for e-mail and blogging. This week I’ve been thinking a lot about faithfulness. Probably because I’ve been tired and in pain a fair bit which has slowed my activity level. For a long time, I thought faithfulness was about how I acted, what I did. Having a chronic illness that occasionally brings my life to a screeching halt has forced me to reexamine that belief.

So what is faithfulness?

The definition I wrote down last week was “living each moment according to faith’s perspective.” It’s being full of faith in a tangible way. I’m reminded of James 2:18–“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. ”

There’s kind of two ends of the spectrum we can fall prey to: thinking about faithfulness and acting faithful without faith. Thinking about faithfulness is when we work on having faith in our minds. It’s not true faith though unless it changes the way we live. It’s like identifying a tree by its fruit–someone can tell you all day long that it’s an apple tree, but if it bears cherries, they’re wrong.

Acting faithful without faith is what Jesus called the Pharisees on. They went through the motions of faithfulness without having the substance behind it. There wasn’t love for other or God motivating them–it was all about the outward obedience.

Faith is somewhere in the middle–it’s having the conviction and acting it out. It’s believing that God’s perspective on life is correct, that when He says something, it’s true. With our car and computer issues, it means believing that God really will provide abundantly–regardless of how I feel about the situation or how it appears to me.

So faithfulness is something we can all do even when things are hard or we’re sick or… you get the point. We can all ask God to give us His perspective on things and then act in accordance with that. We can choose to have joy and not to worry. It’s not easy, but, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s possible.

What does faithfulness look like in your life?

Blog_ How to Be Faithful

 

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A Wide Open Mouth

Psalm 81:10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. (NIV)

I’ve been meditating on this verse for the past year or so. It’s one that I have in my verse cards. And as I’m (slowly) working through Beth Moore’s study on James, it came up again. In one of the videos she discussed how faith gains more than it asked and doubt loses more than it had (e.g., Matthew 13:11-12). It’s a terrifying thought. How often do I ask flippantly for something and not even pay attention to the answer? How often do I ask without expectation, without faith?

It’s happened before, but recently I was driving to the store and was in a fair amount of pain. The parking lot seemed full. I groaned out a half-hearted prayer for a close parking spot, and then started looking for a spot about halfway down the aisle. I caught sight of one about 3/4 of the way back and as I drove toward it, I realized I had inadvertently missed an open spot–the one that was second in. Someone else snagged it right away, but it struck a chord.

I so often start looking for an answer less than what God wants to give me. I miss blessings because I’m not praying in faith. I find myself coming to God with my little thimble, rather than opening wide my mouth–praying for the impossible. After all, God is the God of the impossible. Why do I self-edit my prayers, circumscribing them down to what appears easily within reach? In my case, I’ve been convicted that it’s a lack of faith. Happily, unbelief and lack of faith are things God specializes in.

God, please change my heart. Show me what it means to open wide my mouth–to pray for bushel baskets of blessing. Forgive me for my unbelief. Please replace it with faith. Thank You for Your grace in teaching me and continually rescuing me from myself! In Jesus’ Name, amen!