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Saying one thing and doing another – Checking our faith.

Story:

I smiled at the couple, and said “retirement has become tricky for many baby boomers, because people keep borrowing money to buy toys, which causes them to withdraw too high of a percentage from their portfolio in retirement.”  This baby boomer couple then replied with “oh, that’s not us,” we love Dave Ramsey and we hate debt.

I had been connecting with this baby boomer couple to discus their retirement plan, and I was encouraged to hear them say they don’t have debt since their retirement savings was really low.

“Let’s see what you’ve done for retirement so far” I said.

What unfolded next was astounding, and yet all-too-common.  While they gave lip service to disliking debt, their balance sheet was riddled with consumer debt.

While they said they agreed with anti-debt principles, their lives did not show the evidence of living it out.

Saying one thing and doing another is something we’re all apt at doing, isn’t it?

I hypocritically say one thing, and do another, all the time…. Like when I chastise my wife for looking at her phone too much….

When my wife is looking at her phone when I don’t think she should, I cynically say “Smeeeeeagol…. ” and then cough like Andy Serkis, “Gollum Gollum,”  because I think she’s treating her phone like “the precious” in the story “The Lord of the Rings.”

I’ll chastise her about looking at her phone too much, but then wayyyy too often she’ll catch me doing the exact same thing and mockingly say “smeagol, smeagoooooollll”

I’m sick – I do hypocritical things all the time.  I’ll say one thing and then I’ll live another.

It’s unhelpful when we’re hypocrites in life, but when our FAITH is just a bunch of talk, rather than authentic, we’re in deep trouble. 

Today I was reading in first 1 Corinthian chapter 4, where Paul is confronting the church in Corinth because they were picking sides as either being a disciple of Paul or Apollos. Long story short, they’re fracturing themselves because of who’s teachings they preferred.

This petty nonsense causes Paul to realize that there are probably people that are just giving lip-service to a faith in Christ. 

Paul tells them that he’s going to visit them and sniff out the imposters.  He writes:

“But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:19-20

This means that a hallmark of authentic faith is one that’s not just talked about, but is evident by a new life being lived.  This is hard to understand, because salvation doesn’t come from doing good works, but authentic faith is shown by good works.

We’re not saved by what we do, we’re only saved by faith.

We are clearly taught that faith alone saves us, not our own works. But we need to remember that we are saved through “justification,” meaning we are no longer on the hook for the penalty of breaking God’s law.

When we are to the point where we genuinely “confess with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved.” (Romans 10:9)

We all break God’s law by sinning, making us guilty, and the punishment for our sin is death.

We will all face a judgement. and we will all stand guilty before God. except for those of us who’s penalty has been taken care of by Jesus.

Jesus’ free gift to us, available through faith, is Him “taking care of” the penalty for our guilty sentence.

Jesus taking care of our guilty sentence is called “justification,’ as He “atones” for our sins, reconciling us to God the father and re-instating a right-standing relationship with Him.

How do we partake in this justification?  by faith.

Faith is the confidence in, and authentic confession of, that “Jesus is Lord,” and believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.”

I’m trying to be precise here, because it’s important to know that although Peter says that the “kingdom of God is not just talk, but power”  we are only saved through faith.

But authentic faith is marked by a changed life, or a physical manifestation” to the true conviction of authentic faith.

If our faith is real, it will show in the way we live.

James, the brother of Jesus said it this way, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26)

That’s what Peter is saying, that these people might be just a bunch of talk, but their lives will show the power of God working in them as a result of faith.

Our transformed lives are a testament, or judicial argument, for an authentic faith.

“For it is God at work within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13)

That last verse means that God’s the one who works inside of our mind, spirit, body, and circumstances, to give us both the power and the desire, to do what pleases Him.

Paul wants to do what he can to help these “spritual babies” mature into a “full experience of Christ”, in the same way that parents want to raise children that can have a full experience os a whole and full life.  Paul literally says that he’s these people’s spiritaul “father”, and it’s this fatherly love and approach that causes him to remind these rebellious children that perhaps he will come “with a rod, or with a spirit of love and gentleness” (1 Cor 4:21)

True faith, will eventually have the desire to mature and grow into a full experience of Christ. It will also have a steady trajectory, fueled by both the fear of the Lord and the hope of His promises, 

We should fear God, while also being filled with Hope because of His true Promises.

“For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20)

This piece of God’s word should cause us to stop at examine our lives.

Every day we have to die to our old self, and abide in Christ

Ultimately, God is working within us both to will and to work for his good pleasure. That means it is God who gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases him. While our words, thoughts, and hearts are important, the ultimate test of our faith, is how we are living our lives.

It’s really hard sometimes to stop sinning, in fact, Paul, the guy who saw Jesus face to face in a miraculous encounter and wrote half the Bible,  says that even he wrestles with his ability to stop sinning. (Romans 7:15)

Love is what Jesus wants us to be marked by.

Jesus said “a new commandment I give you, to love one another, just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. By this, all people would know that you are my disciples. If you have love for one another To love one another. By this, all people would know that you are my disciples. If you have love for one another ” (John 13:34-36)

To determine if you have an authentic faith, examine your life to see if you are obeying the number one Commandment: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that every single commandment in the entire old and New Testament can be summarized by this one prime command.

 

Three Ways our Life can show God’s Power, rather than just be talk:

  1. Use God’s word as the standard for your life
  2. Seek feedback from other believers who are wise.
  3. Invite God to expose your heart, and show you where you’re missing the mark.

 

1 – Using God’s word as a measurement of your life

God’s word is a powerful tool, which exposes our innermost heart and our desires.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It exposes our innermost desires as though separating bone from marrow, and

Faith comes from hearing, that is hearing the word of God.

Faith comes from hearing, that is hearing the word of God.

While scripture was written by people, it is inspired by God and is the supreme authority for all things in faith and conduct.  If I have or might not teach you how to repair a refrigerator, but it certainly shows us how to be the type of person that makes for great refrigerator repair man. Every morning it is really helpful to grow your faith by reading a little snippet of God’s word. The easiest way to do this, is to read one chapter of something in the New Testament every day, one chapter from Proverbs, and one chapter from Psalms. I would also recommend that you get through the narrative of the Old Testament as well. Perhaps every other day you add in one chapter from the Old Testament.

Something in the New Testament every day, one chapter from Proverbs, and one chapter from Psalms. I would also recommend that you get through the narrative of the Old Testament as well. Perhaps every other day you add in one chapter from the Old Testament.

When you go to read the Bible. I equate it a lot like a baby and it’s diet. When you first get started, it’s really important to use a version of the Bible that is in your own vernacular and it’s easy to read. The new living translation or an LT, is very easy for us to read  and provides us with God’s word in our common for macular. It’s not that God’s word has changed at all as some people would argue, it’s that our vernacular has changed so drastically over time. Just trying to read the founding fathers documents, and you’ll realize that just 200 years ago, things are very different in terms  of communication. If things were so different 200 years ago, think of how different it was 2000 or 5000 years ago. Wild and LTE version of the Bible is very easy to read, VESV and the new King James version are much more accurate to the original documents.

To the original documents.

The most important thing is that we take in gods word every day in a little bit so that it can uninstall the corrupt operating systems in our life, and install new desires and programs.  It might mean that you have to go into a room before you start your checklist in the morning, and just read. It could mean that you use that you version app to listen to the Bible on your way to work, rather than listening to the radio. No matter what, God’s word will help you in life and this should not be something that you constantly feel as a burden, but a promise that you should caption with God.

Something that you constantly feel as a burden, but a promise that you should caption with God.

God promised that his word will improve our lives, but not necessarily keep us from trouble or persecution from the world. Our marriages, friendships, Relationships, jobs, and everything else, will have a greater opportunity to flourish when we are applying God’s words to our life.

Relationships, jobs, and everything else, will have a greater opportunity to flourish when we are applying gods words to our life.

Invite Wise feedback

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