October 7, 2010

Just Like Us

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in The Journey

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I’m thinking about faith today.  Or more particularly stepping out in faith, the hurdles to acting on faith, and how I might respond to those.

Spurgeon:  My faith rests not on what I am or will be, or on what I feel or know, but on who Christ is, on what He has done, and on what He is still doing for me.

Hebrews chapter 11 gives us the “Honor Roll of the Faithful”, as it is called in the NKJV translation.  It’s an overview of what each of these people did and what actions occurred “by faith” – Abel (v4), Enoch (v5), Noah (v7), Abraham (v8, 17), Sara (v11), Isaac (v20), Jacob (v21), Joseph (v22), Moses’ parents (v23), Moses (v24), God’s chosen people escaping Egypt (v29), walls of Jericho fell (v30), Rahab (v31), and Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephithah, David, Samuel and the prophets (v33).  It’s by no means an exhausting list:

  • What about Joshua’s faith to pray that the sun would stand still? (Joshua 10:12)
  • What about Esther’s faith to approach the king about saving the Israelites? (Esther 7:3-4)
  • What about Nehemiah’s faith to approach the kind about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem? (Nehemiah 2:1-7)
  • What about Elijah’s faith to predict the three year drought (1 Kings 17:1), to raise the widow’s son (v17-20); and to defeat the prophets of Baal (18:36)?

And yet, God tells us that “Elijah was a man just like us” (James 5:17).  I think that’s true of all on the “Honor Roll”; they weren’t a breed above us from whom more was expected, they were men and women “just like us.”  Add to that list of honored faithful the twelve disciples of Jesus.  A bunch of ordinary men that God used to change the world!  Aren’t we today’s ordinary people?  We know that God doesn’t change, right? (Numbers 23:19, James 1:17, Psalm 15:4). So aren’t we primed to change the world?

So what are we afraid of today?  Is it fear that holds us back from asking Jesus what He wants us to do today?  Is it fear that holds us back from obeying what He has told us to do?  Recall those experiences on the “Honor Roll”; do you think they were afraid?  Their faith clearly overcame their fear.

God knew we would be afraid and that the devil would use that fear to make us ineffective in our work for the Kingdom.  The King James version of the Bible includes “fear not” 63 times.  That’s 63 commands God!  And yet, we are oftentimes afraid:

  • I can’t do it
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not smart enough
  • I’m not big enough
  • I’m not small enough
  • I can’t speak
  • I can’t sing
  • I’ll be embarrassed
  • They will laugh at me
  • They will think less of me
  • They will call me names
  • They will think I’m crazy
  • They won’t like me
  • They won’t love me

Any of those sound familiar?  Certainly do for me.  All those “I’s” and “they’s” are our problem; where’s the He?  The fear of rejection is a powerful tool for the devil.  Rejection by our peers … rejection by our family.   We wouldn’t think twice about stepping out to tell our friends and family about the new restaurant we went to; or to relive the highlights of the Hogs game; or to complain about losing the Ryder Cup to the Europeans; or to talk about something cool at work, at home, or at school.  We talked about this at Journey Church (www.discoverjourneychurch.com) last Sunday. But talking about what God is doing in our lives?  That’s scary.  Why is that?  To share our faith, we have to be willing to make ourselves vulnerable.  We had to make ourselves vulnerable to repent our sins and accept Jesus as the Way.  And turns out, that was easy compared to making ourselves vulnerable to each other.  Dictionary.com defines “vulnerable” as capable or or susceptible to being wounded or hurt.  It seems easier to avoiid the possibility of being hurt by just avoiding the topic altogether.  But that’s not what we’re commanded to do.

When we believe that nothing can separate us from God (Romans 8:38) … accept that everything works together for the good of the believer (Romans 8:28) … know that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13) … and we have 63 commands from God to not be afraid … why are we still afraid?  What more do we need to step out in faith?

Nothing.  We have all we need in Him.  We just have to take the first step.  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

    Loving the journey,

    Kevin

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