Live What You Believe (Galatians 2:11-13)

When a person comes to Chist, they begin a journey of learning and living by faith.  It may sound like an easy task, but it is anything but that.

Remember, the scriptures are your sole source of truth. God may use people that he gives to the church and their gifts to guide and influence you, but in reality, it is still just you and God.  God brings to you truth and he expects you to trust him and live by faith in that truth. 

There may be times when you struggle with this.  Your struggle may come from a mis-understanding of truth or from fear that may keep you from believing and living by faith.  It can happen to the best of Christians.  The scriptures record the Apostle Peter as being one of those who struggled.

When certain disciples came to Antioch from James, Peter, who had previously eaten with the Gentile believers, withdrew and separated himself from them.  It was a terrible decision that brought upon him rebuke from the Apostle Paul.  Furthermore because of his vacillating, he probably confused and offended the Gentile believers, negatively affected his testimony, and hindered his ability to lead and influence others.  The worst was that he grieved the Holy Spirit and disappointed his father in Heaven.  All of this happened because he feared what others would think.

I wonder how many times in my life, I have failed to live as I believed, but instead altered my actions to satisfy others.  Believers need to know what they believe and then live according to that belief without being confused or ashamed. To keep from falling into that trap, I suggest that you consider the following.

1. Expose yourself to the scriptures daily.

2. Learn truth from the scriptures.

3. Believe what the scriptures say and not what others tell you what they say.

4. Ask God for grace to live the truth that you learned and believed: especially when you may be afraid.

5. Praise God each step of the way.

What is being spiritual?

What is being spiritual?

Is it knowing the bible very well to where you can quote large amounts of scripture or at the least scripture to pertains to life’s problems?

Is it demonstrating a faith attitude while in the midst of life’s dark circumstances?

Is it being separated from the world so that you don’t look, act, or speak like them?

Are you spiritual when you overcome the hurts, fears and abuses of life?

I am glad to say that the answer to all of these questions is, “No!”  Satan memorized scripture and then quoted it to Jesus, so that knocks out the first.  The outward appearances of man are not nearly as significant as the inward.  Just because a facade of faith is demonstrated on the outside does not mean that it is possessed on the inside.  Being separated is not an indication of spirituality because countless cults around the world, who deny Jesus Christ, have stringent guidelines for conduct and appearance, yet these people are not spiritual.  In fact, they are still lost in their sin.

Finally, we will look at the overcoming of hurts, fears and abuse.  I know many spiritual people who have not overcome.  This may surprise you, but it is true.  Many may state, “What about greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world?”  I John 4:4 is a good verse.  My reply to that is a question.  How can it be expected for people to overcome in Christ if they have not been given instruction in truth or have been given an incorrect manner of going to God for deliverance.  It is just like countless millions who have been told that they must serve Jesus with works in order for him to save them. These individuals may work tirelessly for years and never obtain salvation.  

In like manner, what victory would be obtained for those who have been hurt and abused if they were given the following advice.

If you want to get victory, sell out for Jesus, live holy, give, separate from the world and pray.  

What a legalistic approach.  How much selling out will be enough?  How can I know when I am holy enough?  Is tithing enough or should I give more? If so, how much?  Hair, clothes, words, actions, entertainment: I am separated…should I turn off my electric too?  After all this, there is no victory.  And then we wonder why people only stay in churches for five years.  These hurting people have done everything they were told to do and came up empty.  No wonder they leave…no wonder they give up.

It is time for us to be spiritual and make a difference.  Let us start with Galatians 6:2: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Faith And Fear Go Hand In Hand (Psalm 56:3)

Some things in life go hand in hand. With love comes heart ache, gray hair with age, weeds with flowers and hand prints on the walls with kids. This so true that we coined a phrase, “We are taking the good with the bad.” Another hand in hand aspect of life is fear with trust.

Faith and fear go hand in hand. You may have fear without faith or trust, but you will never have trust without the presence of fear. (What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalms 56:3). Fear occurs when we emotionally respond to the circumstances in our lives. The circumstances indicate that only bad is about to occur and that we are hopelessly in its path. It is at these times that we anxiously respond to the circumstances. In a frantic effort, we try to change our circumstances or perform some action that will lessen their effect.

However it is at this same time that The Lord wants us to cease from our efforts and rest in what he will do for us in light of the circumstances that we face. When we rest in him, we are trusting. We rest in him when we cease from our own efforts. Is this not what you did when you received salvation? With great effort you tried to perform good works and religious duties to negate the mounding debt of sin that you owed a righteous and holy God. That was, until you heard and understood about the savior. Because he paid your complete debt on the cross, he called you to trust or rest in him. When you rested in him and his finished work completed on the cross, you did so in light of fear, but your trusting brought the results that only God could do.

In this same fashion, we need to look to God for his strength and him to work. We may be experiencing fear with our trial, but in the midst of it, God wants us to trust in him or in other words to rest assure that he is in control and will work out his divine plan, which is best for us. Resting in God is never easy, but we are always able to do this. We cannot escape fear and are not failures as Christians because we fear just as long as we exercise faith in response to our fear.

Remember, faith and fear go hand in hand.


Why Do We a Fear? (Matthew 8:26-27)

Fear is something all of us have experienced and hope to avoid. Sometimes we face trials in life without fear and at other times, fear controls our actions, robs us of the pleasures in life and is the cause for many sleepless nights. Why do we fear? What can we do to keep from fearing?

Fear is the emotion that we experience when we face situations that present harm to us or impending doom. Our two natural responses are to fight the situation or to run away. Running from fear may be the best option. If your house is on fire, run. If you find your self crossing the street and an inattentive driver is speeding your way, get out of the way. If you get attacked by an individual, your best response may be to fight your way out. Fighting and running away are good responses, but they will not work for us as we face trials in life. Believers can experience high levels of fear in their lives as they face trials. Running away from problems does not work. Fighting trials creates more trials such as anxiety, depression, resentment, anger, bitterness and the list can go on. The reason people fear is because they do not understand or recognize the Lord’s power or plan to deal with the situations that they are facing. (Matthew 8:26-27)

In the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples experienced fear as they faced the storm at sea with the waves coming over the sides of the boat. Granted they did wake The Lord and asked him to save them, but they were also amazed when he spoke the sea into calmness. What did the disciples expect Jesus to do when they awoke him? Did they expect him to aid in bailing out the water? Did they expect him to provide to them an extra measure of ability to fight the storm? Looking back at the event reveals that he had neither intention. The disciples had fear because they did not understand the power that The Lord possessed. Later in their lives they would grasp this understanding and willfully place their lives on the line as they spread the gospel to the entire world. But at this time, their knowledge was limited. Fear also comes when a person fails to grasp the sovereignty of God and recognizes that he is in control and can work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

When facing trials, do not fight your way through or run from them. Instead, look to The Lord. Pray for him to guide your steps through the trial. Cast your care upon him and let him know that you are depending on him to resolve the issue or to give you strength to endure the trial (1 Peter 5:7). The victory will always come through him and not from ourselves. If you have any comfort or confidence in your plans of action, you are most likely facing the trial alone because you have not yet relinquished control of the trial to The Lord. It is important to remember that if you do respond to problems correctly, the trial may not necessarily disappear as quickly as it came. Trials are for a purpose and until the purpose is attained, the trial will continue. Your faith may need to be displayed before many people before the trial ends. Until that time arrives, God wants you to experience peace in the midst of your trial.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.