At the seat of the new man in Christ is faith. All that man is will come from his faith. Trials are not temptations to sin, but are testing of that faith. The results of the testing of faith affect man, testify to those around them and are intended to bring praise, honor and glory to God.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:7)
It is not our actions that bring glory to God, but instead our faith. Abstaining, performing and working may all appear to be what is expected of men, but they are not. Each of these could have a motive other than faith. Fear, shame and pride could all motivate man to strive at achieving these and the results would be nothing more than wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12). Many have failed because they focused on producing the by products of faith instead of yielding faith to God.
Abide in the vine and you will yield the vine’s fruit. Read his word for the purpose of knowing and experiencing him. Do this so that your heart will love him more and become devoted to him. This is what is pleasing to the Lord.
Since the scriptures say, the just shall live by faith. Are you performing or abiding? The actions may appear the same: one will bring praise, honor and glory, but the other will yield shame.
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: (Colossians 1:2a)
What is it to be faithful in Christ? Is it to abide by a doctrine of beliefs? Do I need to continually learn doctrine and make sure that my beliefs are correct? Doctrine is important, but looking back over my life, I can say that such a task has been a life-long endeavor. Doctrine may be important, but it does not make us faithful.
Is being faithful in Christ a matter of living a certain way or up to a certain code of behavior? We would all agree that God hates sin and that any aspect of sin in the life of a believer is besetting. But at what point of living would a person be considered as faithful? How much sin is allowed or how many times can a person fall before they are considered as unfaithful? If this were the standard for faithfulness, then nobody would be faithful, because everyone is still a sinner and falls short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
So, what is it to be faithful? The word faithful comes from the Greek word pistos which means faith or believe. To be faithful could be stated as to be believing. Those who are faithful in Christ are those who continue to believe in God and his testimony to men.
When the trial comes, they believe in the goodness of God. When they face great need, they believe that God will provide for them as he provides for the birds in the air. (Matthew 6:26). When loved ones die, they believe in look for his comfort. When they have been sinned against, they believe in God’s solution and forgive passing all vengeance to God. The faithful in Christ are those who exercise faith as they face situations in life. Never is it easy, but with Christ in us who is greater than all that is in the world, it always is possible.
To accomplish this, the step is simple: abide in the vine. What is abiding? It is to continue, to tarry, to stay, or to remain with Jesus. It is turning your heart and affection towards him. Jesus commended Mary as she demonstrated this important aspect of the believer’s life. To be faithful, you will need to sit at the feet of Jesus and have a love relationship with him. The earlier mentioned incorrect views were part of a duty relationship to Christ. Those you cannot always perform. God is more concerned with our hearts because when the heart is right, everything else will fall into place.
Do remember the days back when you were dating and the whole process that you went through to get ready for the date? I remember making sure that my favorite shirt and pants were in perfect order. Then, I would shave twice just to make sure my face was free from nubs and baby soft. I spent unlimited hours getting every hair in place and making sure that it stayed there. Why did I do this? I wanted to look appealing to the beholder or to stretch the term, I wanted to be “beautiful”.
We should do the same with God, but remember, God is not focusing on the outside of the vessel, but the inside. Make the inside right and the outside will follow, but if we focus on the outside instead of the in, we are merely pharisaical at best.
How do we make the inside beautiful? Our inside is beautiful when we genuinely praise God.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. (Psalms 33:1)
When we praise God, he experiences pleasure in the same manner as we do when gazing upon the beauty of our children or are enthralled with a spectacular sunset.
Do you want to be beautiful? Focus on the goodness of God and then lift your heart in praise to him. You will be stellar.