I have a question to ask that I often ask myself.
What good is our faith —————————————————– to others?
Right now, because of COVID-19, we’re asked to follow social distancing guidelines. We spend more time in our homes where our good and bad traits are amplified. Now we have more time for social media. And do we find social media to be social or anti-social?
Considering the stress in our lives, how can we build up our faith, rather than watch it erode? The book of James is full of practical advice.
(James 1:2-4 WEB) 2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. 3Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Now I don’t know about you – but I miss the freedom I had before. But I know of people who have a lot less freedom than I have. For instance, I’ve never been jailed for expressing my Christian faith. What would we do in such a circumstance? Paul and Silas were in a close trying situation also.
(Acts 16:23-25 WEB) 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast [them] into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them.
We need to ask ourselves how many strangers have heard of have seen our faith in Jesus? We need to have a faith that impacts others. It cannot be just to people we know. Plus, we need to have a faith that also reaches our enemies. In general, our faith should be a blessing to everyone we encounter. Our faith should also motivate us to reach out to others we currently don’t know.
Mostly our faith is witnessed only by people we already know. And sometimes our enemies witness our worldly ways. Jesus describes what we think of as our Christian outreach.
(Luke 6:31-34 WEB) 31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them who love you, what thanks have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them who do good to you, what thanks have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend [to them] from whom ye hope to receive, what thanks have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much in return.
But unless we step out beyond our comfort zone others will not experience our faith. And we won’t see what God can do through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Men – we’re the ones who neeed too step out first. We’re the ones who need to set the example
(Luke 6:35-36 WEB) 35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and [to] the evil. 36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
There’s that word merciful or mercy. We rejoice in the mercy we’ve received. But do we embrace this precious gift enough to pass it on to others. It’s often said that hurting people hurt people. I know that one personally. It’s only through my living Savior and the gift of the Holy Spirit that I can think of the right thing to do when my flesh cries out for vengeance.
Jesus was the perfect witness, the perfect sacrifice, and the perfect example for us. The one problem with this is though that Jesus expects us to follow in His footsteps. Remember James 1:4 “But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Men and Mercy
Notice also that the phrases “let patience” and “wanting nothing” come before “perfect”. Jesus was a giver, a giver of eternal life. We’re only asked to give mercy. Mercy is not weakness. The avenger that I was, was never confident. Strength is measured by our ability to walk away from confrontation.
Being humble and extending mercy is not traditionally a strong point for men. It is what men think of women. But ultimately God is the one who grants “Grace”. And men are expected by God to do this. It is the example of men that will lead our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, and our nation. The moral leadership of men is the catalyst of revival. And it’s the absence of men’s moral leadership that is the reason for revival.
Notwithstanding all that women do to fill the gap resulting from men’s absence, it will never be enough. An all the self-help that we could generate will not compare to men just developing close relationships to God. Always what’s needed is for men to be looking up to the Savior.
My flesh wanted a lot that I thought I deserved. I was very impatient. I’ve severed relationships over a single non-consequential incident more than once. I’ve sought and gained vengeance more than once. Even though we’re saved, we still have sin in our lives. And sin comes from selfishness.
I don’t want to walk in the flesh anymore. I don’t want people to look up to me anymore. I want people to look up to Jesus. When I take myself out of the picture, then God can use my humility, love, hope, and charity to bring people I encounter closer to God.
Our witness is our character. Fix our character and then God WILL WORK THOUGH US. I’m not sure I wrote all of this (must have been the Holy Spirit) – I need to pray that I continue to mature into the person I’ve described!
If Necessary Use Words
Our character, our actions, our compassion, our tears of love, our concern for others, our willingness to help, and most of all our willingness to listen is how we connect to the lost, even our enemies.
If we’re asked why we believe what we do just do as Peter admonished.
(1 Peter 3:15 WEB) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.
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