Keep Your Confidence

Having confidence in your identity in Christ can be challenging in our culture.  Society often discourages people from seeking to live a life that is godly.  Society loves to encourage us to be moral, but the morality is set by the standards of people who do not know Christ.  It can make a difference.  Knowing who you are in Christ and maintaining your confidence of who Jesus is to you will be a key to living a victorious Christian life.

Do Not Throw It Away

Faith 2Depending on the Bible translation you are reading, Hebrews 10:35 states that we are not to cast away, or throw away, our confidence.  The same verse goes on to say that our confidence has great reward.  Knowing who we are in Christ and knowing that He is for us will keep us from falling when trying times come.

If you continue reading, you will find that the writer of Hebrews encourages the readers to keep the faith and encourages the development of patience.  The believers to whom the book of Hebrews is addressed had faced a great deal of persecution.  Their homes, property, and personal belongings had been confiscated by the government because they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Many of them had been imprisoned.  Others had been martyred for the cause of Christ.  The writer of Hebrews commended these people because they had been through a great deal of persecution and remained strong and steadfast, but another trial of sorts had come upon them when the letter of Hebrews was written.

The Scriptures are not specific as to the trial these people were facing at that time, but the writer was encouraging them to keep their confidence.  They were encouraged to remember that God would reward them for their faithfulness.  They were reminded that the just must live by faith.

The Just Shall Live by Faith

Knowing who we are in Christ and keeping our confidence will require walking by faith.  God is pleased with our faith in Him.  He can and will do powerful works through us to bring glory to Himself if we will remain yielded to Him.

As you are reading this post, you might be discouraged.  You might be ready to throw in the towel, so to speak.  I am not necessarily talking about backsliding.  I am talking about giving up on your work for the Lord.faith 1

I am encouraging you to remain confident.  Be confident in Jesus!  Be confident in what He is doing in you.  He will continue the work he began in you when you first believed on Him.  Be confident in who you are in Him but aware of who you are without Him.  Living by faith requires more boldness than living a normal life, but you were not called to be normal.  You were called to stand out.  You were not called to throw away your confidence.  You were called to walk by faith and be confident in Christ.

Be Encouraged

Whatever you are facing, know that your faith pleases God.  Even when your faith is weak, keep pressing on, confessing it to the Lord.  He has ways of strengthening your faith.  He will not forsake you.  Do not give up because the Lord will bring you out victorious!  “The Lord is a warrior.  The Lord is His name (Exodus 15:3).”

Do not throw away your confidence.  There is much that would be thrown away with it if you did.  Keep going on this way because there is no other way that brings light and victory.

 

 

 

Being Thankful

There are numerous verses in the Bible about being thankful.  I am not certain of the number of times that we are told to be thankful, but I do know the thankfulness concept appears throughout the entire Bible.  It is easy for me to get so wrapped up in stressful situations and grief that I forget to look at the numerous blessings God has given me.

Thankful for Jesus

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I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ.  This might sound generic, but I must be grateful for that relationship.  Without Him, I am unable to be wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher.  Without Jesus, nothing else works.  Through Him, I have hope beyond this life.  Faith in Jesus brings not only eternal life, but power to live this life through all circumstances—the everyday, the mundane, the challenging, the hurtful, the joyful, and heartwarming.

Thankful for Relationships

Most of us have someone in our lives that encourages us and to whom we can be transparent.  No matter who that person is for you, be thankful.  Where would be without that relationship?  My husband and my children are in my household with me, and it does not take much for me to take them for granted and simply focus on what is going wrong, what is not perfect.  That is when I need to step back and put life into perspective.   The people around me are some of my greatest blessings.

Other relationships that we have are meaningful as well.  We need friends, acquaintances, coworkers, family, and church family.  These people contribute many needful things to my life. Without them I would not be where I am today, so, it is important to stop for a moment and thank God for the people in your life.

Thankful for the Little Things

There are many cases in which people are thankful for what is obvious, but we forget to be thankful for the smaller things in life that we take for granted.  For example, I forget to be thankful for the luxury of showering in hot water.  Many people do not have the option.  Sometimes it takes plumbing and water issues that must be repaired for me to remember not to take those small things for granted.

The ability to move around and remain busy is a blessing.  It might not seem so at the time, but when I am sick and unable to get out and about, I am reminded of the blessing of health.  Although I might have physical sickness from time to time, I do not have it as difficult as I often think.  Sometimes God is using sickness or other tests to remind me that I need to be thankful for my health.

Thankful for Adverse Circumstances

Yes, you read that heading correctly.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to be thankful in all circumstances.  That includes the difficult ones. I can not say that I love adverse circumstances, and I would rather not go through them; however, they are what make me better. When I face the challenges of life, I find that I am a better person.  The trying and testing of our faith brings patience and purifies us.

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I am not saying that we are to love being stuck in a difficult time in our lives, but we can ask God to help us learn something from it.  We can know that God is working for our God, and we can be thankful for His mighty hand that is at work in our situations.

 

What about you?  For what can you be thankful?  Do you have adverse circumstances? Know that God is working in your trials, and be thankful that you have Him to intervene for you.

I Believe, But…

We all have a measure of faith that we are given by God.  Without it, we could not be saved.  Without it, we would not believe in anything.  After all, we must have some faith to simply get up and face the day.  We must have some faith to believe that we can accomplish the day’s tasks.  Faith can be grown.  Faith can mature.  Faith can become weak.  Faith can become tested.

When Faith Wavers

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No matter how strong our faith is in God and what He can and will do, we will have times that our faith is weaker than usual. This can be caused by a series of trials and tests which can either be extremely serious situations or minor nuisances.  Even what does not seem such a big deal can get to us if we have had very many minor nuisances hit us all at once.

When faith wavers, as it sometimes will, it is time to go before God and confess it to Him.  His compassion never fails.  He does not refuse the one who comes to Him humbly and openly.  Once you have went before God, get into His Word.  Find scriptures that apply to your situation.  Read them out loud, or, write them down on index cards to keep with you.  If need be, write them down on a sheet of paper and put the paper on your refrigerator.   This might sound extreme, but when faith wavers, it must be built up again.  The only way to do this is by the Word of God.  After all, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Help My Unbelief

In Mark 9, a man’s son was possessed by an unclean spirit.  The man brought his son to some of Jesus’ disciples while Jesus and the other disciples were on the mountain during the transfiguration.  When Jesus came down, the man informed Him that the disciples had not been able to cast the demon out of his son.

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The man asked Jesus to help his son.  At the end of his request, he adds the words “if you can” in some translations.  Jesus told him that if he believed all things were possible.  The man instantly replied, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).”  Immediately, Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the young man. Jesus did not wait for the man to confess that his own faith was great.  When the man said he believed, yet, he admitted there was some unbelief in the mix, Jesus moved on behalf of the father and his son.

Although we do not want to make unbelief a practice in our lives, there are times when faith wavers.  There are times when some unbelief is mixed with our faith.  That is the time to tell Jesus that you believe, but, add that you need Him to help your unbelief.  The Lord was moved because the man was pressing past his unbelief.  He did not deny it, but he pressed past it.  That is what you and I must do when our faith wavers.

Willfully continuing in unbelief is dangerous; however, confessing the unbelief to Jesus as the man with the demon possessed child did, brings deliverance.  The man’s faith was built up and deliverance came.  Cry out to Jesus even in your wavering faith.  Deliverance will come and your faith will be stronger.

By Faith

What is faith?  According to Hebrews 11:1, the definition of faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  The phrase “the evidence of things not seen” is an interesting one. Evidence that is not seen sounds impossible, yet, faith pushes us on to believe what is impossible.

Faith Based on What is Not Seen

FaithIn Hebrews 11, many people from the Bible are used as examples of great faith.  They believed the impossible although no physical signs were available to back up what they believed.  Many of the people mentioned in the famous faith chapter were persecuted for their faith.  They believed in a God they could not see with their eyes nor touch with their hands.  They believed what He told them.

God requires us as modern-day believers to walk by faith just as the patriarchs, prophets, and others did thousands of years ago.  Habakkuk 2:4 reminds us that the just will live by faith, and this is quoted in Hebrews 10:38, just before the beginning of the faith chapter.  We are not to be moved by what we see and feel around us.  We are to be moved by faith in God.

Does Faith Ever Doubt?

The people mentioned in Hebrews 11 were not perfect.  They were human beings just like you and me.  There were moments of doubt.  Abraham and Sarah were an elderly couple who were past the age of having children.  To doubt that they could have a child would seem logical.  Sarah even laughed when she overheard an angel speaking to Abraham concerning the promised child.

What about Noah?  He was building an ark and telling people that rain was coming in a world that had never seen rain.  People found Noah amusing, yet, Noah continued, by faith, to do what he knew God had said.

There is a great deal of other people mentioned in the faith chapter.  Some were tortured, imprisoned, or persecuted in some other manner because they believed what God said over what they saw, or what other people told them.  Although they were people of great faith, they were still human.  Doubt came.  What made their faith great?  They did not entertain doubt when it came to visit.

What About Your Faith?

Do you find it challenging to live by faith?  Does it make you nervous when God requires you to step out on what you do not see with your eyes, but only what He has spoken to you in your spirit?  Do you ever experience doubt then condemn yourself for it?Faith 2

You are human.  You can pick up and walk by faith even after having tremendous doubt.  Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, did.  He denied Christ three times, yet, after the resurrection and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, he was able to preach the gospel and die for his faith.

When your faith is weak, confess it to God.  In Mark 9:24, a man was very honest with Jesus.  The man told Jesus that he believed, but he then asked Jesus to help his unbelief.  What a strange request!  However, it applies to you and me.  When doubt comes in, ask God to help you with your unbelief.

Another way to strengthen your faith is through the Word of God.  Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Bible reading and Bible study is a great way to combat doubt.

Life happens to us all.  There are devastating circumstances that test our faith.  Disappointments come and go.  Yet, we are still required to live by faith.  Like any other biblical characteristic, faith must be built and cultivated.  We all have some degree of faith, or it would not be possible to be saved.  It is just necessary to keep building that faith because it does get weak from time to time.

 

What about you?  Are you able to live by faith?  Does doubt try to overwhelm you?  You can overcome that doubt by building yourself up in the faith through study of the Word.