This is for the believer or the person seeking answers about God/Jesus, especially the men of God! This is not for the antagonist or the skeptic. To see the events of this week (the killing of nine people at church praying) and not be skeptical about having confidence in God is foreseeable for some. To experience a loved one suffering and dying is heart-wrenching. To watch senseless killings across the globe or in our own backyards can be fatiguing at least, demoralizing and depressing at worst. This is not a time to pull back, but absolutely a time to press in even more to a very real God.
God never says that evil will not make a mark on society. In fact, the Bible describes the world as we know it as, “passing away” (1 John 2:17). This passing away is literally physically as we see evidence in our climate, erosion, etc. This passing away is also morally. There is the deterioration of any semblance of a moral compass, anything goes today, no fear of authority, no one wants to be held accountable to a standard, and no shame and fear of God. We can walk by the homeless as if they’re invisible, children constantly at risk of violations. The list goes on.
The events of today are even more reason to OWN your faith. The human spirit can only take so much. We cannot endure this on our own without sticking our heads in the sand and living in denial, being in a state of numbness or self-centeredness so to try and block out the noise of tragedy, evil and despair. We absolutely need God’s empowerment in our “inner being” as Paul alludes to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 3:16. We need the same Holy Spirit to infuse us with power to be an impact to counter all this evil we do see in the world around us.
When I say, “own your faith” I am talking about investing in your faith in Jesus, protecting your faith in Jesus, and valuing your faith in Jesus.
Here are three reasons you MUST OWN your faith today.
There will be persecution. What we see and hear about around the world in terms of killing Christians and making it difficult to live out your faith in Christ will be, and in fact is happening right now is the U.S. People are becoming less and less afraid of God, and more and more audacious and disrespectful of anything related to God. The killings in Charleston, while horrific and quite unbelievable at first glance, does not surprise me given the state of where we are as a society and given what the Bible prophesies about the “last days.” Your investment in your faith, just like an investment in the home you own versus one you rent, will pay dividends for you. You are strengthened through the investment of prayer, study of God’s word to know him (not just information), and through allowing mentorship and fellowship with believers. Difficult times are not as lonely and hard when you are stronger in your faith as opposed to waiting until difficult times to send you desperately to investing in these ways to get answers and perspective; although, all of us will go through difficult times and will need a desperate dependence on God.
There are false prophets and teachers. Today everyone has a platform with social media. Anyone can endorse whatever information they want to deem to be the truth. Everyone has a bullhorn now. There will be people that will even take tragedies and turn them into making a case for their opposition to the things of God as taught in Scripture. Don’t be fooled. God is still God. Don’t be deceived by those who have “new” revelation. There is nothing new under the sun. There may be “fresh” revelation for a generation, but nothing new. Guard your faith by filtering everything through Scripture and mentorship of those whose wisdom you trust. Immerse yourself in the Word, immerse yourself in fellowship with other believers who are serious about their faith. If you’re the most serious person in your circle about your faith, you are not safe there. Pray for friendship with those who can encourage you, build you up in the faith, and challenge you when you start to go left.
Why is this relevant? Lies taught lead to lies lived, which will only lead to the destruction of a person, family, community, city, state, nation, and ultimately global society if that lie is perpetuated in a generation.
Complacency is more dangerous than you realize. Just like a home you own, if you do not take care of it, it will begin to deteriorate and lose value, so it is with faith (See my blog on Do Your Rent or Own?). Complacency keeps you from praying unless it is convenient or a dire situation. Complacency turns faith into a tool for success or acquisitions (which we in church label, “blessings”). Complacency blinds us from the things we ought to be seeing even before they happen. If we are about our business of being faithful stewards of the gift of faith we can make a greater impact in the lives of those around us.
We won’t stop every evil plan, but with the evidence of our faith we can make enough of an impact for the kingdom to rival any evil out there. Complacency is the green light given to evil by those that should be making that impact to hamstring its progress.
I implore Christians today to OWN their faith! Calling all men of God!
I pray, O God, for every believer out there who wants to see more of God’s power manifest itself in our world that they can be the instrument he uses to show that power. I pray that there be urgency in our lives. That even one person reading this blog will be moved to invest in their faith moving forward. I pray for clarity in understanding your word, knowing your character and more sensitivity to you to discern the things and the people that are led by you O God. Have mercy on us Father. Amen.