August 5, 2009
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5 (NKJV)
Today if you were to ask someone what a genuine Christian is, you might hear something like this: “They are someone who is at church every time the doors open. They serve on committees, teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, feed the hungry and pray for the needy. They never get discouraged, never doubt, but have little time for fun. They’re too busy working for the Lord.”
I think Satan has deceived us with the illusion that a busy Christian is a genuine Christian. It’s just not true.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying these are not good things to do, but I fear we’ve turned our walk with God into a frenzied pace by adding to our faith a lot of extra baggage that we don’t need. We need to get back to real, genuine faith.
The trouble is we are no different than the Galatians. They started with faith, but then added works as well. In Galatians 3:3, Paul asks the people this question: “Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (NLT)
Good question. I can’t tell you how long I lived doing that same thing. I tried to live for God by my own efforts instead of allowing Him to live in and through me by faith.
Genuine faith is not about doing. It’s about believing God. It’s a relationship between us and God that begins by faith, is lived by faith, and ends in faith. It’s that simple. Everything else - such as good works - flows from the source of this relationship.
However, some Christians fall into the trap of organized religion instead of practicing simple, genuine faith. This kind of oppression is growing in our world today because nothing is simple anymore, especially our faith. We do a lot of extra stuff for all the wrong reasons, such as impressing others or trying to win God’s approval. It’s not that we shouldn’t do good deeds, but we need to ask ourselves, “Why am I doing what I’m doing, and who am I doing it for?” We just might surprise ourselves with the answer.
Life is heavy enough with the responsibilities God has given us. I’m finding that women today are burned out from trying to do it all and then feeling guilty because they can’t. I know. I was a lot like the The Little Engine That Could. Do you remember that children’s story? At some point in my life, I adopted the engine’s motto as my life’s purpose. “I think I can, I think I can…” Whenever someone asked me to do something - especially at church - I quickly responded, “I think I can!” Only to discover, I can’t do it all.
I had the same problem that plagued the Galatians. I was practicing religion instead of relationship.
Genuine faith is not a long list of performances we do to impress others. It’s about maintaining our relationship with God. This is the secret to the Christian life.
Perhaps you’ve been trying to do all the work yourself. If you and I will daily stay connected to our source, then the natural outcome will be a simple life of genuine faith.
Dear Lord, I humbly lay all my works, efforts, and life before You today. I long to pursue You. Draw me closer to You, Lord. Teach me to live by simple, genuine faith in You alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Piecing It All Together CD by Micca Campbell
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Cultivate your relationship with God through daily prayer; join a Bible Study; fellowship with other believers; walk in obedience to God’s Word. Finally, trust God to produce in you the fruit of His character found in Galatians 5:22.
Ask yourself, “Why am I doing what I’m doing and who am I doing it for?”
Are you trying to win God’s approval or impress others with your works?
1 Timothy 1:19, “Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.” (NIV)
Jeremiah 17:7, "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” (NIV)
2009 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
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