In our culture we have a proclivity to elevate “doing over being”; to focus more on causes than on Christ. This means that the greatest threat we have as Christians (as defined by Paul in Galatians and Romans when we try to have salvation by works) to our growth in Christ by process is that we live in a future oriented culture that relates time largely to efficiency and productivity. We are more inclined than ever to use time to accomplish results than to enhance relationships.
Many people have a hard time receiving from God because in the world we are programmed to receive based on what we earn. If you work, then you receive payment based on the expertise and amount of hours you put in. It is unusual for someone to come up to you and give you something valuable you didn’t work for or earn. Even on Christmas we expect to receive gifts because we give gifts in return; thus it is not really a present but a blind exchange. Contrariwise, receiving from God is made easy and possible because Jesus bore all of our sins and all curses in His body on the cross.
It is evident there are many in the Body of Christ who attempt to integrate their Christian faith with the pursuit of happiness. Some have even gone so far as to have a theology of happiness, in which they obey or disobey Scripture based on what gives them the most happiness. Several years ago a prominent pastor in New York City divorced his wife and married someone else in his church because, he said, “God wants me happy!”
Jesus said that in the world we will have trouble (John 16:33). Job said, “Man born of woman will have trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). See also Psalm 34:19. Sometimes the challenges are so intense we can be severely distressed.
As a product of the Word of Faith movement in the early 1980s, I will forever be indebted to the books and teachings of Kenneth Hagin Sr., Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, T.L. Osborn and the like. These were holy men of integrity who turned the world upside down with their faith and teaching.
When most people think of how to choose their friends they have more of a worldly, casual concept rather than a biblical one. In John 15:15 Jesus told His disciples He called them friends and not servants. Since the Kingdom of God is based upon relationship and not ministry, it is important we know how to choose our friends wisely.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:1,6).
How many of us have promises, hopes, or dreams that are yet unfulfilled?
Oftentimes believers have no clue how faith operates. Defining faith will be easier once we understand that the primary meaning of faith has to do with trust; you cannot trust someone unless you know them. Hence, faith develops based on relationally growing and knowing God.
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