Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Firm In Faith

Many people struggle with their faith.  Personally, I waffle between faith and doubt, and somewhere in between.  There’s generally a correlation between the strength of my faith and the time I spend with God each day. 
A lot of people doubt God’s existence and ridicule personal faith.  Some believe in God when they’re in trouble, but put their faith on the back burner when things are going well.  Others live a double life – believing in God and following Jesus, but denying their faith when questioned by friends or family. 

Why don’t we share our faith?  I think it’s mostly out of fear.  Fear of what people will think – what if they think I’m a “Jesus Freak”, and fear of how they'll react.

Talking about your faith journey typically involves sharing very personal events in your life.  Your faith may have grown from a time of great pain, or great shame and sin.

 When you put your personal story out there you risk rejection, ridicule, and judgment.  Sharing your faith scary. 

The Jewish people in Jesus' time were no different than we are when it comes to talking about Jesus.

“Many people did believe in Him (Jesus), however, including some of the Jewish leaders.  But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.  For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.”  John 12:42-43

Belief doesn’t guarantee sharing faith.  In the case of the Jewish leaders, sharing their faith and stating Jesus was the Messiah meant expulsion from the synagogue. 

Imagine being kicked out of your church family.  That’s what it meant to admit you believed Jesus was the Son of God.

It takes great courage and character to not compromise your belief when challenged by friends, family, or loved ones. 

Knowing what could be at stake…the relationship, your job, and in some countries, your life…and standing firm, may be one of the most difficult challenges Christians face. 

And yet there are people around the world whose faith is challenged every day and who remain true to it regardless of the consequences.

I have huge admiration for people who stand strong.  I think of one friend in particular, an amazing woman who I respect and admire, who made a decision to not compromise her faith in spite of the consequences to a relationship in her life. 
I wonder if I'd have the same character if faced with a similar difficult decision.

We can learn about standing firm by reading God's message to Jeremiah…

“…If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman.  You must influence them; do not let them influence you!...”  Jeremiah 16:19

In other words stand firm on your faith, be true to your message, and don’t compromise your belief to please others.

“They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.  They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you…”  Jeremiah 16:20

Good advice.  God will strengthen you, encourage you, and stand firm with you when you honour Jesus.

What difficult decisions have you made in your faith journey?  How did you stand firm?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

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