“To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.” Psalms 119:96 NIV The psalmist’s observation in the first half of this verse is a stark reality, as we need only consider our own foibles and failings, let alone the shortcomings of our favorite sports team. The last half of the verse however, …
obedience of faith
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” Matthew 21:31
The longer a person is a believer the more susceptible they become to the diseases of an aging faith. This fact is observable in real life and evidenced throughout the Bible. These diseases attacking sustainable faith, like complacency, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, cynicism and yes, even self-deception, rob the mature believer of a healthy and productive faith life. Anyone who has been a believer for some time and honestly reckons with these type of temptations inherent in a long term faith would readily admit it is true.
An appropriate term to describe this effect is believer geriatrics. It is interesting that the word geriatrics comes from combing two Greek words meaning “old man” (geron) and “healer” (iatros). The term geriatrics is used to describe the branch of medicine that focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating the diseases of old age. Believer geriatrics then should focus on preventing, diagnosing and treating the diseases of an aging faith.
Having been a believer myself for many years I have noticed both in my own life and the lives of others how the initial conversion zeal to trust and obey God can wane. When I first surrendered my life to Jesus I committed to making Him Lord of every aspect of my life. I thought it was a one time decision. I sailed through the next couple of months with great joy and enthusiasm in obeying God and serving Him wholeheartedly. But eventually as He began to deal with some untouched areas in my life it dawned on me that yielding to His Lordship was an ongoing process.
There is a Christmas sentimentality about the Immanuel – “God with us” promise that often belies or misrepresents its true meaning. The concept of God’s presence in our lives is both a complex and expansive topic. Doctrinal differences about God’s presence have spawned all the world’s religions and hundreds of different Christian denominations.
As we celebrate the birth of Immanuel it is imperative for us to understand what this promise of His presence really means. For clarity’s sake let us first consider two types of God’s presence that the Immanuel presence is NOT.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)
Did you know that in twenty of the world’s most primitive languages the word for believe is the same as the word for do? That is something Wycliffe Bible translators have discovered in years of working to translate the Bible into the native language of remote people groups. In other words, for those cultures, to believe something literally means to do something. Faith and action are inseparable. Truth be told, that is the way God intends it.
Genuine faith is expressed through action. This is a discovery that one readily makes when studying Hebrews 11 the great faith chapter of the Bible. A careful reading of the account of Abraham, the father of our faith, in verses 8 through 19 underscores this truth like none other.
Have you ever felt compromised in what you believe to be true? It is not uncommon. Living divided no more means obeying God as Abraham did, simply trusting Him in going we know not where, and choosing inner peace over outword comfort.