Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Difference Between Walking By Faith And Talking About Faith

We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

{CHAMBERS} “… We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world. And we are to do it with an infinitely greater power to withstand the struggle because we have been born from above.”

{ELGIN}  Faith verses sight .. it is a challenge for every saint.  We have the capacity to follow God and live our new life in Christ to and for the Father’s glory, but our earthly life gets in the way.  There is a saying “seeing is believing”  I think it originated with the disciple Thomas. (John 20:25)  We are more prone to respond to .. to trust in .. what we can see and touch and feel.  It’s natural … part of our old nature.  But now, we have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) Everything we do or say or think must be filtered through who we are in Christ.  We don’t always do so well with that … like it or not … even though we have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) the “old man” rises back up and wants to dominate our behavior.  Some might say it’s just too hard and yield to their old nature.  The fact is, it is impossible to live our new life successfully by trying harder.  We must live by faith … focused on the Father .. nourished by the Word of God, directed by the Holy Spirit, encouraged by the Saints.  It is possible to “talk” by faith and not “walk” by faith.  People who do that don’t pray, don’t read the Word, don’t associate with Christians beyond the church walls … but they can sure talk about spiritual things .. about how good God is.  “They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” (2 Timothy 3:5-7)

When I was in undergraduate school, I was the ROTC Cadet Commander.  Many of the cadets were like me .. prior service .. and many like me had served in Vietnam.  There was one young man, a cadet, who often talked about his exploits in Vietnam.  The more he talked, the more we listened, and the more we listened the more I became suspicious that he was never in Vietnam, he just knew a lot about it.  Well eventually I had to call him to task on it.  The truth was revealed and he was released from the ROTC program, in fact, he had to serve two years in the Army as a private .. part of his ROTC scholarship conditions.  He wanted to be like us but did not have the real experience that made it possible.  The point of my sharing that?  Just because someone can talk about the right things does not mean that they are what they say they are.  That ranges from people who are not Christians talking like they are to Christians who are not living by faith who are talking like they are.  Both are struggling with life.  Knowing which are which is like trying to separate the wheat and the tares.  Very difficult.  So what to do.  If you are spiritually mature you will have spiritual discernment.  If you have spiritual discernment you will be able to detect the genuine from the in-genuine.  You job is not to accuse or condemn but to love and encourage.  I often ask people if they are Christians before I speak to them.  I may suspect they are but want to make certain. If they say yes then I tell them why I asked.  I tell them that I can talk to Christians from a spiritual perspective that will not be understood by the natural man.  (1 Corinthians 2:14)  In the same way you need to understand who you are talking to and then you can point them to Jesus.  Something to ponder.

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