The Trail of Faith

“If you have faith as a mustard seed … nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

When I was young in Christ, my faith toward God was based on prayers  that consisted of my circumstances being changed to accommodate me.  I remember praying for an engagement at the First United Methodist Church that I was asked to preach for.  I think this was my first sermon!  I was recently called to preach, but I didn’t have a suit or any nice clothes or shoes to wear, so I prayed to God one night, telling Him that I didn’t have a suit or any shoes to preach in, and I asked Him  to please provide these for me.  When I woke up  the next morning and went to work, about mid-day one of the sisters from the church pulled up outside. She was carrying a bag from JC Penney’s.  She said that the Lord woke her up that night and told her she needed to go get these two suits, two shirts, two ties, and the shoes for the ministry God was calling me to. They were brand spanking new and I was amazed at how quick God, who was the only one I had told, came through for me. Yet this was the elementary or embryonic stage of development for my faith where I learned how to relate to God as a blesser.

There is no need to become too comfortable with this revelation of Christ because my faith must grow beyond making God become everything I want Him to be instead allowing Him to reveal all of who he is to me! I must grow to the place that He doesn’t have to answer so quickly or even at all. I must develop a confidence in Christ, knowing that He is God! I must believe that all things work together for the good of those that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose–that He is bigger than my circumstances and capable of testing the caliber of my faith with the crisis He sends or allows to touch me.

A faith that cannot be tested can’t be trusted!  He often shows me who He is by what He is not!  God is light, but what is light if we haven’t had darkness?  God is good, but what is goodness if we haven’t experinced what is bad?  God is a healer, but what is a healer if we haven’t been sick!  We understand who God is by experiencing what he is not!

Don’t let the trying of your faith test your trust to the place where you turn your Christ into a crisis solver.  But allow Him to show you who He is by sometimes placing you in things that He is not! That is where I find that the impossible is possible by being place only in an inviroment of impossiblities!

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Rigid or Flexible

The definition of being flexible is “being bent without breaking”.  I enjoy working-out, but I have always hated doing the stretching exercises before the workout. I don’t know why, I just hate it! Yet recently, I bent over to pick up something from off the floor and pulled a muscle in my back that has stop my daily duties.

 The older I get, the more important I see the need to stretch. It is important to remain flexible because our body is getting less and less pliable. As we get older we also find that to be true in other areas of life. We don’t like to be stretched as much as we used to. We don’t like to try new things or hear new ideas as much as we used to. We don’t enjoy being around people who are different. That’s called getting old! That is why it is so important to work at remaining flexible and open to being stretched by new ideas and new methods.

If being flexible is the ability to bend without breaking and we gain some understanding of that through our bodies ability to resist that process, I wonder what happens in our minds that cause us to be so rigid in our thoughts. Do we prevent our faith from reaching its fullness by getting stuck in what God said that we can’t hear what He’s saying?

In essence we are talking about growing beyond being the”weaker brother”, as Paul calls it in 1 Corinthians 8. Certainly, we all must go through that period in our development where we cannot bend for fear of breaking. However, there is a place of development where we truly experience a fuller expression of our freedom in Christ as we allow the stretching of our conscience to release our cultures differences.  Then we can love more!

I am not talking about compromising our conscience. I am not talking about violating the Scripture. I am saying that maturity brings flexibility without compromise. The Pharisees were totally rigid in their spiritual vision and their blindness cost them the Christ. I wonder where you and I might be too rigid at this very moment.