John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Being bold for Christ does not mean that we will have a easy life, free from temptation and sorrow. However, as we learned in the blog two weeks ago, we serve a BIG God who is so much bigger and better than this world. How comforting it is to know that Christ is walking right beside us no matter what we go through. In order to stand firm in our faith when these times come or when someone questions why we believe what we believe, God has given us tools and examples to be effective.
The greatest example we have of what it means to wholeheartedly follow God and how to grow in our faith is Jesus. He spent countless hours studying God’s word and praying, creating a firm foundation. When he faced a hard situation or decision, he immediately prayed. After realizing this, I looked at my own life and my own foundation. Often times, prayer, it feels like, is instead my last resort and reading my Bible is something that I do when I have free time. Instead, I make other things like social media or watching TV a priority over reading my Bible and turn to that uncomfortable, overwhelming anxiety when I am faced with a difficult situation. I let these things completely take over my life until finally I fall on my knees and say, God, I need help. God needs to be the top priority in our lives. Jesus put it best in Matthew 7:24-27 when he said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
Jesus also demonstrated how important it is to surround ourselves with like-minded people. He built a team of 12 disciples who would walk with him in his life and help him grow the kingdom of God. These people prayed with and over him and loved him along his journey. This is not to say that we only should be friends with Christians, that could not be farther from the truth, Christ was friends with all kinds of people, but we do need Christ-followers in our lives who can be there for support. We need people who will laugh with us, cry with us, grow with us, challenge us, and be there to tell us when we are not living our lives according to God’s will. Going to church and attending Bible studies or small groups are not what saves us but instead, are what holds us accountable and helps grow our faith/foundation.
Just like in cheerleading or any other sport, discipline and constant practice are required. Building our faith takes the same things. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:25, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” God has given us three ways we can empower ourselves to fulfill God’s destiny for our lives. The first is through prayer. Prayer is the most powerful tool God has given us. Matthew 18:19-20 says, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” The second thing is God’s word. The bible allows us to gain a greater understanding of who God is and what he desires for us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” Lastly, as we mentioned above, there is power in the body of Christ. There is strength in numbers and we don’t have to walk through this world alone. James 5:16 says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
Posted on Tue, April 30, 2019
by Marilou Braswell