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Is Your Faith Known?

In my last post, I talked about the need for a faith-coach. In sports, coaches are needed to overcome the challenges that an athlete faces during their competition. I believe it’s the same in our Christian walk. It’s how we’ve been coached that gets us through our challenges.

Paul tells the Thessalonian church the reason he was sending Timothy to coach them…

…so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5

First of all, let me say that I’m not particularly thrilled with this passage. Paul makes it clear that it’s an undeniable fact of life that we will certainly face trials. Both of the words he uses – trials and persecution – mean pressure, narrow spaces, and challenges.

The Good News is not that we have an easy life with Christ. Instead, the Lord strengthens us to overcome in all of our trials.

This is why Paul wants them to be coached. In our trials, we should never be unsettled. That word literally means to wag – like a dog wags his tail.

Too often we, as Christians, end up simply reacting to our trials. We don’t expect them. Worse than that, we don’t know how to correctly operate in faith to walk through them. God has a better way for us. Listen to what He said to Israel when He taught them the law.

The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Deuteronomy 28:13

The Lord never wants us to be wagged – to simply react – to the challenges of life. We have been given the Holy Spirit so that we can be ready for anything that comes our way. By watching others overcome, we can be equipped for the same victories.

Unfortunately, many refuse God’s mentoring system. They end up learning to overcome by trial and error. Personally, I want to know the strategy before I enter the heat of battle.

Back in the verse from Thessalonians, Paul said that he wanted to find out about their faith – literally he wanted to know their faith. The fact is, that true faith can be seen and known by those around you.

Trials and challenges – the pressures of life – serve an important purpose. They come so that the faith that you have on the inside can become evident on the outside.

Listen to how Peter describes the result of trials in our lives.

These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7

Do what needs to be done in order to prepare your faith. Then when the trials come, as you know they will, Christ will be revealed in you.

Question: How has watching other believers prepared you for your trials?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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How Can you Measure Spiritual Power?

We have been talking about the nature of God’s power in your life – how His Spirit produces change in us and in those around us.  We also saw that in nature, power is composed of two components, voltage and current.  How about spiritual power?  Scripture gives us some insight into this.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

It’s obvious from this passage that the Lord doesn’t want us operating in fear.  What He desires for His people is a spirit of power.  It seems that the more I meditate on this verse, the clearer I see it.  I believe that this verse is telling us that the spirit of power is evidenced by two component parts – love and self-discipline.

The natural power law says that power is voltage times current.  It’s a known fact that in the natural, power is always measurable.  I believe that if you know the Word of God, you should be able to gauge your level of power.

The first component of power we’ll look at is voltage.  In the natural realm voltage is electrical pressure.  It’s the force that’s pushing the electrons through the wires in your home.  How does this translate into the spiritual?

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14

It’s Christ’s love in us that compels us to work for the Lord.  By using the word compel, Paul means that it’s the love of Christ that puts pressure on us to minister for the Lord.  This verse makes it obvious that love is the spiritual equivalent of voltage.  It’s love that puts pressure on us to serve God, to reach out, and to help others.

Jesus Christ walked in more power than anyone who ever walked the earth.  Do we see the evidence of this love putting pressure on His life?

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:14

This incident in the life of Christ happened just after the death of John the Baptist.  Jesus had recently been told that Herod had beheaded John.  Not only was John a colleague in ministry, he was also a family member.  If you read through Matthew chapter 14, you’ll find that Jesus went to a remote place to get away from the crowds so that He could mourn the death of John in private.

When He arrived at what He thought would be a secluded spot, Jesus found that the crowds were waiting for Him.  What would we do in that situation?  We know what Christ did.  Scripture says that He was moved, pressured by compassion to minister to the people in spite of His grief.

Question: Have you ever been pressured by the compassion of Christ to go beyond your normal boundaries?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Power of God

 

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