Belief that believes God’s Word without dispute


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Both belief and unbelief bring the greatest challenges in life as they dispute with each other. Both require you to reason through personal preference, emotions, and the call of God on your life.  This is precisely what Thomas faced when confronted with the resurrected Lord Jesus. Jesus challenged both his belief and disbelief by saying; Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe. (John 20:27).

Belief that believes God's Word without disputeSin is crafty; deceiving humans into thinking that as long as you are in spiritual negotiation mode, all is well. Well, sin is a liar! Paul warned of people like this; they are always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). How does this happen? At some point they choose to be content with knowing a little about Jesus without actually knowing Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Dispute over ownership

For them, unbelief wins the internal dispute over who has the right of total ownership of their lives. Here is the heart of spiritual anxiety. Sin says relax, eat, drink, be merry. (Luke 12:19). Jesus says what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36). The dispute over your soul is powerful and demanding of total control by both sides. Yet only Christ offers peace from God with eternal life as the result of belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Only Christ offers eternal companionship, faithfulness and security.

With such an amazing commitment from Christ to those who believe, it’s understandable that he requires total surrender from those who believe. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:27). Half-hearted belief can only produce discontentment, insecurity, and a spiritually fatalistic view of life.

The basic difference is that partial belief, while thinking of itself as religious, is selective as to which parts of God’s Word it chooses to believe and obey. Convenience and compromise tends to be the goal of weak or counterfeit belief. The Psalmist however, shows us the right attitude; Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments (Psalms 119:66). My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word (Psalms 119:81). I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end (Psalms 119:112).

The soft-hearted solution

I encourage you to develop a soft-hearted attitude towards God’s Word. An attitude that genuinely seeks after God’s truth. To obey without arguing, and with a humble long term view in mind. This attitude gets God’s attention because it’s pleasing to Him. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:8-10).

God’s arch enemy will most likely try to distract you from such genuine belief which surrenders to the Lord. He’s shrewd; he knows how to put obstacles in your way. He’s always placing things and people in your life to  dishearten and side tract you. He’s the master of discouragement; taking your attention away from loyal obedience to Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Remember, Satan works hard at these things in your life because he knows that Christ has disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Christ (Colossians 2:15). Only in Christ can victory be had; victory that lasts through this life, past the grave, and into eternity.

Belief that changes the big picture in life

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When growing genuine belief, it’s easy to ignore the overall changes needed in your life to make belief effective. Why? Because; “if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords” (Romans 14:8). Jesus is NOT an add-on to life, He is your life! Jesus does not want your religious good intention. The Lord requires all of you so that He can change everything, NOT just the comfortable things.

Jesus question to His disciples is still valid; “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Human pursuits may be good in and of themselves, but we fool ourselves by trying to find spiritual security in them. Anxiety over this temporal life is symptomatic of a far more serious spiritual anxiety which is often overlooked.

Counterfeit or Genuine?

Listen to Jesus words of caution about counterfeit faith; “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21). You see, counterfeit belief thinks of itself as being very religious, and therefore safe. Yet it fails to satisfy God, which makes spiritual anxiety all the more torturous. You may tick all the religious boxes, yet your anxiety continues to rise due to the spiritual disconnection with God.

Counterfeit belief seduces by luring you into applying emotional and religious sticking plasters over the cancerous tumour called sin. Sin will do everything to go undetected; rationalising God’s Word so to prevent you from identifying the source of spiritual anxiety which only Christ can remedy.

Invite the Lord to make this very clear to you. “Since we have been justified (acquitted of guilt) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Christ’s death in your place for your sin is what purchased peace from God. Religion, the Church, or any person in the Church, cannot do this. However, Christ has already done it on the cross of Calvary 2000 years ago.

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). Saying a prayer is only the first step of belief. If belief is genuine it will be seen in actions, not primarily the actions of good social deeds, but actions which directly express dependence in Christ alone. James’ point is that works can’t save you, just as faith without action can’t save you.

Sincere application

This means Christ, along with His biblical truths and moral values, come before all earthly relationships and worldly ambitions. It also means we stop approving of sin in both our lives and the lives of those we love. There is no peace in amalgamating Jesus with sin; they will never be compatible. Jesus is not the God of compromise.

There is not greater joy, no greater security to be found than knowing that God is at peace with you.

”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). “…Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1). With Jesus Christ in control, you’re OK. As Jesus said; Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). When the Holy Spirit of Jesus truly controls your life “peace and joy” will overshadow life’s circumstances and anxieties.

I encourage you to choose belief that changes the big picture in life.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                  www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz

Choose belief that puts anxiety in its place

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All of us experience anxiety and worry at some point. They can sweep over us in a moment with no warning, leaving us feeling powerless. Isn’t it true; “anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down” (Proverbs 12:25); neither the mind nor body cope well with it. Jesus, being the realist that He was, said “which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27). Yet, there is something within the human heart that leans toward trying to control the things we cannot control and stressing over it.

Choose belief that puts anxiety in its place

“O you of little faith” were Jesus words in Luke 12:28 for identifying his disciples cause for anxiety. While it’s easy to criticize others for being overwhelmed by anxiety, we easily fail to recognise our own vulnerability for it.

How can belief put anxiety in its place?
  • Remember, the basic function of belief is surrendered trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. This obviously begins with your salvation and seeks to lead you through life in victory under the control of the Holy Spirit. I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy (Psalms 116:1).
  • Knowing that you have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). This is the foundation of your spiritual security. Unconditional peace with God through Christ. No treadmill legalism needed to earn more peace, Jesus has purchased peace on your behalf.
  • Realise that your Heavenly Father is intimately aware of every detail in your life; even the hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30). Nothing escapes His attention regardless of how you feel about what’s going on in your life. You can have confidence when casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
  • Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live (Psalms 116:2). When you talk with the Lord He listens. His attentive ear should inspire your lifelong desire to maintain a healthy talking relationship with Him.
  • At the moment you believed in Jesus, you received the Holy Spirit as the sealing guarantee of eternal life (Ephesians 1:13-14). You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15). As God’s adopted child, the Holy Spirit grows you further away from fear and closer in intimacy with your Heavenly Father.
Belief moves forward

Small but genuine belief never remains stagnant; it desires to move forward, sometimes slowly and other times more quickly. Belief is a mover; it’s a decision maker of choices growing out of your knowledge of God’s Word. Initially this may not be comfortable or easy, yet as your faith in the Lord and His Word grows, so your confidence in Him will grow also.

Here’s an opportunity to live genuine belief; surrender those issues which hold your belief back from wholehearted surrender to Christ as Lord. Yield to His control over all the issues which you cannot control, but He can.

Jesus instruction stands true today; do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on (Luke 12:22), and do not be anxious about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). Your Heavenly Father is able, He’s willing, and He’s ready to meet your needs through your relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. I encourage you to choose belief that puts anxiety in its place.

Plan belief that grows for maturity

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Belief that grows is not accidental; it’s deliberate and blessed by God. It’s far too easy to briefly burn brightly for Jesus then fade away due to performance anxiety. In other words, Jesus didn’t perform how you expected so you tell yourself; ‘this is a waste of time and effort.’

Plan belief that grows for maturity

The truth is however, Jesus performed extraordinarily well, doing everything He promised. Jesus is never the cause of spiritual anxiety; rather, it comes from within the deceptive human heart. To align small but genuine belief with Jesus requires belief to be acted upon in spite of feelings and circumstances. Jesus taught; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). Real belief is a 24/7 life mission.

When Jesus was speaking to the church in Philadelphia through John (Revelation 3:8-10), He summed up their spiritual lives this way.I know your works… I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… you have kept my word about patient endurance…” It’s a daily choice to live “patient endurance” with faith in Jesus as Lord.

Belief is intimate

Jesus intimately knows every believer. He knows that a little spiritual power through faith in Christ is enough when you continue to obey God’s Word. Simple obedience puts God’s Word into practice through works done out of love for Christ without any expectation of personal reward. Jesus watches for evidence of selfless surrender through “patient endurance.” This is evidence of small but authentic faith that is determined to carry on regardless of life’s circumstances.

It starts by doing what Jesus announced in “Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, saying …repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). Absolute trust in and reliance upon Jesus substitutional death and resurrection in your place is the beginning of eternal life. It is the gospel which you believe to be your motivation for a new and ever changing life in Christ (2Co 5:17). Personal growth which is not content to be stagnant, lazy, or distracted from Christ should be the expectation of every Christian (2Pe 3:18).

It’s a wise investment in life to plan and move progressively toward maturity in Christ. With maturity as your goal, you are motivated to step outside of your comfit zone. This begins by intentionally positioning yourself in a solid Bible teaching Church and by inviting a more mature Christian to disciple you.

Growth is by God’s design

Little but sincere belief never grows accidentally. Intentional choices following prayer for God’s assistance is the path forward. Deliberate choices driven by belief grow you to be the believer you may never thought possible. Paul explains; “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Paul prayed “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16). It’s God’s will to impart his strength in proportion to His glory energising your inner resolve and ability to be all that you can be in Christ. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

The Holy Spirit desires you to walk in unison with Him as you determine to grow, to mature, and to serve others in ways that would enable them to do the same. I encourage you to plan belief that grows for maturity.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong      www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz 

Plan belief that grows for maturity Plan belief that grows for maturity

Putting small but sincere belief into action

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Action is the spiritual game changer; it grows small belief into strong visible faith. It takes no effort at all to snuff out both small and great belief, simply do nothing. Spiritual apathy ensures nothing changes, nothing grows, and nobody experiences the blessing that could have been.

Putting small but sincere belief into action

I recall Dr Steve Lawson saying; “It’s better to have small faith in a great God, than great faith in a small God.” The good news is, we not only have a great God, we have the greatest God! Therefore choose to focus your belief without compromise on the Lord Jesus.

Let’s consider some essentials for growing small belief into strong belief.

Feed yourself daily on the spiritual food of God’s written Word

The Bible is as necessary for spiritual growth as food is for physical growth. Genuine little belief should like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Remove God’s Word and you remove the most powerful source of truth God has given you.

Talk with God often

The apostle Paul explained the necessity of walking and talking with Jesus Christ through prayer. He instructed the Christians in Colossae to “continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). This means talking with the Lord should be the normal routine of your daily life. Paul points out that prayer involves personal engagement as you watch your life to observe how God responds. You then modify your discussion with the Lord based on your observations of how He is responding and interacting with you through prayer.

Daily live for Jesus as your Lord, placing yourself second

“He (Christ) died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15). Jesus Christ died your death under judgement for your sin on the Cross of Calvary and rose from the dead so that you would live for Him as your prime. Here’s the heart of authentic belief, an absolute turn around regarding Jesus being the reason for living a God honouring life.

Do and say things that communicate your belief in Jesus Christ

Jesus encouraged His followers to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Other people will know how to make the connection between changed behaviour and Jesus Christ. Even those who dislike your belief will not be able to deny the transforming power of Christ. Consequently, God gets glory when others observe your unashamed behaviour in following Jesus Christ as Lord.

Avoid isolation from God’s people 

Christians are God’s family who provide friendship, support, encouragement, and assistance in growing your relationship with Jesus Christ. It makes sense; if you want to get to know Jesus, you need to be where Jesus is – Jesus is in His Church. Jesus instructed Andrew and Philip saying; “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also… (John 12:26). King Solomon hit the bullseye when he wrote; “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1). Isolation from consistent and committed Church life guarantees spiritual disaster.

I encourage you to put small but sincere belief into action. Ask the Lord to help you. Ask another Christian to help you. Desire faith which “is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Request that He grow your little belief to great belief.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong      www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz 

Putting small but sincere belief into action Putting small but sincere belief into action