I encourage you to develop faith that will strive for Christ alone
To strive in faith should be the intrinsic nature of all who follow Jesus Christ. It begins at salvation with a genuine hunger for knowing the truth of Jesus Christ. This is why you were compelled to “strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24); conviction prevented contentment until Christ was apprehended as both Saviour and Lord by faith.
I speak of an attitude which “contends for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude :3) without compromise, without divided loyalties, and without any desire to live any other way. A faith that humbly and wholeheartedly says with John the Baptist of Christ; “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). A faith that feels throttled when held back by circumstances or slowed down by others. It’s an inner compulsion energised by the Holy Spirit which will not allow half-heartedness or self-interest to distract from serving Christ and His people.
Reality tells the truth of the matter
It’s one thing realising you need to grow and stretch your faith, but it’s altogether another thing to determine to make it happen through all of life’s events and relationships. As Paul explained to Timothy; “to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). He doesn’t speak of a casual and convenient belief in the Jesus of self-interest and personal gain. No, Paul is urging unique faith which should “strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12).
After all, Christians should know how to “behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and buttress (foundation) of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Striving faith presses on in the assurance of God’s Word, in the security of God’s sovereignty, and dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable. This faith was birthed within by God (Eph 2:8), resulting with you having “been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
James, Jesus half-brother, understood the workings of faith and the human heart. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6).
Likewise, faith seeks fellowship with the Lord through prayer. God responds to selfless, Christ centered prayers offered from lives expressing faith. Faith understands that “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22). This is not bully faith, not self-desiring faith, but worshipful faith which always takes the highest priority in prayer. Jesus taught the disciples this top priority of prayer in Matthew 6:9-10; “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’”
Finally, I encourage you to “strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:10-12).
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz