Having Faith vs. Engaging Faith

February 21, 2020
Hello Church Family:
Do you ever struggle with thoughts and feelings that this world is way too big, dark and dangerous and crazy out of control and that you are all alone to navigate all this mess that you cannot do anything about?  Wow, just writing that sentence makes me anxious.  That kind of thinking grows a root of unbelief that digs down deep into our heart and robs us of all other spiritual nourishment that Jesus Christ has for us.  Our happy God wants us as believers to also be happy!  We worship a God of hope who wants to fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by submitting to His power through the Holy Spirit we may abound in Hope (Romans 15:13).  The only way that we can live happy lives is by engaging our faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord of all creation, believing that in Him “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).  “All things” includes everything that may be bringing you panic, desperation, fear and anxiety.  There is a difference in having faith and engaging that faith.

The nature of faith requires us not just to have faith but also to engage our faith.  Faith is to be acted upon and used and to work and to become stronger.  Our faith is not usually engaged automatically.  Engaging your faith is a conscious heart decision.  This is the lesson that Jesus is teaching His disciples in Luke 8, when the huge storm blows in while they were on the Sea of Galilee.  The disciples are in a state of panic, alarm, fear and desperation… and yet, Jesus is in the boat with them.  Jesus, who controls the sea, waves and wind was in the boat and yet the disciples (with faith) failed to engage their faith.   The storms that rage in our life are meant to bring great growth as long as we engage the faith that we have been given.  If we do not engage the faith that has been given then little growth ever takes place.  Un-engaged, un-used faith leads to a life of diminished faith, spiritual depression, fear and desperation.  Jesus has come so that we will conquer these life-defeating, life-dominating feelings.

When we engage our faith it leads us to respond differently to calamity, suffering and hardships.  An engaged, active, used, and exercised faith causes us to be controlled by hope, boldness, security, steadfastness, diligence and not terror, desperation, panic, or fear.   An engaged faith grows and dominates our life with hope and a rest in Jesus Christ as the One who, “holds all things together.”

Jesus cares about us in our times of un-engaged faith.  Jesus comes along side of us in our worry, panic, fear and anxiousness.  God does not bash us during our short-comings, instead, He gently and lovingly says, I want you to engage your faith and this trial right now that you are presently in is for your faith to become stronger.  Jesus did not want His disciples to stay in their faithlessness.  He wants them to have great faith and great happiness, joy, delight.

In faith, refuse to be controlled by your situation.
In faith, take inventory of why you are panicked, hopeless, fearful, anxious.
In faith, remember the God who holds all things together is in your life-boat with you.
In faith, have a conversation with God about this situation.
In faith, DO what the Lord has convinced you to do, TODAY.

Engage your faith. I look forward to worshipping in warmth with you our faithful God this Sunday after some very cold camping with the men and boys.

With Hope, Steve

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