We just opened a new series called ‘Different.’ We started last week and explained the foundation of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The Bible says this;
16 Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. 17 I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. MSG Psalms 51:16-17
It’s not about going through the motions. It’s not about a perfect performance. The foundation to being a disciple of Christ is all about the heart. A pure heart that has no pride in it. Another way to say it is, having a ‘broken’ heart. We explained last week that a broken heart means, we are so aware of our need of God, it humbles us.
The reason a broken heart is so important is because when you see your need of God, you will follow God. If you don’t see your need of God, you will probably struggle to follow God. Church, Religion, God stuff will be like going through the motions for you. Or, you will think God wants a perfect performance from you. And that is not at all what God wants from us. It’s about the heart. It’s always about the heart. A pride shattered heart.
Today we want to talk about faith. If you see your need of God and want to follow Christ, that’s awesome, that’s the beginning of following Christ. You must also know, following Christ requires faith because life can feel messy. Scripture says;
2 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. NLT
Same verses [James 1:2-4] different translation
2 Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, 3 for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. TLB
Scripture is clear, difficulties, trouble and temptation are all coming. That shouldn’t be a surprise.
Scripture tells us, allow those moments to grow your faith. As you follow Christ, you will have times when you doubt, that is normal. As you follow Christ, you will face hard times, that is normal. As you follow Christ, you will be tempted to quit, that’s normal. That is why I said, following Christ requires faith because life can be messy.
Kids Part: blindfolding an adult while kids give instructions.
A lot of people don’t fully understand that as a Christian, as a disciple of Christ, life will be messy.
Some people have the wrong idea that following Christ about attending church now and then and expecting that God would make their lives the American dream. They expect God to make their lives comfortable and successful. If you read scripture, that simply isn’t how it works.
Others have the wrong idea that following Christ is about list of rules. If the follow the rules, they feel good about themselves, if they struggle to follow the rules, they feel guilty. Again, this isn’t how it works. Based on scripture and people’s real life experience, following Christ requires faith because life can be messy.
We can even read bible stories and think, ‘It was easy for the bible characters,’ and that simply isn’t true. For example, I brought up ‘King David,’ what do most people think? David defeated Goliath. It took faith to do that but everything worked out for David because God was with him. That’s not at all the full story of David. Allow me to walk through some of the highlights.
1 Samuel 16:13 David was around 12 years old. The prophet Samuel anointed David as the future king.
1 Samuel 17:49 About 5 years later, David is 17 and Saul is still king. That’s when David defeated Goliath.
1 Samuel 18:11 David is around 25 and Saul is still king. Saul throws a spear at David to kill him.
1 Samuel 19:11 David is around 28 and Saul is still king. Saul sends troops to kill David.
1 Samuel 20:42 David is around 29 and Saul is still king. Saul again chases David to kill him.
1 Samuel 22:1 David is around 30 and Saul is still king. Saul forces David to hide in a cave.
2 Samuel 5:3 David was around 35 and was crowned king. Around 25 years later, he is finally king.
As king, David faced wars. He faced rebellion. One of David’s sons tried to kill him. David faced doubt and fear. David faced temptation. David’s story is a mess, and David’s story is filled with faith that God would take care of him.
Please hear me, following Christ requires faith because life is messy. We know from scripture and from real life, you may feel doubt at times, that’s normal. You may experience hard times, that’s normal. You may even be tempted to quit, that’s normal too.
What makes your life beautiful, is when you face doubt, hard times and temptation and you still have faith in God. You still believe that God is on your side. Scriptures says this;
1 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 2 The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. 3 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.
7 By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God. MSG Hebrews 11:1-3, 7
So, let’s talk about this.
Do you see your need of God? Are you broken? If you do, awesome. Now you need to follow Christ.
Do you understand that following Christ requires faith because life is messy?
In what areas do you need to trust God?
Jesus said the following about life and worry and faith.
25 “So my counsel is: Don’t worry about things-food, drink, and clothes. For you already have life and a body-and they are far more important than what to eat and wear. 26 Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat-they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food-for your heavenly Father feeds them…” 34 “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” TLB Matthew 6:25-26, 34
Where in your life are you anxious?
Maybe you are stressed about your future, your kids future.
Maybe you are stressed about your finances today, or for retirement.
Maybe you are stressed about your health or a loved one.
Maybe you are stressed about a job.
Faith isn’t about you and what you can do, faith is about how big God is.