Sunday, October 2, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Faith is a Full-Time Job

When I was growing up, I heard a term that I really didn’t understand, “fair-weather Christian”. I really didn’t understand its meaning until years later. The term is used to describe a Christian who professes his or her faith when things are great. When things start to go the other way and there are trials and troubles, their faith seems to wane and they blame God for their misfortune or repeatedly demand an answer of why they are going through tough times.

It is very easy for a person who has a weak faith to do this. Faith is like a muscle. It requires exercise and to be pushed in order to grow. If you don’t exercise a muscle, it atrophies and grows weaker until it becomes useless. 

If you expect to grow strong in your faith, it requires that you deal with the things that come into your life by trusting in God and knowing that He will see you through that dark valley. Faith is a full-time job. You don’t have the luxury of “punching out” of the job at the end of a shift. You must live your faith all the time and endure what life throws at you. 

When you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, he never promised that you will have everything you desire or that you will live problem-free for the rest of your life. If that were so, everyone would be a Christian and faith, as well as God, would be nothing more than ways to a life filled with nothing, but fair weather, smooth sailing and having everything you ever wanted. 

There is an old story that is often cited when it comes to faith. A person prayers and prayers for something every single day and that desire isn’t fulfilled. One day, the person changed the content of the prayer and asked God why the desire wasn’t fulfilled. God replies to the person, “I did reply. The answer was ‘no’.”

It is so easy for many to become disillusioned over their faith. They are taught that all they have to do is donate to a church and ask God for whatever they want. Their faith is based on physical things. They believe in God as long as the blessings of wealth and fame keep coming their way. When God doesn’t deliver, their faith is shattered and they give up on God. They feel cheated and that God doesn’t really listen to His children.

That sort of faith is based on the “prosperity gospel” which is filled with lies that are spewed from the pulpits of churches by ministers who wear Rolex watches and fancy suits and fly around on jets purchased by their congregations. They tell their congregations, when things are not going their way, just pray more and give more.

That is not what God intended for us. Faith alone doesn’t not need validation by God giving you a Bentley and a Rolex. God provides for your needs and isn’t obligated to give you whatever you demand.

Some will cite Psalm thirty-seven and tell you that God will give you the desires of your heart. He will as long as that desire is aligned with His will and isn’t just a demand for something shiny.

James, in chapter four of the book bearing his name, writes, “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

We live in a world that makes things easy. We can order groceries via our smartphones and pick up dinner via drive-thru. Many around the world suffer and would be glad to have one-hundredth of what we have in the United States. God has blessed us and, yet, we want more and our faith goes weaker and weaker.

Church attendance is down in a big way and when something bad happens like a tornado or hurricane, many will blame God for not caring. But, when we demand things from God and don’t receive them, that is the deepest cut of all. 

Many are quick to remind God that we are His children and we want something from Him. A few would even go as far to threaten to leave Him over not getting what they want. That is how a spoiled child acts. A person with a strong faith would never act that way or be tempted to do so.

James goes on and writes, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

A person who realizes that faith is a full-time job realizes that that his or her life belongs to God. It is His to give and His to take. The primary responsibilities of Christian center entirely around God. He is truly the center of our lives. Without Him, we are nothing and with Him, we are strong and can withstand the strongest storms. We must always remain humble in His presence and be thankful for what we have. 

Building a strong faith requires work and it is something that is done daily. Once you start to build your faith and become stronger, you will most definitely stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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