Baptist Church; Cary, NC; April 12, 1987 . . . (month & day made up, year is real)
My Sunday School teacher explained that faith was like sitting in a chair. He had faith the chair would hold him. When he sat I was more than a little disappointed that it did.
And that was how faith was explained to me at an early age.
And while I get the point and agree that that’s a good and simple illustration for the class of 8-9 year old boys, faith goes beyond that.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Things hoped for.
So if you maintain hope, you have what it takes to maintain faith, which will help you maintain your behavior.
Let’s go deeper.
Romans 5:1-5 gives us a list of chain effects.
Paul tells us that sufferings produce endurance . . .
which produces character which produces hope.
Is the hope built on the notion that there won’t be suffering?
The hope is built on the notion that suffering has a purpose . . .
(pause for dramatic effect)
as long as we turn TOWARD God, not AWAY from Him when we suffer.
Or when the chair breaks that we sit in during Sunday School class.
Or when we mess up.
Or when we sin.
Or when we view pornography.
Do you see why it’s so important to have the concept of your identity in Jesus firmly planted before you can expect to make true progress in this area?
If you run from God when you sin, you run away from the opportunity you have to grow stronger in your faith.
Sometimes it’s easy to assume we need some ‘space’ (whatever that means) between our sin & God. We don’t think we can go from sinning to immediately praying.
But the truth is, that’s exactly what God wants us to do.
Reflect on times you’ve messed up and what your signature behavior is. What do you immediately do afterward? How can you capitalize on your identity & faith in God immediately following times you’ve missed the mark?
Brainstorm on that.
Think on that.
Write down some ideas & try it out.
Thoughts to Pray/ Journal:
- When in your life have you seen suffering turn into growth?
- What are some ways you can change the way you look at suffering? Sinning? Missing the mark? (INSERT YOUR SIGNATURE SIN HERE)?
- List 2-3 tangible ways you can IMMEDIATELY run toward Jesus after you sin and practice them.