What makes our faith in the Lord genuine?
Before we begin, I’d like to share with you a part of my story leading up to when I was saved by God through faith in His Son, Jesus.
When I was three and a half years old, my parents enrolled me in a Catholic School. From junior kindergarten all the way up to grade eight, I had an understanding of Who God is but never explored anything beyond what was taught in our religion class.
Sometimes I would pray, but not all of the time. I don’t remember a time where I opened my bible outside of school, and even while we learned about the bible in class I hardly remember what was taught.
I was baptized as a baby, and proceeded to have first communion, reconciliation, and confirmation throughout my childhood. As I went through the motions of each of the Catholic faith requirements, I was never exposed to a genuine relationship with the Lord.
Despite not knowing the Lord throughout by childhood and the majority of my teenage years, I am grateful that my parents had placed me in a Catholic school where I was exposed to God and His Word. I developed an appreciation for this when I started going through a difficult time in my life, and knew that there was Someone bigger than me who knows my struggle and wants to help.
God allows us to go through difficult times with or without Him to realize this: we need Him. Regardless of who you are, or what you have done, God is always there waiting for you to come to Him. His one desire is for us to admit that yes, we are sinners, and yes we need forgiveness. Those times of difficulty are not meant to harm us, but they are a tap on the shoulder from God to say “see, you really do need Me.”
In some cases, but not all, our struggles can be an eye-opener to the sin that has been weighing us down for days, months or even years. Charles Stanley says this “We learn more in our valley experiences than on our mountaintops-more through suffering than we do from success. Any time you experience adversity, it is because God wants to show you His power and love. He may be freeing you from emotional bondage or destructive habits, or perhaps there is some precious quality that He wants to develop in you. Whatever the reason, God never means it for your harm. Rather, it’s for your benefit so that you can become everything you were created to be and experience His abundant blessings.”
Our faith can become real once we realize that we need a Helper, and by surrendering our lives to Him on a daily basis is when faith can be expressed in it’s truest form.
What is Genuine Faith?
In Charles Stanley’s “Life Principles Bible”, he has a list of what genuine faith is under the Book of James. This list has inspired me to share what I believe genuine faith is, and how we can apply it to our everyday lives with the help of the Holy Spirit.
- Genuine faith is a by-product of what we believe. It is not merely just words or thoughts, it is literally walking with the Lord on a daily basis and recognizing how desperate we are for His guidance and direction. There are days where I am easily tempted to make a poor choice. However, genuine faith in the Lord allows me to resist those temptations because I know that Jesus has given me the power to resist them by having resisted them himself. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
- Genuine faith thinks before he acts. Having faith that is genuine requires us to make wise choices about what to say or do according to what Jesus would have done. Jesus healed, helped, corrected, and changed people but before he did, He would go to His Heavenly Father and ask for heavenly wisdom. He would often pray that God would give Him a better insight on what was happening, in order to act according to what was expected of Him. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” James 1:5
- Genuine faith walks through trials and tests with a joyful heart. Not because the trial itself is a good thing, but because having genuine faith is knowing the outcome of that trial will lead us closer to Jesus. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” James 1:2
This past summer was especially difficult for me. From what I thought, I was being tested beyond my capabilities and could not see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
I had a lot of digestive issues which lead to chronic constipation for almost an entire year. I was constantly feeling upset, anxious, tired, and just unhappy with where I was. I kept asking the Lord to show me what I needed to do in order to remove this issue, but the Lord kept saying “My grace is sufficient.”
A few months later, I started to receive medical treatment and began to see slight changes in my bowels. I wasn’t completely healed which was still bothering me to a degree, but I started to change my outlook once I realized that the Lord had already brought me this far on my walk with Him, how could He just leave me hanging? I knew that He was up to something, but couldn’t see it at the time.
God was doing a great work in me through that season of trials and tests in my health. He was sifting me, sanding me, and shaking me until I had nothing left to offer Him but my heart. I would think I was doing Him a favour by making sacrifices, but He didn’t want those, He just wanted me.
To be less “me-focused” and more focused on Him. To be more grateful for what He has done, rather than focused on what needs to be changed. Each day we should be telling our problem about the BIG GOD WE SERVE, rather than telling the BIG GOD WE SERVE about our problem. He knows our every need and wants us to come to Him in faith.
Has your faith become evident? Do you know someone in your life who has genuine faith? Share your comments below, I’d love to hear about how God has changed you or someone you know.
Many blessings to you,