By Pastor Tom Davidson
We live in a culture of blame instead of personal responsibility. The Bible is different in that it very much supports personal responsibility for the choices and decisions we make. I like what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”
What about you in your life, when was the last time you stepped out in faith and did something risky, challenging or just different? Sooner or later, faith will mean having to do something that will challenge us, something that is different, even if that is just speaking to someone about Jesus, or becoming a Christian, or tithing, etc. What will you do to get out of your comfort zone? What they didn’t do was give in to fear. Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” Sometimes we’re afraid, but being afraid isn’t a reason not to do something – if it’s the right thing. Do it scared! The more you do it, the less scary it gets. Courage is doing it scared. Whatever it is, if it’s making the decision to become a Christian, stepping into a new area, job, speaking out, etc., maybe it’s time to take a step of faith, a bold and courageous step.
When you have faith in God you do what’s right even if it disadvantages you because you know God is looking on and is pleased. Some people think that faith means always commanding mountains to be moved. But I wonder if sometimes there are too many people praying for mountains of difficulty to be removed, when what they really need is the courage to climb them. I wonder if sometimes that may be true of us – Paul was guilty of this with his famous thorn in the flesh. He had seen mountains moved, and amazing miracles take place. He wanted to get rid of this troublesome thorn (whatever it was), but God said no, my grace is sufficient, you’ll have my help, so just deal with it and get on with it. In that case, faith was in climbing the mountain not removing it. Removal would have been easy, living with it was harder.
Faith means when choosing, to be looking at the long-term implications. In our culture today, there’s an attitude of just living for the moment, and while there’s wisdom in living one day at a time, “only” living for today is a mistake. Faith means we believe that there’s a future, that God has a plan, that heaven is real and that affects our choices in life. Ultimately we know we’ll stand before God one day – that affects our choices. We know that God wants us to use our lives for good and God, which affects the choices we make. When you have to make decisions, can I encourage you to let faith affect your choices, let God into the equation, considering what will please Him and what will make a bigger difference to the kingdom of God?
How strong is your faith? If you had to rate it on a scale of one to ten, where would your faith fall? Real faith isn’t demonstrated in the confines of a Sunday morning worship service. It’s revealed in the difficult times of life. Faith is defined in our lives when we’re facing the hard decisions and fiery trials of life. What choices will you make?