Thursday, November 5, 2015
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Overcoming Fainting Faith)
A son’s friend with fainting faith wrote to him, “Does your dad know of any books that would help me with struggling faith?…I am just struggling to believe…I want something…”
When life’s challenges, disappointments, and sorrows along with the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in the modern world start piling up, it’s not uncommon for faith to faint.
Surely, the best method to rejuvenate faith is the one that works for you; so the encouragement below, in no particular order, is a smorgasbord of options for anyone counseling someone with fainting faith or anyone, as my son’s friend confessed, struggling to believe.
Testimony – What has a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior done for you? Recall to rejuvenate! The only gospel that some people will ever hear or see is the gospel according to you! The best testimonies follow an outline like this: “Before I knew Jesus as Lord and Savior, I was…Jesus became a part of my life when…Now that Jesus is a part of my life, I am…If I could leave you with one thing, it would be…”
1 Peter 5:6-11 – Read the following sentences aloud and say your name when a ___ appears: “If ___ will humble her/himself under the mighty hand of God, in His good time, He will lift ___ up. Let Him have all ___’s worries and cares, for He is always thinking about ___ and watching everything that concerns ___. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too. After ___ has suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ will give ___ His eternal glory. He personally will come and pick ___ up, and set ___ firmly in place, and make ___ stronger than ever. To Him be all power over all things, forever and ever. Amen!”
Invitation Prayer – For the first time or again, pray, “Lord, I invite you into my heart as Lord and Savior. I am sorry for how I have hurt You and hurt others which is the same as hurting You. I need Your love, mercy, and forgiveness. I welcome You into my heart. I thank You for being in my heart now and forever. I ask You to help me to be Yours from now on in all things at all times in all places with all people for Christ’s sake; as I pray in His name. Amen!”
Bible – Read it! It is God’s personal love letter to you/us/everyone! Find one that you like to read! There are many translations; and the best one is the one that works for you! Start with John and Psalms! Then let the Holy Spirit direct you and enlighten you and rejuvenate you!
Read the Red Letters – Find a Bible with the words of Jesus in red and read them over and over and over until you feel Him in your heart and can say with Paul, “It is no longer I who live; but it is Jesus living in/through/for me!”
Worship – God inhabits the praises of His people! God honors those who honor Him!
Those are promises from God in the Bible for you/us/everyone. The message, music, and entire liturgy may stink in the service; but God still works supernatural miracles of strong calm sanity along happiness and wholeness and joy and safety and eternal security in/through/for people who show up to worship Him. It/He happens most in worship!
Holy Communion – Often! Jesus did not say, “Do this in remembrance of me quarterly…or monthly…or when it’s convenient.” What happens during the sacrament?
Dr. Macleod always answered, “We get Christ better!” Read the previous paragraph on worship again! Worship services faithful to Jesus by the book always include the sacrament.
Fellowship and Mission – Garbage in! Garbage out! Hang out with Christians! Our Lord expects us to love the hell out of those who do not know Him; but never to become like them! Show everyone love and mercy; but never become like people whose beliefs and behaviors insult His holiness and hurt others! Serve! You will get closer to Jesus by serving others for Jesus; for He said, “As you do it to/for them, you do it to/for Me!”
Back to the Book – Stop wasting so much time reading books about the Bible. Read the Bible! Spend more time reading the book from God than books about the book from God.
There are only so many hours in every day for reading. Why spend more time in secondary sources when God’s primary source is available to you?
As a struggling ballplayer, I asked my coach, “How can I get better?”
He said, “Practice! Practice! Practice!”
If you do and do, you will get Him!
Blessings and Love!