Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
A Faith that Works
by Erik Momsen
The fact that you are sitting here this morning or reading these thoughts indicates that you have some small measure of faith, or at least want some. There exists a natural measure of faith in all. We have faith that the roof above our heads will not spontaneously fall in on us or our vehicles will not explode the moment we put the key into the ignition. Without this most basic of faiths, we are regarded as mentally ill.
What we however are wanting to get to grips with here is a faith that looks up and beyond ourselves. A faith that helps us make it in a very uncertain world. A faith that asks questions of survival for this life and the next. Faith asks questions concerning the daily and the eternal. From the earliest times the hunter must have held his breath and prayed that his arrow would hit the game. That his child would survive a fever and that God would receive him when he died.
The prayer Jesus taught helps us see the eternal and the daily aspect of faith.
"This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." (Matthew 6:9-13)
- Faith gets to know as much of God as possible.
- Faith looks up to God and believes He exists.
"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
- Faith says "God come rule the earth and sort us out as You sort out heaven."
"Give us today our daily bread."
- Faith asks God to give us what we need and helps us resist greed.
"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
- Faith knows we are sinners, but God forgives.
- Faith knows that to be forgiven I must forgive others.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
- Faith asks for strength in temptation.
- Faith asks for protection from satan.
The Message Bible translates the Lord’s prayer as follows:
"With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best-- as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others." (Matthew 6:9)
FAITH IS ACTIVITY
Faith is about a way of thinking that results in a way of living. One cannot exist without the other. Someone has said that the only thing that can kill faith is inactivity. "Faith without actions is dead." (James 2:17) Let's use a very simple example. You have the slightest inclination to go to church. This is a seed of faith but you put off taking any action about it until the feeling goes away. Failure to respond to a prompting of God causes faith to die. The same applies to any prompting of faith to do something good.
FAITH STARTS SMALL
Many people lament that they have little faith. The answer to this is Jesus’ teaching on the seed. To the disciples' inability to cast out a demon Jesus said, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20
The issue here, as with so many cases, is that the disciples did not understand that faith is a seed that has to be sown so it can grow. Faith does not become a great tree in your hand. It only grows as you throw it away, it falls to the ground and grows. We know the seed in our hand is a bean, we sow it in hope that a bean will grow and give us a great return. There is always an element of risk involved. As faith is exercised, it gains strength and becomes confident.
Faith says: "I have heard God works in this way. I tried it - I risked and it paid off. I tried it again and the results were the same. I am getting confident that this is how God works." "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)
FAITH IS MAINLY KNOWING GOD
I will only get on the back of a powerful motor cycle with someone who I know and trust. It is a potentially dangerous activity but I know his character, ability and attitude towards me. When we get to know God and trust Him we place more and more of our lives in His hands. It is for this reason that the devil always wants us to believe lies about our Heavenly Father. Jesus tells us clearly that only God is Good (Luke 18:19). When things are going badly with us it cannot be God’s fault. The Message Bible translates Matthew 6:13: "Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil." It is my sin or the devil's tricks that mess up life.
A passage that summarizes much of what we have said is Hebrews 11:6.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
BELIEVE HE EXISTS AND COME TO HIM.
Date Added: 2012-11-28
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