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Episode 13 of Kindavangelical just released! Patriarchal Regrets

Simple Faith
5-DAY READING

Faith is a well-worn word among Christians. In this 5-day reading plan, Pete Briscoe describes what faith is and how it expresses itself in our lives.

Day 1

An Eye Toward Faithfulness

As I look back over fifty years of ministry, I recall innumerable tests, trials, and times of crushing pain. But through it all, the Lord has proven faithful, loving, and totally true to all His promises. —David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade

I use to dread the fact that I’d be asked to say something at my father’s memorial service. I’m a blubbering idiot in most scenarios, so I couldn’t imagine what would come out of my mouth. Hopefully, it sounded something like this, “My dad was faithful to his wife—and faithful to his calling.”

The word “faithful” in that context means you’ve kept your promises and followed through on what you said you’d do. But that’s not the only use of the word “faithful” we need to understand.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to God’s people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1)

The simplicity here is wonderful. Paul uses his introduction to give them the most encouraging compliment one can give: Calling them faithful. How are they faithful? Because they simply believed and trusted in God.

We don’t always get it perfectly right. But the pattern of our lives should show evidence of faithfulness to God more often than not. We believe in Him, trust in Him, and put all our hope in Him. At the end of our lives, no other eulogy would be necessary than being remembered for putting our hope in Christ.

Lord, I want to be Your faithful servant. I want to be known as devoted to You above all. You are faithful. Empower me to be faithful to You, for it is my heart’s desire. Amen.

Day 2

What Is Faith?

Faith is not trying to believe something regardless of the evidence; faith is daring something regardless of the consequences. —Sherwood Eddy

It may help us understand what faith is by “breaking down” who we are. This will help us avoid being taken captive through deception, as Paul warns.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Our spiritual anatomy consists of a body, soul, and spirit. The soul includes our mind, emotions, and will. The spirit is our true inner being—where we have fullness of life in Christ.

So we receive life in the spirit, we experience life in the soul, and we express life in the body. Unfortunately, we also have flesh—the desire to do things in our own strength and skill.

What, then, is faith? It’s a decision of the will to act on what the mind believes is true. The mind reads something in Scripture, and in our spirit, the Holy Spirit says, “Yes, that’s true!” As we acknowledge the truth—and choose to step out into it—that step is known as faith.

Father, thank You for forming me and forging me into a special creation by Your mighty hand. You have given me the capacity to have faith, and I want to have faith in the proper way: In Your son Jesus Christ. Teach my will to act on what is true, as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. Amen.

Day 3

What’s Your Faith Rooted In?

Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing mood. —C.S. Lewis

It’s fashionable to have faith these days. I have faith in my office chair when I sit down in it. People have faith that things are going to get better. They have faith in higher powers, themselves, the economy, and—depending on the results of the last election—faith in government.

That’s the sticky part of faith: What’s it rooted in?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Faith has to be grounded in something. It’s no good to have a vague concept of faith and fuzzy feelings with no basis in reality. Scripture teaches that we are “built up” in Christ Jesus, the firm foundation. We have faith in Him because He’s worthy of it.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.(Colossians 2:9-10)

We have been brought to “fullness” in Christ. He is sufficient for us. And since He has all authority in heaven and on earth, it’s much more assuring to trust in Christ than to trust yourself. I know just how incompetent I really am, and if you’re honest, you probably feel the same way. It’s best to direct the focus away from ourselves and onto Jesus—where it properly belongs.

So what’s your faith rooted in? Are you trusting in people? Things? Are you maybe even hoping that the strength of your faith will pull you through?

Jesus, You are the only one worthy of faith. I don’t want to put my faith in wealth or self or anything else. Guard me from the trap of putting my faith in faith itself. I only want You and the refuge You provide. Amen.

Day 4

Why Faith in Yourself Is Deadly

Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. —Oswald Chambers

Everyone is a person of faith. The reason I know this is because, around the world, people use chairs.

If you were to sit in a chair and it crumbled beneath you, I wouldn’t run up to you and say, “Ha! You don’t have enough faith!” What I’d say instead is that the object of your faith was inadequate—and you need to choose better next time.

A lot of TV preachers will lead you to believe it’s good to have faith in your faith. But the apostle Paul would tell you to put your faith in Jesus. Turn to Christ in faith for your salvation, and trust Him too for your sanctification. In the same way, you were saved by faith, live in faith.

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

There’s proof as to whether or not we live by faith, and it’s demonstrated by how we’re walking with Christ. I, for one, know I can’t walk as Jesus did on my own. I must have faith in Him to empower me to do so. Faith in myself is cute for the self-help section of the bookstore, but it’ll ultimately be my destruction.

So… what does a life empowered by Christ look like?

Lord Jesus, give me clarity when it comes to what I put my faith in. May it only be You and nothing else. Help me tune out the false wisdom that surrounds me and hear the truth from Your Spirit. Amen.

Day 5

Depending on a Completely Dependable God

I think Superman should go on the Larry King show and announce that he would come back to life if people in all 50 states wanted him to. —Dave Barry

Superman is the definitive comic book character. He has all the amazing powers, but what makes him so intriguing is the Clark Kent disguise. He’d behave as Clark Kent as he went about the day, but as the need arose, he’d drop the disguise and fly away to save the day.

We tend to think of Jesus in the same way. I mean, He walked around in His human suit, and whenever He had to do human things—like some carpentry—then He was human Jesus. But when the supernatural was necessary, the buttons on His human suit popped off—revealing a big “G” (for God) on His chest. And after Super Jesus God would handle all the amazing stuff, He’d change back into His carpenter clothes—like Clark Kent getting back into his suit and tie.

But that’s not what we get from Scripture:

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” (John 8:28)

Jesus is fully God, yet He chose to live a life of complete dependency on the Father. He could have chosen to assume His God powers at any time, but He chose instead to remain wholly dependent on the Father.

He was modeling a life of complete dependence on God. We’re not called to live super-human lives through our own hidden powers. We’re designed to live in dependence on God. When we are weak, He is strong. When we are foolish, He is wise. When we don’t know what to say, He gives us the words. We are the students, and He is the teacher, telling us—if we are willing to listen—which way to go. That’s the way of faith!

Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me what it looks like to depend completely on the power of God. Reveal to me the ways that I try to be independent of You. Thank You for forgiving me of that. Lead me into a more intimate and dependent relationship. I want to have a heart like Yours while you were on earth, one that is completely dependent on a completely dependable Father. Amen.

Reflection:

  1. What is faith?
  2. What is your faith rooted in? How does your walk with Christ express dependence on Him and His Word?

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