Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
What is reality? How do we take a faith in an unseen God fully assured of the hope that He has given us and apply it to the “real” and “tangible” world in which we live? The state would tell us that church does not belong there. It must be a separate endeavor that is embarked upon privately. Is it realistic to trust and believe in God without regard for the conditions, circumstances and situations faced naturally each day? It is. In fact, blessed are those who believe without seeing at least that is what Jesus tells us. (John 20:29) If we truly believe in Jesus Christ, our belief begins as an inner thought will become the foundation of our life. Rather than casually mingling our new found hobby called faith with the logical expectations of life. The Lord offers us a supernatural life if we will believe in the reality of faith enough that our heart becomes filled with confident hope. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
The reality of my life is faith. It is not because I was born that way, but rather decided to make it the foundation of my life. Reality means nothing more than its real. It is something that exists independently of ideas concerning it. It is independent of all other things and from which all other things derive. You see God is real. His Son, Jesus is alive. It is a fact beyond my ability to believe it. We are God’s Chosen People, but that doesn’t mean that faith is real in our life. We choose faith. We decide to believe in the reality of God and live in His Presence. The reality of anything impacts our life through experience. This is quite philosophical. I think the substance of this whole idea is that until what is inside our heart becomes a belief that effects the atmosphere around us – faith is not our reality.
Clothe yourselves. I have been challenged with the image of life in my heart, mind and soul that is trying to get out. I know by faith that the Lord is doing something radical. This year’s Daniel’s Fast has confirmed it all the more. Pressing into His Presence, denying myself, and asking the Lord to examine my heart has revealed that there is more to life than that which I have previously lived. I want to go higher and see life through His Eyes. I want to go deeper and experience life aligned with His Heart. But to do so, my outside must resemble the inside of my heart. Is my heart absolutely convinced that the faith in God is real and His Word operating in my life? This will impact how I approach life and how life comes at me will matter little.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Coming to Jesus, a person will begin to take the Lord and apply Him to their life. Prayers form around needs and wants. Bible study driven by our current thought or emotion. It is only natural as that is how we approach real life. It is a world of supply and demand. There is no satisfaction. We cry out for more. Contentment is foreign to humanity. However, the Lord through His Spirit will begin to fill certain voids in our life and for the first time there is completion and peace in us. We decide this is good so, of course, wanting more begin to press a little closer. Go a little deeper. This is not without sacrifice. We continue the process of spiritual growth and maturity until it begins to get uncomfortable. This is the valley in which one must decide do I cross over into His Promise or do I really believe? We know how to operate naturally trained by birth to survive. However, if one’s desire is to thrive, we must move beyond responding to all of life’s ups and downs tempered by the Spirit to be content in all things. To many this scripture implies letting go of what we want and desire to live a passive and positively boring life of holiness and obedience. But that is not the reality of faith but rather the lie of the enemy to keep you bound by circumstances, stranded in situations, and deeply distressed.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Is this your reality today? We say it, but do we believe it. We claim it, but do we live like it. To do so would mean that we no longer worry about acceptance, approval or affirmation of others being content in the Lord. It would mean that worry, stress, fear, anxiety and depression our foreign terms to our mind, soul and body. It would produce perpetual praise rather than grumbling and complaining. Such a concept would empower us to live beyond our means from Glory to Glory as we embrace God’s Glorious Standard of Living in His Presence every single day. We would love everybody despite what they don’t do, how they act, how they look or if they can do anything for us or not. We would seek for an avenue to share the Love of Jesus with them because the reality of it has changed us from the inside out.
James 2:14-24 (NIV)
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
About halfway mark of our son’s battle with cancer, it was clear this would not be a quick work but test of endurance. The doctors scratching their head with pitiful eyes declared us in the “realm of hope”. My heart leapt at the declaration of hope which makes the impossible totally possible but my mind could not help but consider the reality. The medical team saw the natural reality of statistics were not in his favor. The word “hope” connected with my heart but I had to get it in my head. As I was praying one day, it hit me. The Lord asked me in a soft whisper, “Would you love me if I bring Him home to me?” Before my head could form a solid thought, I could barely breathe yet uttered, “Yes.” Tears fell like rain in that moment when natural and spiritual reality clashed and a doorway opened that has not shut. I wrestled with the revelation for a long time. It doesn’t make me a super Christian or perfect believer, it just means that somehow I can see past this life and into a future that to most is only fantasy so we live as though it is fiction. If the thing you value most was gone, would it impact your relationship with God? It will come to that. I promise. Like Abraham, we will all come to an altar of sacrifice where one must choose faith or this world.
Abraham believed God. Do you? Do I? The only way that we can see the reality of our faith is in the test and trials of life when we are forced to choose between what we see and what we know. Faith without works is dead. To say you believe must be bear evidence in our life beginning with unconditional love that is the greatest command besides loving God with all our heart and mind. To say we love God, yet live however we choose is a lie. It is not real. I certainly is not logical. However, those who do love the Lord and want to experience the supernatural as a reality in their life will desire to know God and live according to His Word, Will and Way. This is real. This is truth, but only for those who take what is written on their heart and apply it to their life. When forced to choose between following Jesus and living in the reality of the world. What we do? How we live tells the story of whether or not faith exists in us? It tells the true story of what we believe. Today I must focus on living by faith and not by the circumstances, conditions or conflicts that I face. To be one with Jesus is to separate myself from the reality of life stepping into His Presence and living according to the Kingdom that is coming rather than what exists today. Faith is expressed not by how we react to the conditions, circumstances and situations but to God’s Love in this life. Real faith is to know God, believe in Him, and live according to that belief fully trusting God alone.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
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.