Is my faith real? Is my relationship with God genuine? PART 2 of 3
Why do we do what we do? Is it for self-promotion—to please another person—self-satisfaction—obligation? We need to keep our motives under the examination of the Holy Spirit—NOT so He can hammer us but so our spiritual walk can grow and remain wholesome.
[Continued from March 11, 2017 Blog Post]
7 Questions to ask yourself to help you know how genuine your faith and relationship with God really is:
4. Do I love the way Jesus loves?
I don’t know about you, but for me, to love like Jesus loves is a challenge. By nature, I’m not a critical person and I usually tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I have to admit that to love everyone with the Jesus kind of self-sacrificing agapé love is a tall order.
We know from Scripture that Jesus is one with God (John 10:30; Colossians 2”9). We also know that God loves all people with unfailing, unconditional love. Even greater than that—God is love.
Those of us who grew up going to church have heard, all our lives, “God is love.” Contemplate that statement for a moment—“God is love.”
The apostle, John, gives good detail and instruction to the body of Christ regarding God’s love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:7-11 NKJV).
God is the origin of love and is the source of love.
For those of us who are in Christ—that is born-again followers of Jesus—God is our Father and, as we much as are willing, His attributes can become our own. The ability to love like Jesus is one of them. The Holy Spirit in us is our enabler, thus it’s not just an insincere forced act.
It’s hard to love a person who dislikes us, tries to harm us, or disagrees with us coming and going—just to name a few scenarios. I’ve experienced all these situations in my own life and have found that it really helps to sincerely ask God to help me see these people as He sees them.
Many times God has shown me things that have caused my heart to break and initiated compassion for individuals which would not have been possible in my own self-determination.
As we get to know God better and mature in faith and trust in Him, we will naturally have greater love for Him and for others. We will abide in Him, abide in love, and His love will be perfected in us.
Let God’s love be perfected in me.
So, as I ask myself how genuine my relationship is with God, I must take a close look at how well I love others.
5. Do I really have faith in God?
The Bible says that without faith it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). By all means, as followers of Christ, we want to please God!
Maybe we should each ask, “Where’s the evidence of my faith?”
We need to first believe in Jesus—that He is who the Bible says He is—that He is the only begotten Son of God who did all the things the Bible tells us. We need to be confident that He spoke truth when He said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NKJV).
Because of God’s great love and in spite of man’s sinful ways, God gave His Son, Jesus, as a sacrificial atonement for our sins. This is God’s amazing grace toward us, making a way for restoration. But we must open our hearts and receive this gift of grace.
When we open our hearts and say, “Yes,” to Jesus we’re expressing faith in Him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8a).
This salvation experience is the launching pad of our faith walk. How we grow and where we go from there depends on each of us individually. Do I want to be a person of weak faith, mediocre faith, or great faith?
“Great faith” is what Jesus called the faith of a Roman soldier in the Gospel of Matthew. This unnamed centurion came to Jesus regarding the severe illness of one of his servants.
Jesus said, “I will come and heal him” (Matthew 8:7 NKJV).
The centurion’s response was quite surprising and showed great confidence—faith—in Jesus. He told the Lord that He didn’t need to bother to go to his house—that he wasn’t worthy of having Christ under his roof.
He said, “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8).
Jesus marveled that the man had such faith and said, “’Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you’ and his servant was healed that same hour” (Matthew 8:10).
I would love for Jesus to describe me as a person of “great faith.” Wouldn’t you?
Let’s ask ourselves, “How much do I trust Jesus?”
How much we trust Jesus is a good indicator of our faith. As we read and study the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, plus the Book of Acts, we get to know Jesus better and better. As we get to know Jesus better, we find that He is trustworthy. To know Him is to trust Him.
As we trust Him more we will walk in obedience to the things He say to us—the things He tells us to do. This is different for each of us as I described in Part 1 of this blog series.
I spoke of our ILP (Individualized Life Plan). In order to walk out our God ordained ILP we’ll be taking some risks and will often find ourselves outside of our comfort zones.
In this we see evidence of having faith in God and in Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Again I want to refer back to Part 1 where I wrote about How to walk in obedience to God. The same strategies hold true for growing in faith. I repeat, (from Part 1):
Surely we don’t want to have the same level of faith today that we had yesterday, or two years ago, or twenty years ago. And surely we’d like to see ourselves with greater levels of faith tomorrow than today. Think of the example we set for our children and, grandchildren, and others in our sphere of influence.
Let’s revisit the question: “Do I really have faith in God?” Consider your answer.
When we believe God has instructed us to do something and then we do it, we are showing faith. As we do this thing, the greater the risk, the greater our faith—especially if this thing is completely out of our comfort zone.
When we go through trial and tragedy yet lean on the Lord, our faith is evident. When we confidently say, “I’m believing God,” we’re expressing faith.
Please join me in declaring: “I want to walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). I want to walk on water in the midst of the storm (Matthew 14:29). When I reach my final destiny, I want to hear the words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).’”
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).
As we continue to contemplate the original questions: “Is my firth real?” AND “Is my relationship with God genuine?” we need to consider our responses to the questions: “4. Do I love the way Jesus loves” AND ”5. Do I really have faith in God?”
Please prayerfully ponder your answers and search God through prayer and His Word for His response to your answers. I’m doing the same thing.
Yes, I said 7 questions we should ask and today’s post brought us up to number 5. Please tune in to my next post for the rest of the questions. Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you’d like to participate in the conversation, your comments are welcome.
©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford