If someone were to ask you to describe or define faith what would you say? I for many years had no clue how to truly answer that. Sure I could quote scripture except not really because I didn’t grow up in the church. Understanding what exactly faith is will help you to walk in it; grow in it; and live out the call on your life while being a witness and testimony. There are many things that faith is and is not.
I had no clue what faith was, how to walk in it; or the outcomes of it. I in addition; had no clue how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I just did not. I knew how to intellectualize everything; including religion- which is absolutely not relationship at all!
Faith yes is evidence of things not seen; although it is much more than this. To identify:
- Faith is a requirement to be pleasing to the Lord as outlined in Hebrews 11:6
- Faith is vital for Christians as it reads in Romans 1:17
- Faith is essential for salvation; else how can one even receive Christ as told in John 3:16
- Faith is right standing before the Lord as Galatians 2:16 reads
In understanding of a few of the things that faith is; it will help you to walk closer with Christ with full confidence of who He is and that He will never leave you nor forsake you and that He truly is on your side. This is where the growth enters into the picture. Without faith how can you have a relationship and if you do nothing to maintain or grow in the relationship then what truly will your level of be?
Faith is not a few simple things:
- Faith is not intellect. Trying to think your way to faith is very challenging because faith is not intellectual. It’s not mental ascent and attempting to turn something spiritual into mental only leads to frustration and conflict internally and with the Lord because it removes Him from doing all that He probably wants to do in your life because your mind is in the way.
- Faith is not your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to rely ‘not’ on our own understanding. Praise the Lord because really what sense of understanding do we all have at any given moment? Relying on what we think you understand at a moment is based upon the little wisdom that you have and that will only have you stuck in a perpetual cycle that won’t deliver the ultimate results you are seeking. It’s best to just let go and let God be God.
- Faith is not your own back-up plan. Your own back up plan will only identify the little faith that you have; and ultimately your level of doublemindedness and lack of trust in the Lord.
Faith is part of the journey of every Believer and it takes time as with any relationship. When you recognize that it isn’t about religion or rules but the relationship with a heart turned toward Him; your life will begin to change. Allow Him to transform you through the faith you have exhibited to receive Him in the first place.
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The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He comes in any way he can and he knows no bounds and operates in no rules. He strikes when people are unsuspecting and because they know not; he in his stealth, yet limited ways destroys lives. Pressing in when you are tired can be extremely challenging; although when you understand warfare and the enemy tactics it will put you on the offense to taking down the enemy so you walk in the victory that you already have; just have yet to experience.
Now there is nothing wrong with being or getting tired as it happens and is normal; especially with the hustle and bustle of today’s every rapidly moving society. The thin though is understand how and when to know when to stop and rest; and when the enemy is interfering with you to keep you off your game.
As it’s commonly known, Christians in the western world pray on average 5 minutes per day and pastors 30. This is a huge clue as to why so many are living defeated! When the enemy spends more time petitioning God than Christians that should be a wake up call to say the least! There should be no reason for Christians to be broke, unhealthy; or rejected. None whatsoever!
So it brings cause for question: what really is going on? How do I press in when I am tired; and why am I even tired in the first place? Well; let’s examine:
1- You are tired because the enemy keeps you tired. The enemy loves it when God’s people are not productive. It’s hard to advance the Kingdom when you are too tired to move. It’s easy for him to win the battle and continue to beat you down. Do you often feel guilty when you want to take a nap or a day off; or if you sleep longer than your boss thinks you should. Of course there will always be more to do; but guess what? You are not the Savior! When you recognize all the tactics the enemy uses to steal your joy, keep you pursuing unnecessary and unfruitful endeavors, how he uses other people to steal your time; it will oh so obvious what has happened.
2- You are eating all the enemies delights and not God’s. Eve was deceived by what she saw in Genesis 3:6: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” What is pleasing doesn’t mean healthy whatsoever. Companies and advertisers have blurred the lines and many unsuspecting consumers are filled with what is pleasing to the eye yet killing them. It’s time to wake up and see that what is man made manufactured not from God is probably not what will sustain you.
God created wonderful food for us to eat so it begs the question: why are we as a nation so unhealthy, so obese, so sick? Studies continue to reveal that America is the sickest nation in the world with the most advanced health care yet in reality if we ate better we would not need be tired all the time, sick; and have children with obedience issues. It’s really beyond time to start paying attention to what we are feasting our eyes upon so to not be deceived by that which is not of Him.
3- You have fallen prey to the ways of the world. Oh yes the ways of the world really are depleting. The world offers nothing but bad credit and heartache. Look at America now; suffering of a big belly ache. The world will keep you busy chasing everything except for the relationship with God. By the end of the night are you just too tired to read the Bible, have too much a not so much headache that you don’t have intimate moments with your husband, and have just a few more thousand emails to check? Sure the enemy knows this. Is he preying on your vanity, your approval addiction or addiction of any kind; your need to be needed and all the other things that really won’t suffice when the rubber hits the road? The ways of the world will leave you more than tired if you aren’t aware and on the offense in overcoming.
4- You are not offensively praying; or praying at all. It’s sick and sad that Christians pray so little yet expect so much. See; the only prayers not answered really are those that you don’t bother to pray. And no outsourcing your prayer life to those strangers on facebook is no the answer either. No. It’s really an insult to the Lord and only reveals you care so little about your relationship with Him; or even Him at all. So the best way to get on track and press in when you are tired is to pray. When do you pray? When you feel like and when you don’t. Otherwise; you won’t get anywhere- or rather anywhere you probably want. How could you? The enemy is already 5 steps ahead of you making sure you are and stay tired. You must press in and get going. Remember that whatever you are not willing to protect you won’t keep. Ask any divorced person about that and listen quietly and carefully.
So the question is: how do I press in? What do I do?
1- Recognize where the enemy is keeping you tired. You probably can identify them- you just have to stop long enough to pay attention and then do something about it. And then of course stop making excuses.
2- Cancel those assignments in the name of Jesus; against your mind, your sleep, your health, your finances, your peace, your spouse, your children, your boss, your company, your friends, your joy, your time with Him and any and everywhere else that the Lord reveals. See; if you don’t take authority in the name of Jesus you are giving the enemy legal ground- to destroy you. Period. And he delights in nothing more than the destruction of the Lord’s children.
3- Pray for strength and energy to get through the day and night. God created the ‘day’ and the ‘night’ as written in Genesis 1:5: “God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.” As a result of this separation of you pray for strength, energy and faith for the day; what about the night? Because these are consumables we need refilling for both times.
When you truly grasp the reality that the enemy means you no good and that while yes there is a time to sleep an a time for all things; pressing in when tired requires strategy. If you don’t have one you will succumb to the ploys of the enemy which he just loves. Think about this: tired people get into more vehicle accidents, have more stress, make more wrong decisions, engage in more conflict, eat more unhealthy and the list goes on and all to the detriment of the person.
It’s time now to have a plan to taking the territory from the enemy that is for God’s Kingdom and know how to press in so that you are living on the strategic offense for Him instead of sleeping on the job while the enemy destroys and laughs all the way doing it. You have more to live for and more to do and now is the time to press in!
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There are many books written on the topic of boundaries; boundaries in dating, boundaries in marriage, boundaries with children. Boundaries abound! While it’s all wonderful and necessary to have boundaries; what about boundaries when it comes to our relationship with Christ? Setting boundaries in your relationship with Jesus must and should be a priority.
When you think of your life what boundaries do you currently have in place? I often ask this of my college students and well; you probably would not be surprised by the answer. None. I ask them what boundaries they have in place with their cell phones, sex before marriage, their time; and I’ve been told they don’t really have much time to think about such trivial things and here is where the problem will continue. Those young adults turn into 40 somethings; and still with no boundaries. And by the way; do you have any boundaries with your cell phone? Do you own it or does it own you?
If we have no boundaries in anything in life; then what impact will it have? Obviously we can see the impact in how we are treating one another and being treated, the divorce rate, the singlehood rate; the rate of abortion and everything else is evident of clear boundaries and some may say lack of respect for self.
As we examine boundaries in our relationship with Christ what boundaries do you have in place? Do you set aside specific time daily for reading scripture, studying scripture, meditating on His Word; prayer? Or it is just go and serve in the building? Now in no way am I coming against serving by any means although what tends to happen is a scenario such as this:
People enter into a church and because there is such a need they serve. It’s wonderful as there is a need and people are pleased to meet the need. Then the need grows and the people are needed more; and because they believe they are called to serve it continues only to the downfall of the relationship with Christ. The relationship with Christ for many turns into a complaint session of how tired they are from serving. As such instead of growing closer to the Lord they grow further and drift away. Christ is left there alone while people resent Him when in reality if only they had set boundaries with Him they would not be in such a position in the first place. They would have both; the healthy relationship with Christ and be serving.
It all begins with Christ and our relationship with Him. Period. We must start there because there will always be a need. Always. There will never not be a time in life when there is not a need for something. If you do not have boundaries in place then won’t you simply get tired and who’s fault will it be? It’s time that we set in place boundaries to protect our relationships with the Lord because if we don’t how can we expect it to grow? Remember that you will not possess what you are not willing to protect!
So how do you do it? How do you set boundaries in your relationship with Christ? As I was reading John 21:15-17 I was drawn by the fact that 3 times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter answered 3 times yes. Each time he did the Lord gave him a responsibility. The one thing that Jesus never asked was about his skills or education; because obviously He knew what was most important. Love.
Through that I recognized that there are many ways to demonstrate love for another; and the Lord demonstrates His love for us as well. So how do you do it? What are ways that you can demonstrate your love for Christ? Set boundaries. It’s quite simple when you actually sit down and apply it. What are all the other things in your life that you are willing to protect? Make your relationship with Jesus the most important and the results will be there. Answer the questions truthfully and you will be able to develop the boundaries that are most suitable for you and your relationship with Christ.
1- How much time am I spending with the Lord now?
2- How much time would I like to be spending with the Lord?
3- What am I giving more priority to that isn’t adding to my life?
4- What have I allowed others to make a priority in my life that really isn’t?
5- What am I willing to rearrange or remove in my life to build and maintain my relationship with Christ?
What you will find is that just as Christ asked Peter if he loved Him; the answer was there along with the proof. Peter went from denying Christ to being all in with love and passion for Him. 3k people gave their lives to the Lord to begin the Book of Acts and God used Peter to reach the non-Jews. Peter also held prayer meetings, kept regular hours of prayer and followed through with his love for the Lord.
You see; his priorities changed and through that there has to be boundaries in place. If there were none there would be no consistent prayer meetings or anything else. Anyone would have free reign to enter and take charge; and that’s what has happened all too often in the lives of Christians. They have good intentions; but so what? Imagine if all Peter had was good intentions and no follow through; where we would be today?
It will require an in-depth introspective look at your relationship with the Lord; no different than a marriage. What do you want in place? What do you want your relationship to look like? What are you willing to accept or not accept? What do you want it to be filled with? If you are not paying attention to that and setting those boundaries in place- someone else with an agenda will use you. It happens all the time to unsuspecting Christians who don’t have those boundaries in place. They get tired and you my dear brother and sister; are worth more than that. And Jesus is. And so is your relationship with Him.
It’s time to reflect on the boundaries not in place or maybe those that need some revising; and set them in place. It’s time to ensure that your relationship with the Lord above all is protected and that your relationship will be all that it is supposed to be for His purpose.
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