|Posted on September 24, 2020 at 11:45 AM|
Living by faith sounds so good but is a real pain in the butt! Most Christians know that we are supposed to be living by faith. We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and that the just shall keep on living by faith. Faith is a “biggie” as far as God is concerned. But what exactly are we supposed to trust when we live by faith? What are we going to believe in?
From my study of the scriptures I have come down to two essential things we believers need to trust in every day. The first is who God said he made us to be as his children, and the second is what he is telling us to do to love others like Christ. That order, by the way, is also vital. Don’t try to figure out what you need to do until you know who you are! Otherwise you will likely fall into a religious performance trap of some sort.
Who has God made us to be? When we are born again by trusting that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and asking him for forgiveness, we become a new and different person. This is why Jesus referred to us as being “born again”. The old person you were as a natural descendent of Adam was born of the flesh which we celebrate each year as our “birthday”. But that old person was not ever good enough to meet God’s righteous standards for eternal life and acceptance into his kingdom. What was needed was a new birth giving us a new identity as a new person. The Bible calls that regeneration and assures us that God’s Spirit puts to death the old person we were and raises up a new person to take its place. Even though we still have the same old body we were born with, we, ourselves, are a new spirit being living in the same old body.
What makes it so difficult to believe that we are a new person is the fact that all the conditioning and experience of the old person we were is still stored in the physical body in what the Bible calls the flesh. In addition, the flesh has a mind of its own referred to as the “carnal mind” that is enmity against God and cannot be subject to His law. Unfortunately, most Christians still think of themselves as they always have even after being born again. They still identify with the flesh rather than believe they are a new person in Christ. How we think about ourselves determines how we feel, which determines how we act and how we relate to others. Thinking of ourselves as the old worthless person we were born as we feel worthless and act worthless. Then someone points out how we are acting, and we believe we are worthless.
What is needed to break out of this vicious cycle is to believe that we are brand new persons in Christ who are worthy despite any and all evidence to the contrary. This is exactly what we are called to do…live by faith in what God says he has done to make us brand new persons in Christ. We must choose to believe we are worthy as persons because we are joined to Christ in spite of what our flesh has done or what others think of us. We are secure in God’s love and significant in his eternal plan for our lives no matter what our circumstances may be.
Once we have realized who we are and trusted in our new identity, we can then ask God to tell us what he wants us to do to love others around us. The new person was created by the Spirit of God who also lives within that new person to teach us, guide us, comfort us, remind us, and empower us to be Christ to others. Our responsibility is to simply trust the leadership of the indwelling Spirit of God to fulfill our high calling of God to love others like Christ each day. Living by faith is simply trusting who God said he made you to be and believing that he is leading you to love others everyday. Our job is faith, his job is power.