I think it’s safe to say that the year 2020 has been unique. It is a time when the entire planet is dealing with a pandemic like the world hasn’t seen for centuries. Tensions are high within the United States on a number of fronts. It seems no one is immune to the touch of these issues and it has certainly created a number of different emotions from anger, confusion, awkwardness and fear. I think it also safe to say that the world needs something different. We are in desperate need of healing, unity and hope. As believers, we are living in a time with possibly the greatest opportunity to show our world the different they need.
This past Sunday, Pastor Matt continued the series “The Goal” and the key verse for the series is 1 Timothy 1:5. The Apostle Paul tells us that “The goal of our instruction is the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith” and this week we dug into sincere faith. Other versions use true, genuine, and unfeigned. Regardless of which word used to describe the faith Paul talks about, we know he is encouraging us to have words and actions that align with what we believe… consistency in what we say we rest in and how that manifests in our lives. Years ago, I was taught the first rule of Christian counseling. We want the things we want, we say the things we say and we think the things we think all because we believe what we believe. Our life is a direct reflection of what is in our heart, what we believe. Proverbs 27:19 says it like this, “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” As followers of Jesus, we claim belief in the risen Savior, yet that faith isn’t just a faith to inherit heaven. It is also a faith for today. In John 10:10, Jesus calls the life He gives, abundant. And Paul later says in Ephesians 3 that he wishes for us to comprehend the length and width and depth and height of the love of Christ…a love that surpasses all knowledge…that you may be filled with the fullness of God…a God that can do so much more than all we ask or imagine. Comprehending this truth is power…power to live victorious, power to rest and power to love in a supernatural way.
As we revisit 1 Timothy 1:5, the goal of his instruction is to LOVE…with a sincere faith. With these truths in our hearts and at the core of our beliefs, our lives reflect that hope. Our actions and our beliefs will be in concert…consistent and sincere to a world around us. When circumstances arise that are not consistent with your wishes, that should not change our hope and proclamation of our faith. The world around us needs to see something different and unexplainable. Otherwise we are being, as the Bible describes, tossed to and fro. It is simply a lack of understanding or unwillingness to rest in the truth. If you have experienced this, there is no need to feel guilt or shame as we all go through times where our faith is challenged. However, be encouraged in the truths of the faith He has given us…that we can trust Him…ALWAYS. Rest in this truth, walk in His absolute love and goodness and from that we can stand and have a complete, unshaken hope. A few verses later in 1 Timothy 1, Paul encourages Timothy and us to hold on to your faith and do not let your faith be shipwrecked. As Ester was told that she was prepared for such a time as this…so we are prepared for such a time as this. My prayer for all of us that claim Jesus is that we believe and have hope beyond the craziness and the differences. Some of us may have different beliefs and wishes toward the uncertainties in our world today, however, we can still respect those with different views. Then, we can love with a sincere faith. And more than that, the world will see the different they long for…they see people that aren’t tossed to and fro, that don’t place there hope in a man, an office or circumstances. They see the one thing that brings people to repentance and the saving knowledge of Jesus…God’s kindness, lived out through sincere faith. Today we have the opportunity to boast in Christ (Galatians 6:14) and to love others (1 Thess 2:3-8). How great is it to have something so powerful as a hope that is based in the creator of the universe that not only knows you but loves you…and today we have the opportunity to share that same hope with a confused and hurting world.