document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">How do you define your Christian faith?
Is it by religious performances such as going to church, putting some money in the offering plate, reading your Bible occasionally (or every day), saying your prayers before going to bed?
Is it by things you don't do, such as wearing certain fashions and make-up, drinking beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages, attending parties and concerts, engaging in activities deemed “worldly”?
Rules can be helpful and doctrine is important,
but they do not necessarily define
authentic, meaningful faith.
My personal faith has come under intense scrutiny.
With age and experience comes a refined perspective of what really matters in life. KEEP IT SIMPLE...KEEP IT REAL has become a mantra to daily guide me through circumstances and relationships.
My role model is Abraham, the “friend of God” whose unwavering faith is legendary. So I ask myself, what is the acid test of authentic, meaningful faith?
THE ACID TEST OF AUTHENTIC, MEANINGFUL FAITH
Am I experiencing a quality of life that is characterized by overflowing joy and abundance?
Jesus said, “I came to give you life to the full, till it overflows with joy and abundance.”
I learned an important lesson from the “old-time country folk” we were privileged to meet in our early years in Jamaica. These were simple rural farmers who had few earthly possessions, but were rich in faith, generous without measure, ever satisfied and grateful, enjoying full and meaningful lives!
Abundance is not measured by the amount
of our material possessions,
but by our stewardship of what we have,
whether little or much.
Am I experiencing an ever-increasing freedom to be who I was created to be and do what I was created to do?
Jesus also said, “If you live by My Word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”
Freedom comes when we are clear about our identity and purpose. But freedom depends on two conditions.
First, like Mary sitting at Jesus' feet, we must stop the busy-ness of our life to listen intently to Jesus' instruction.
Second, like the disciples, we must follow closely as Jesus guides us through the day, listening intently to how He applies eternal truth to the situations we encounter.
We too readily follow what others say we should be and do. Our ear must be attuned to His voice and our live mentored by Him—He is our liberator!
Freedom comes when we are true to ourselves
and engaged in our life's purpose.
Am I experiencing transformation from within?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, “Present all your members and faculties to God. Don't allow yourself to be pressed into the world's superficial mold, but be transformed from the inside out by a complete make-over of your mind—new ideals, new attitudes and new paradigms.”
The journey of authentic faith is a process.
A new-born baby with all the seeds of identity and purpose inherent at birth must pass through the various stages of growth. Through patient nurturing the seeds blossom and in time bear fruit.
So too, as we surrender ourselves to God, we are birthed into new life of authentic faith. Our identity and purpose, like tiny mustard seeds, must be nurtured.
Holy Spirit activates the eternal Word in us. As we embrace it, the Word challenges our thinking. Our perspective changes, as do our values and our objectives.
Gradually, we become who we were created to be, engaged in the assignment we were born to fulfill.
Under Jesus' watchful mentorship,
the seeds of greatness within
blossom and bear good fruit.
Is overflowing joy and abundance a hallmark of your Christian faith?
Do you enjoy ever-increasing freedom on your journey of faith?
Are you noticing transformation of heart and mind as Holy Spirit nurtures identity and purpose in you?
If so, yours is an authentic and meaningful faith. Not perfect, but nurtured by the Word, mentored by Jesus Himself.
find a quiet place to sit, like Mary, at Jesus' feet. Ask Him to speak His words of life.
Listen intently and then follow His instructions diligently. Trust Him with the details of your life.
Find a trusted fellow sojourner of faith to walk with you.
More than anything else,
Jesus wants you to enjoy
authentic, meaningful faith.
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