Friday, January 23, 2015

Crockpot Christianity

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"  (Philippians 3:12-14, NIV).
We often look at people like Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, and our local pastors as "giants of the faith" who have some sort of special connection with God.  To us they are the "go to" example of the kind of faith it takes to live victoriously in a trouble-filled world -- the people who have arrived and have it all together spiritually. We long to have that kind of solid faith but don't believe it is possible for us to reach that level of spiritual maturity. Truth is, they are all flesh-and-blood humans with struggles just like ours. Their faith came through perseverance in the difficulties of life just as ours must.

For us who struggle to maintain solid faith in the midst of life's uncertainties, let us be reminded that faith isn't something we can pop in the microwave or play on demand like a movie on Netflix.  Solid faith is simmered slow and steady in the crockpot of Christianity, flavored by the truth of God's Word and the fellowship of Christ in prayer. The main ingredient is our salvation by faith in Jesus.  But like any good recipe all the ingredients are required if we desire the kind of faith that produces a pleasing aroma and creates a desire for others to see and taste that God is good.  Solid faith doesn't come without a little heat, though.  Such faith is born as we endure the fiery trials of this life and remain in them long enough to let faith have its perfect work.

In Day by Day with Billy Graham, Reverend Graham writes:
The Bible also teaches that faith does not end with trust in Christ for your salvation. Faith grows. It may be weak at first, but it will become stronger as you begin to read the Bible, pray, go to church, and experience God’s faithfulness in your Christian life. You will learn more and more how to rely on Christ for every need, in meeting every circumstance, and every trial.
If you feel like you have a long way to go before you "arrive" as a Christian, you are probably right.  But don't let that keep you from pressing on in your walk with Jesus. Marinate in his love and grace, season your days with his Word and prayer, and ask God for the strength to endure the heat required to produce in you the fragrant aroma of faith that is pleasing to God and draws others to him.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

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