Lent started recently and we’re well on our way to the celebration of Easter, but there still are many Christians who struggle with faith issues in their lives. We live in an age of fast-track mentality, media frenzies and “hurried child syndrome.” What do we find so attractive about this type of lifestyle, quick results and instant gratification? Is this truly the way we are meant to live, driven by habit and trendiness?
You may survey yourself in a complimentary way. Your faith in Christ may have helped you live responsibly and now you’re enjoying the fruits of your lifestyle. Your income is up, your family life is stable, you have lots of friends and your church is doing well. What more do you need? What more can the gospel contribute to your life? After all, you believe you’re a huge success.
But what about those left behind, the people still struggling to make it? How do you look at them? What about the trials and tribulations of those around you? Do you tend to treat a person of means differently than you treat other people? What about your church life? What about the preacher and his or her sermons — is it really necessary to take them so seriously? Do you watch the clock to see if the sermon is too long as you wonder whether you will get to the buffet on time?
When things are going well, it’s easy to assume you must be doing something right. Perhaps the ease, comfort and success of your current lifestyle and faith have you believing you know better than those around you. But what about the leadership and direction of your church? Are you one of the “silent majority” — the people who go along with the crowd because you don’t know the facts or you don’t want to make waves and risk upsetting others? Are you afraid to stand up for what you know is right and, more importantly, what’s right by God’s word? Is Christ affecting more than your income or lifestyle?
There’s a lot we can learn from the book of James. He offers a complete human resource development program for all believers — those who think they are successful, those who think not and those who just don’t know one way or another. It’s a great blueprint for faith.
We remember the day we were saved, but perhaps we didn’t realize at that time how the Holy Spirit led us down the aisle to commit ourselves to Jesus. After receiving God’s gift of salvation and eternal life, we must be careful not to lose our way and to correct our course as we travel down the road of justification toward sanctification. We all come to a fork in the road of our continuous journey of learning. One path is worn and wide from so many people choosing it, and the other narrow and less-traveled; that is God’s choice.
We learn along that path that “being saved” is not enough, but “acting saved” is our constant mandate in God’s eyes.
We’ll continue our walk with faith issues in the books of James and Psalms next week. If you or anyone you know is struggling with any of the aforementioned issues, a trained Stephen Minister can help make a difference. We’re here to provide care that changes lives, and that care is free, totally confidential, gender-sensitive and provided on a one-on-one basis. Call 320-7840 for a confidential appointment.
Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the local Stephen Ministry.