The Way to Permanent Faith

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The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby John_Smith » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:00 pm

Indeed the hour is coming . . . that you will be scattered . . . —John 16:32

Jesus was not rebuking the disciples in this passage. Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life. The disciples were scattered to their own concerns and they had interests apart from Jesus Christ. After we have the perfect relationship with God, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our faith must be exercised in the realities of everyday life. We will be scattered, not into service but into the emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness, to know what internal death to God’s blessings means. Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our own choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. Until we have been through that experience, our faith is sustained only by feelings and by blessings. But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life.

“. . . you . . . will leave Me alone.” Have we been scattered and have we left Jesus alone by not seeing His providential care for us? Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings of God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself. The sense of God’s blessings is fundamental

“. . . be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need.




from My Utmost for His Highest


I’d to point a few verses from John 16.
6: “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled you heart.”
20: “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”
32: “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

Mother Theresa spent a significant portion of her life with struggles of faith and with something of a long-lasting spiritual drought. She didn’t feel spiritual joy or an overwhelming urge to shout ‘Hallelujah!’ The emotion, the zeal, the passion; it simply wasn’t there. But Mother Theresa knew what was right, and she spent her life working for a God that she constantly doubted. Can we still serve God without the emotion? We know our gift is in Heaven… but without an immediate benefit of dopamine within our brains, would we still worship God? Could we still sing Sunday mornings, if it didn't make us happy? Would we have the strength to say “Hallelujah?”
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby drill » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:37 am

I think we can still serve God without the emotion involved. For some people, emotions just are not a very important part of their lives, and to say that they must have emotion to have faith or to praise God is pretty much forcing your ideals upon them.

I would have to say that I easily have interests apart from Jesus. Just by living in society today, which is by far more complex than that of biblical times, it is much easier to have distractions. Take the disciples for example, they didn't have to work, they just followed their teacher which was a common practice back then. So, besides needing food to eat, which is seen in several passages, they did not have too many distractions because they were always with Jesus. I find it interesting that if the disciples who were with Jesus the entire time were scattered, why do people today think that they can have faith equal or greater than the disciples? I think that having a goal for faith is kind of silly though, as is it really possible not to have interests other than Jesus in today's society? Also, I think that instead of having a goal for faith, people should learn to enjoy their relationship with God because when you think about it you don't really say "My goal for my relationship with Joe needs to be at this level by the end of the year." Instead you will probably think "I wonder if me and Joe could hang out this week." Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I think people need to focus more on enjoying the faith they do have instead of worrying about the faith they don't have.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby John_Smith » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:37 am

drill wrote:I think we can still serve God without the emotion involved. For some people, emotions just are not a very important part of their lives, and to say that they must have emotion to have faith or to praise God is pretty much forcing your ideals upon them.


I agree with you, drill. I’m sorry if you interpreted what I wrote above differently, and sorry to anyone if you felt I forcing ideals on you.

I don’t mean to say, ‘You have to have an emotional connection with God!’ but rather, ‘Can we lean on God without emotional security?’

drill wrote:I would have to say that I easily have interests apart from Jesus. Just by living in society today, which is by far more complex than that of biblical times, it is much easier to have distractions. Take the disciples for example, they didn't have to work, they just followed their teacher which was a common practice back then. So, besides needing food to eat, which is seen in several passages, they did not have too many distractions because they were always with Jesus. I find it interesting that if the disciples who were with Jesus the entire time were scattered, why do people today think that they can have faith equal or greater than the disciples? I think that having a goal for faith is kind of silly though, as is it really possible not to have interests other than Jesus in today's society? Also, I think that instead of having a goal for faith, people should learn to enjoy their relationship with God because when you think about it you don't really say "My goal for my relationship with Joe needs to be at this level by the end of the year." Instead you will probably think "I wonder if me and Joe could hang out this week." Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I think people need to focus more on enjoying the faith they do have instead of worrying about the faith they don't have.


The first verse to ever have an impact on me was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
I think God teaches us to lean on Him in different ways, and that includes the low points in our lives, low points in which we might not enjoy being with God. I also think it’s nice to enjoy our faith, but there’s times where we won’t enjoy it. Maybe there’s no way to prepare for those times, but we should at least be aware that faith isn’t always sunshine.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby drill » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:15 am

John_Smith wrote:
drill wrote:I think we can still serve God without the emotion involved. For some people, emotions just are not a very important part of their lives, and to say that they must have emotion to have faith or to praise God is pretty much forcing your ideals upon them.


I agree with you, drill. I’m sorry if you interpreted what I wrote above differently, and sorry to anyone if you felt I forcing ideals on you.

I don’t mean to say, ‘You have to have an emotional connection with God!’ but rather, ‘Can we lean on God without emotional security?’

Actually, I was just answering your question "Can we still serve God without the emotion?" So I really didn't find you swayed either way in your original post.

John_Smith wrote:The first verse to ever have an impact on me was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
I think God teaches us to lean on Him in different ways, and that includes the low points in our lives, low points in which we might not enjoy being with God. I also think it’s nice to enjoy our faith, but there’s times where we won’t enjoy it. Maybe there’s no way to prepare for those times, but we should at least be aware that faith isn’t always sunshine.


I agree with you that faith will not always be sunshine, especially when you read the book of Job. I think we can learn something from Job that can get us through those low points. Chapter 2 verse 10 Job says, 'Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?' I think A LOT of people, including myself, forget this verse when times get tough.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby faithb4sight » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:30 pm

Mother Theresa spent a significant portion of her life with struggles of faith and with something of a long-lasting spiritual drought. She didn’t feel spiritual joy or an overwhelming urge to shout ‘Hallelujah!’ The emotion, the zeal, the passion; it simply wasn’t there.


Woah - that's news to me.

While the actual event of being saved is usually an emotional one, we definitely live in a world of distractions. In the hubbub, emotions can fade. I guess that's the true test of your faith - will you follow God regardless of how you're feeling?

I believe many Christians struggle with passion for their faith. I've heard biblical truths my entire life, and to be honest sometimes preaching goes in one ear and out the other. Not to say I don't believe what the preacher is saying, but rather that I've heard what they are saying so many times before that their sermon seems too simple. I feel like a calculus student sitting in a kindergarten class being taught simple addition.

It's not that I don't appreciate the value of the topics, and not that I don't understand that people need to hear the basics. It can just be hard to focus. Of course because of this I sometimes feel that I am a failure as a Christian. At which point, I have to remind myself that God loves me despite my flaws.

Funny enough, sometimes the simplest biblical truths are the ones I need to work on in my own life. We humans are perplexing creatures.

0:-)
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Nate » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:22 am

faithb4sight wrote:Woah - that's news to me.

Really? I thought it was pretty well known that Mother Theresa struggled with her faith pretty strongly, even feeling that God did not exist at some points.

And I'll resist my urge to go on my usual rants about her. :B
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby ClaecElric4God » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:37 pm

"Interested only in his blessings, instead of in God Himself." Ouch. That one hit a little too close to home. And I mean that in a good way. It really is true, that I so often only look at the good God can offer me, and not the not so good. And it's not even that we need to embrace the good and the bad. It's simply that we need to embrace the God that's in control of it all, and everything else will come together. Wow.

II Corinthians 4:8-9 comes to mind here. "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."
Though the distractions of life are a huge issue that need addressed and faced, and that often cause hiccups in our daily lives, I think in this particular passage, it's not about distractions or today's society or any of that. It's about when - no matter how close to God you are, or how focused or excited about the things of God - things get rough, quite often simply because God is working to mold you. And it's when we're in that hard place, where even though we feel like we're doing our best nothing is going right, that we need to remember to press on and trust God, and remember that no matter how hard it gets, He will never let us be completely defeated as long as we rely on Him and keep striving for the mark.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Sammy Boy » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:35 am

This is an interesting thread, and has given me some thought.

Perhaps the issue I have is slightly "reversed". I often do not feel any job when I pray or read the Bible inside church. But I feel differently if I was doing those things outdoors on a park bench, or some place like that....
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby shooraijin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:02 pm

Not to say I don't believe what the preacher is saying, but rather that I've heard what they are saying so many times before that their sermon seems too simple.


I think this is a common problem. When I visit my parents, I go with them to their fellowship and the Sunday service is more like an academic course, which actually I really like because it's very indepth. It makes the other church I semi-regularly attend appear very superficial.

On the other hand, it is not a church for a new believer. And I guess reaching people where they are is the biggest problem of all.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby faithb4sight » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:55 pm

@ shooraijin
Exactly. It's hard for a church to be in-depth while still being accessible to those new to the Faith. Which is why I try my best to keep my attention on the preacher when he goes into an overly-familiar topic. It just doesn't always work :/
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Sammy Boy » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:35 am

shooraijin wrote:
Not to say I don't believe what the preacher is saying, but rather that I've heard what they are saying so many times before that their sermon seems too simple.


I think this is a common problem. When I visit my parents, I go with them to their fellowship and the Sunday service is more like an academic course, which actually I really like because it's very indepth. It makes the other church I semi-regularly attend appear very superficial.

On the other hand, it is not a church for a new believer. And I guess reaching people where they are is the biggest problem of all.


You've just reminded me that I used to attend a church that had structured / graded Bible study classes and exams at the end of each year. I remember one time I only scored 57%. :)
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby faithb4sight » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:17 am

@Sammy Boy
Wow, I've never heard of anything like that before. Certainly an interesting concept. Did you get a prize if you got a high enough grade? Were you kicked out if your grade was to low?
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby shooraijin » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:38 pm

faithb4sight wrote:@ shooraijin
Exactly. It's hard for a church to be in-depth while still being accessible to those new to the Faith. Which is why I try my best to keep my attention on the preacher when he goes into an overly-familiar topic. It just doesn't always work :/


An opinion I've heard is that the Sunday service should be accessible to all and the Bible studies should be focused to a specific level. This seems to make sense, but not everyone can make a week-night study regularly.

I still look for churches with "meat" in the Sunday service, though.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Nate » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:18 pm

Sammy Boy wrote:You've just reminded me that I used to attend a church that had structured / graded Bible study classes and exams at the end of each year. I remember one time I only scored 57%. :)

What happened if you failed?

I don't like the idea of this though, sounds like you'd have a situation where you could have an answer that is theologically sound but the church marks it wrong because they just disagree with it.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Yamamaya » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:57 am

I typically find a stimulating conversation about difficult theological topics more edifying(if you want to use that word) then most church services. To be honest, most of the songs at churches don't really do anything for me. It just seems like endless repetition of "Yay Jesus" over and over.

Also, sometimes people that are very emotional about their faith can be..highly zealous. Of course this isn't the case for all people, but I've been on the receiving end of more than a few zealous evangelical Christians.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby faithb4sight » Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:50 pm

Yamamaya wrote:Also, sometimes people that are very emotional about their faith can be..highly zealous. Of course this isn't the case for all people, but I've been on the receiving end of more than a few zealous evangelical Christians.


I've met some Christians so "zealous" that they make me feel like a horrible person. Which, yeah, we're all sinners. We should continually seek to be more Christ-like. But shouldn't we be building others up instead of tearing them down? Some go way too far with their zeal and expect every Christian they meet to be exactly like them.

I'm of the mindset that God gave each of us special gifts/talents to use for the benefit of His kingdom - and that they are unique to each individual. Therefore not every Christian is called to minister in a way synonymous to each and every other Christian.

For an example: not every Christian is called to go on a mission trip to Haiti. But I've met Christians who look down on people who don't go on mission trips.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby shooraijin » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:34 pm

But I've met Christians who look down on people who don't go on mission trips.


That's very disappointing to see, and unfortunately reflects the legalism I see in too many churches.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Yamamaya » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:19 am

faithb4sight wrote:
I've met some Christians so "zealous" that they make me feel like a horrible person. Which, yeah, we're all sinners. We should continually seek to be more Christ-like. But shouldn't we be building others up instead of tearing them down? Some go way too far with their zeal and expect every Christian they meet to be exactly like them.

I'm of the mindset that God gave each of us special gifts/talents to use for the benefit of His kingdom - and that they are unique to each individual. Therefore not every Christian is called to minister in a way synonymous to each and every other Christian.

For an example: not every Christian is called to go on a mission trip to Haiti. But I've met Christians who look down on people who don't go on mission trips.

Yeah this is a huge problem I know of among evangelicals. It's essentially gift projection. If I'm skilled at missions, then you should be too and you must go as well otherwise your spirituality is questionable. No one seems to acknowledge that going on missions requires one to be open and able to learn about new cultures, high flexibility, and a lot of money. It certainly isn't for everyone. I remember reading in a book called Accidental Pharisees that we can get ourselves in trouble by forcing ourselves to do certain religious activities such as missions or others because we felt pressured by others rather than because we are gifted in that area.

To be quite honest, I hate it when Christians are more concerned about the personal lives of others than actually trying to improve other people's lives.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby AdaI » Sat May 17, 2014 12:16 pm

I really get what you guys are saying. I'm new to the faith since several months ago, and already I feel like if I'm not throwing myself at Bible study and prayer for hours on end that my spirtuality is in jeopardy. It's probably because I signed up to Christian newsletters to get them by email, and I feel so immature in my faith compared to the people who write those articles. I try to remind myself that those writers are in their forties and probably grew up in the Church, and I've only started believing since around the end of last year. It makes me so miserable that I don't have the exact same zeal for Christ. I mean, of course I WANT to, but it's not there - yet, I hope. I mean, I do pray before I go to bed, I've given up a lot of my bad habits, tried to be more helpful and such, prayed for the lost, I'm on a year-long Bible reading schedule, but I feel so terrible because I feel like if I'm not constantly thinking about Jesus, I'm doing something wrong.

Do you guys ever get those days where you actually are reasonably zealous about Jesus, but then after a while it fades, then it starts up again a couple days later? Like I'm taking two steps forward and one step back in my spiritual life. Maybe it's because I'm new to all this.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Nate » Sat May 17, 2014 6:06 pm

I honestly can't remember the last time I was reasonably zealous about Jesus. That's probably a bad thing but I have no idea how to remedy it.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby faithb4sight » Thu May 22, 2014 9:31 am

@AdaI

I've certainly felt the same way! My actual Faith is not wavering, it's just that the fire is not always there. I'm not sure if there is a specific remedy... but I think that you are doing the right thing - immersing yourself in God's Word, and praying to Him.

It's fantastic that you are giving up bad habits and trying to do more good, but remember that you don't have to meet a quota. Help where you feel led to~ Christianity isn't about adhering to a strict set of rules because we are told to by other people. Christianity is about wanting to adhere to the Commandments because we want to please the God who sacrificed His son to save us, and because we want to help our fellow man find the same Truth.

It's okay if you don't have a fire thrashing around inside of you every second burning to do God's work. You are not a failure as a Christian for this. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the "perfect" Christians who know so much about the Bible, and who seem to have so much drive for God's purposes. Here's the thing, though: they're imperfect, too. No one is perfect. Just like you and me, those people are learning and growing. They are making mistakes, and falling into God's arms for forgiveness.

You don't have to copy anyone. God has a purpose for YOU that is unique from every other person. You'll discover it one day, and be shocked at how perfectly it fits you. :)
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby shooraijin » Sat May 24, 2014 1:06 pm

Nate wrote:I honestly can't remember the last time I was reasonably zealous about Jesus. That's probably a bad thing but I have no idea how to remedy it.


As a contrasting view, I'm not sure that being constantly zealous about anything is a good thing either, even Christ. I'm quite sure God would understand differences in personality and emotional response, but there are churches which preach "being constantly on fire for God" as daily living rather than an exceptional call for exceptional circumstances. I'd find it exhausting.
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby Sammy Boy » Thu May 29, 2014 5:05 am

Nate wrote:
Sammy Boy wrote:You've just reminded me that I used to attend a church that had structured / graded Bible study classes and exams at the end of each year. I remember one time I only scored 57%. :)

What happened if you failed?

I don't like the idea of this though, sounds like you'd have a situation where you could have an answer that is theologically sound but the church marks it wrong because they just disagree with it.


The score actually doesn't mean anything significant in the end, and 50% or higher is not required for you to 'advance' to the next level.

The teachers usually review why they scored you that way with you in person after, clarify that it is their view of your answers, and that the 'exam' is only meant to make you think through / about the questions.

After all, it's not like that was a theological college. :)
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby TheEternalStudent » Sat May 31, 2014 10:38 pm

No one can say if they'll be prepared for a time in life without God's love present...More than anything else, I feel a peace over my life no matter what hardships.Exercising faith in everyday life, i agree with..Though i dont think that means asking your coworkers if they're saved or reading a bible in the break room (if you normally dont) you'd have to reference what Paul said "Do all things unto the lord" meaning, whatever it is you do, do it for God, with diligence and effort, and all your heart..And thats hard to do when you might be tasked to some things that you may or may not care about (maybe your job?)
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Re: The Way to Permanent Faith

Postby John_Smith » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:26 am

It's really interesting to see how this thread in particular has grown, compared to the others. I want to write a lot... but it's mostly all been said. :n_n:

I think that there needs to be a balance. What would those with zeal do if they no longer had it? And for those of us who don't have a great amount of zeal to begin with, we are not exempt from still carrying out whatever God asks of us.

AdaI wrote:Do you guys ever get those days where you actually are reasonably zealous about Jesus, but then after a while it fades, then it starts up again a couple days later?


Yes, you're not alone in that at all. In fact, I think it's probably one of those common things that nobody ever brings up. This is also part of the reason why I personally put an emphasis on serving God without needing zeal, so I don't backslide during these 'downtimes.'

This isn't to say that those with zeal are doing something wrong. In fact, please, keep doing your thing (and give me some of your energy every now and then ) just be conscious of the fact that you might not always have that passion.
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