Imagine that someone offered you a free cruise: you simply had to pack your bags, go to the pier and get on the ship. OK, that sounds easy enough, so you do it… well, almost. You pack your bags and go to the pier, but you aren’t sure about walking on board; it sounds too good to be true.
Soon, other people arrive and get on the ship. No one kicks them off. So, you study every piece of material you can find about this free cruise and finally you are convinced this is the real deal.
You’re so sure that you tell other people about the trip and they pack their bags and get on board! But when the ship sets sail, you are standing on the pier, waving goodbye.
You believed that the cruise was free. You believed it so much that you told others about it but you didn’t get on board. Why not? Perhaps because you couldn’t bring yourself to accept something free? Or because you’re a skeptic? Or you don’t trust people? Whatever the reason, the bottom line is: you didn’t exercise willful trust in the facts. You didn’t have faith.
Faith has three components: knowing the facts, agreeing to the facts, and then willfully acting on the facts. It is getting on the ship.
Saving faith is much the same — faith is more than just believing the Bible and agreeing that it is true – faith is willingly trusting in God’s word, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and committing your whole life to him.
If you, or I, say that we have true saving faith then what we are declaring is that we believe that every word of the Bible is the true and inspired word of God. We believe that Jesus is the only means of salvation, we respond in agreement, and we willingly commit to follow Christ — we repent of our sin and our striving to earn, or merit, salvation and turn to Christ Jesus in complete trust.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12 NIV
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. ” — Luke 9:23-24 NIV
Committing to follow Jesus is akin to getting on the boat — we are at the mercy of the One in whom we have placed all our trust. We know that when storms arise, we are safe in his loving care. But, how do we live out our faith when life is not easy? We begin by recognizing that our lives are not compartmentalized. Our faith is not just for worship on Sunday morning, or our Bible study class; faith enables us to persevere through every circumstance of every day. We won’t get off the ship, we can’t get off the ship.
When we experience trials or sufferings, faith in Christ Jesus helps us recognize that every detail of our lives filters through the hands of a loving Father. Nothing happens to us that God has not allowed or ordained, therefore we are safe. We can endure because we know that God knows what is best for us.
Thomas Watson says, “Faith shows the soul that whatever its trials are – that they are all sent in love to my soul. God corrects me, with the same love with which he crowns me; God is now training me up for heaven.”
It is our faith in God, and his Word, that helps us understand that he uses hard things for our good. Faith points us to God who lifts us up above our defeats and frustrations. Faith helps us understand and accept that God’s plan for us is good. Faith reminds us that our future is in the hand of our all-wise, loving, compassionate, just and merciful God.
Faith helps us to see beyond today and beyond ourselves. Faith reminds us that God is working out his great purpose for the world and that we are a part of it. Faith gives us an eternal perspective.
When we live in faith we live with the comforting assurance that God is in control of the ship that is carrying us to our eternal destination. Faith reminds us that the ultimate victory over death has been won and that the greatest reward of all awaits us: eternity with our Lord in heaven.
All discontent is disbelief. When discontent takes over it is because we have set aside faith and forgotten that God’s Word and his promises are true.
Discontent belittles God and elevates our selfishness, pride and ego. Faith elevates God and reminds us that we are sinners whom God has chosen to love, forgive and save.
Are you in the boat with God? Or are you standing on the pier, believing, but not trusting? What could possibly satisfy you more than knowing God has saved you, loves you, desires and plans what is best for you, and will bring you to his safe harbor?
Click here for week 1 — “Not That One, That One!”
Click here for week 2 — “Contentment Defined!”
Click here for week 3 — Tool #1: “Search The Heart”
Click here for week 4 — Tool #2: “Remember That Life Is Short”
Click here for week 5 — Tool #3: “Listen To Your Words”
Click here for week 6 — Tool #4: “Compare Wisely”
Click here for week 7 — Tool #5: “Live Out Your Faith”
Click here for week 8 — Tool #6: “Enjoy Your Pasture”
Click here for week 9 — Tool #7 “The Promises of God”
Click here for week 10 — “When Discontent is the Right Thing”
Click here for week 11 — “In Defense of Discontent”
Click here for week 12 — “Breaking Bad: The Danger of Discontent”
Click here for week 13 – What’s Next
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