Genuine faith builds stability

Published 5:23 pm Friday, April 15, 2016

It is obvious that we live in an unstable world that is filled with unpleasant surprises and unwanted changes. You can be doing well at a job one day and unexpectedly become unemployed the next; you can be perfectly healthy today and completely helpless tomorrow; a region of the world can seem peaceful and prosperous for a long time then suddenly erupt into flames of war and destruction.

We cannot erase all those kinds of possibilities from our world, but we do have direction from God’s Word that allows us to know the peace and stability that comes from faith in Him regardless of what is going on around us. These words found in Philippians 4 are worth committing to memory: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (verses 6-7, New International Version).

Over thirty years ago my granddaddy gave me an old barn on his farm—that is, he gave me the materials from it if I would tear down the small wooden structure. It sounded like a good idea at the moment, but I still remember how unpleasant it was as I sat up on the ridge of that old structure tearing away at the rusty tin roof. The building was partially collapsed so it did not appear that it would take much to bring it on down, but it was still worth my time and effort because of its materials that were still useable. My plan was to deliberately destabilize it further by removing nails and boards. But surprisingly, it did not come crashing down as quickly and easily as it appeared it would—there were boards and nails constructed in such a way as to maintain stability. Strength was not so evident outwardly, but it had inward support where it was crucially needed.

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I finally succeeded in taking it down and taking it apart, but it took a lot of effort

There is an enemy of our souls who is out every day with his attempts to destabilize and destroy our lives, but the stabilizing force of genuine faith in Christ and His Word—even as we abide in an unstable world–enables us to withstand the forces of Satan and live an abundant and overcoming life in Christ. The stabilizing effect of genuine faith is realized when we put God’s Word into practice. James 1:22 gives this very practical and beneficial advice: “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what It says.” A.W. Tozier said that there is a wide “gulf that separates theory from practice in the church.” He added that “It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right.”

In other words, too often we fail to allow the Word of God to penetrate from our heads to our hearts; we need to put what we know into practice and allow it to impact how we live.

Even if you appear frail and weak on the outside, rest assured that the stability of genuine faith in God and obedience of His Word can give you strength within to overcome Satan’s deliberate attempts to destabilize and destroy you.