For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (NIV)
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The reason is these animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall.
Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.
Our message today is God's Plan for my life - addressing the matter of a person growing in Jesus Christ.
God has a plan for each of our lives. Whether we live the best life we can, or accept something less depends on first... receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior and then growing to maturity as we live by the word of God. Then the progression of spiritual growth which makes God plan for our lives possible. The vital matter of letting Jesus Christ be the Lord of our lives. It is a matter of being a disciple of Jesus and letting Him guide us through life. We then are filled by the Holy Spirit God's will for our lives is accomplished daily.
Let's look at faith's part in living God's will for our lives. Our illustration of the African impala points to the fact that many people never really grow much in the Lord. They fail to realize that we are to live by faith. However, the illustration has a flaw... the impala will not jump where he cannot see. The Christian does not have that problem, because God does not tell us to take a "leap into the dark" either. God's word explains to us the ways of God, His instructions to us on how He works in us. He tells us in clear terms what is right and wrong for us. He gives clear principles to guide us through any situation that we encounter in life.
So biblical faith is not jumping where we cannot see, but jumping or better living as God has told us. We can jump 30 foot fences in faith and land safely on the other side. Or, we can live small dull little lives... held within the little fences of our lack of faith.
I. A person who is "born again" starts a new life similar to that of a newborn infant.
A. Seven rules that promote good health in babies can be adapted and applied to a Christian's spiritual growth.
1. Daily Food. Take in the "pure milk of the word" through study and meditation.
2. Fresh Air. Pray often or you will faint. Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.
3. Regular Exercise. Put into practice what you learn in God's Word.
4. Adequate Rest. Rely on God at all times in simple faith.
5. Clean Surroundings. Avoid evil company and whatever will weaken you spiritually.
6. Loving Care. Be part of a church where you will benefit from a pastor's teaching and Christian fellowship.
7. Periodic Checkups. Regularly examine your spiritual health.
B. All of these things are vital to living a spiritual life and accomplishing God's purpose for you life. BUT... they all have an element that is much deeper. They all must have a vital element, which without, they all are dead and will fail. That element is biblical faith.
1. There is a catchy phrase that says, "If God said it I believe it, and that settles it". If that is your attitude of trust towards God and His Word, then you are obeying the Lord, and bringing Him honor and glory. You will grow and live a wonderful life.
2. On the other hand, some express a different attitude. Some read the Bible, know that is what God has said and yet respond by saying, "God, you have a good thought, I appreciate it, but you don't understand my circumstances".
Some profess to believe Phil. 4:19, which says "...my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
However, when things are not exactly convenient or the going gets tough, as it will, many become anxious lose sight of God's presence. Some just continue on doing little or nothing and really going no where. Some panic, and begin to question their salvation and God's promises.
Both responses are human. But in Christ we can overcome just being human. We have the supernatural power of God to encourage, guide and strengthen us. To be anxious or to panic is human, but it is not an act of faith. When anxiousness and panic and uncertainty come, in the believer's life...faith should immediately take over.
That means we then do what the Bible says to do... we obey God and He then takes over.
John 5:10, says "he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar".
In this message "What is God's Purpose for My Life," I believe the most important message is the foundation of finding and living God's will for our lives. God has a purpose and that purpose is found in with biblical faith. Without faith Hebrews 11:6 says "it is impossible to please God."
I wonder how many of us would honestly see ourselves somewhat like the farmer in a story I heard. The story is told of an old farmer who proudly and frequently described his Christian experience to his friends saying... "Well, I'm not making much progress, but I'm established!" What he was saying was that he was not growing or accomplishing much for Christ. He was established is true... but being established for what?
One spring when he was hauling some logs, his truck's wheels sank down to the axles in mud. Try as he would, he couldn't get the truck out. Frustrated, he sat down atop the logs, viewing the dismal situation. He was trying to figure out what next to do...
Soon a neighbor who had always felt uncomfortable with the farmer's worn out defeated testimony came along and greeted him. He chuckled to himself and could not resist the opportunity to respond the farmer's silly past statement.
He smiled and said... "Well, brother Jones, I see you're not making much progress, but you must be content because you're well-established!
This reveals the problem. Some look upon their situation and are content with it. Others give up and do nothing. I think most of us accepts that we should grow in Christ.