We love to use categories. Sinner. Saint. Secular. Sacred. Contemporary. Traditional. The problem with using labels is that we eventually separate ourselves within the body of Christ.
We say things like:
“I’m just a mom.”
“I’m just a custodian.”
“I’m just a teacher’s aide.”
“I’m just a counselor, handyman, small business owner, factory worker, or retired person that wants some peace!”
We tell ourselves things like:
“I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, or rich enough”
“I’m not tall enough, thin enough, or strong enough for anyone.”
We begin to downplay who we are to God. We downplay what part we play in God’s plan without consulting the Scriptures. Who are we?
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)
Now let me translate that for you:
God is our Father, Jesus is our Brother and, for better or worse, we are all family! We are more than just sinners.
We are not only welcome in God’s Kingdom, we are co-heirs of it–if we are faithful.
In 1 John 4, we are told to “not believe EVERY spirit, test the spirits.”
Some of you may be thinking, “Test the spirits? But I am not a theologian, I don’t know the Bible well, and I thought knowing Jesus would be a cushy and warm experience.”
Here is where we go wrong as believers.
We filter the movies our children watch and we filter how we spend our money; we even pay extra to filter our tap water!
But we do not often filter out the spirit of fear and allow it to seep into our lives.
We can be led by faith or by fear. We are more than sinners—we are children of God.
We are his sons and daughters.
Let this sink in for a minute. Do any of you watch the news? What is all over the news—fear or faith? Fear is alive and well in today’s media culture. I have seen more fear-based news posted on social media than I ever have and it doesn’t surprise me.
Fear sells and fear keeps us weirdly comfortable and conformed. Fear paralyzes and keeps us numb to sensing the spirit of God. We need to put our faith in God first and foremost, as it trumps fear.
There is a distinct difference between being prepared and being paranoid.
How many of you are doomsday preppers?
Cultivating a spirit of faith instead of feeding into fear should be the goal of everyone in this room. Whether you are a seasoned believer or you are sitting here and wondering “why am I here and what is the special at the local diner,” all of us would benefit from cultivating a spirit of faith.
Faithfulness to God strengthens our identity in Christ. Faithfulness to God calls us to be committed to our Heavenly Father instead of the comforts of the world. As sons and daughters of God, we need to surrender faithfully to Him.
So, how do we live in faithfulness to God?
To live in a spirit of faithfulness, be open to the following:
- Test the spirits. Is this a spirit of fear or faith?
- Check your expectations. When you come to church, are you expecting a word from God or whomever is preaching? We are flawed, folks! Seek His word.
- Parents and grandparents: What are you teaching to the children of God?
- In an overconnected world, we are under-connected in REAL relationships. Why are you afraid of being known by others?
- Last question, why are so you so afraid to be known by God? I’ve got some REAL news for you: He knew you before you were created in your mother’s womb!!! There’s no hiding who you truly are!
Being faithful requires us to look at the Kingdom as more than a bunch of checklists: get to church, convert some people, get to Heaven.
So many people are claiming that the world is “going to hell.” We act like these are the worst times ever. And maybe they are. But if our world is truly going to hell, what are WE going to do about it? Will we bring a spirit of faithfulness or fear to our situations?
Lord, teach me to fully rely on you, to have faith in you and to share my faithfulness in you to others that don’t know that there is a Kingdom waiting for them. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Jason Weirich