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Test Your Faith - A Devotion

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2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

Is your faith real? Is it genuine? Can you count on faith when all else fails? Do you believe that it is God’s Power alive and well on the inside of you? Do you use it to overcome everyday situations and problems that you face? Do you use it as a last resort? Do you want more faith? Are you looking to see it increased in your life? Do you have real idea what faith is? I really don’t think we do most of the time. This will offend religious people who wear faith over their heart like a badge but fail to recognize its significance in their heart. If we do not take the time to examine our heart to determine if our faith is real, we live a dangerous and uncertain existence. One thing I have come to realize is that we call things “faith” that are not faith at all. We have made faith something we do which is not the case at all. Jesus Christ is the substance of our faith. He is the one who sealed our covenant with God making it impossible for us to do anything outside of His Grace to make Him more accessible than He already is. Our efforts to secure our faith is like trying to buying a ticket for a free performance. The ad in the paper said, “Free” so you came to check it out. Once you were there, it was so good that you decided that it was worth paying for so you attempted to do so after the fact, but the window was closed. You have faith, but in most cases fear keeps us from using it.

As I began thinking about my faith in the Lord, many thoughts began falling into my thoughts. Such as waiting becomes hesitation when God tells me to move and I don’t do it. A stand becomes bondage when He makes a way and I refuse to take it insistent on having it my way. Repentance continues to be rebellion if I do not turnaround. Brokenness is pointless if I choose to keep all the pieces and fix it myself. I am called to be “like” God, not to be God. Grace is enough unless I need to add something to it. There is no completion in compromise. There is no perfection in substitutions. The harder “I” work, the harder it is to surrender my life to the Lord. The only thing that I am called to do in this life is have faith in Jesus Christ. If I do not do that, my life will be incomplete and salvation insecure. I must test my faith. Knowledge is required to pass any test and the test of faith is no different.

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His Good Pleasure.

“Work out your own salvation” is probably the most misunderstood verse in the whole Bible. Religion takes this to mean that righteousness is something that we do. It is who we must become in order to be found faithful to God. I think the minute we read, “Work out…” we hit the door running to “do something” for the Lord. The only thing that pleases God is our faith. In fact, it is impossible to please Him without faith. (Hebrews 11:6) Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will happen and the assurance about things that we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) The problem is not in knowing what faith is but rather understanding who it is. Faith is not something we do but what God has already done inside of us. He gave us faith. (Romans 12:3) It is up to discover that faith and begin to use it in our life to build confident hope and learn to trust the Lord for everything in our life. From the very beginning, God knew we were unfaithful and rebellious people. He was there when mankind chose to sin. He decided before that to save us and gave us His Son, Jesus Christ. This is ancient history that prevails through all time. You cannot add to it or take away from it. You do have a choice.

Psalm 25:8-14 (NLT)
The LORD is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands. For the honor of your name, O LORD, forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The LORD is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant.

God leads us with unfailing love and faithfulness. He is good. He does what is right in every situation. Our Father shows us the way back and leads the humble (surrendered) by teaching them the way of life. He forgives all of our sin so we can live in His Presence once more drawing us closer. The choice, however, remains our own. See verse 12, “He will show them the path they should choose.” You decide the course of your life by the choices that you make. You may think that you have many options but the truth is unless you choose to have faith in Jesus Christ all those options are nothing more than opportunities for the enemy to delay, distract and attempt to destroy you. There is only One Way – His Name is Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and Life. No one can make it to God except by Him. (John 14:6) Prosperity and inheritance are a chosen position not an earned one. The only way to have it is to be in Covenant with God, the Father through Jesus Christ the Son! But is the price too high to hand our life over just like that? Maybe so, if you had to pay it!

Psalm 111:7-10 (NLT)
All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!

Salvation is come as you are and completely free. Religion puts a price on righteousness. God says just have faith in my Son, Jesus. God went so far as to not only insure His Part of the Covenant but yours as well. In a covenant relationship, both sides bring their offering to the meeting place and put it together as one. When animals were involved as gruesome as it sounds, they were cut in half and each partner would walk through the Blood symbolizes the union. Now that you are completely grossed out, try to focus. The Blood required to pay for our part of the covenant was paid by Jesus Christ. We do not have to sacrifice anything at all. We can “freely” enter this agreement with God by faith alone. You can do nothing to satisfy your part of this partnership outside of faith. Faith is all God requires anything else is a manmade requirement that contaminates the relationship. This is why we cannot break our covenant with God because we didn’t pay for it – He did and gave it to us as a gift. “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54:9-10) You cannot break your covenant with God because you didn’t pay for it. You can only reject it or choose something else.

Psalm 18:25 (NLT)
To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile.

When you take the time to examine the Word of God and really break it down – you find nuggets of truth hidden that reveal an amazing God with unfailing love and faithfulness. See it is not our nature to be faithful. It is totally God’s Character. You are off the hook. He knows exactly how we are and what we are capable of. He made us. He has written our life from start to finish. There is only one thing that He is looking for us to do. Accept His Love by faith. To the faithful you show yourself faithful. Does that mean if I am unfaithful than He will be? No, it means when I am faithful I see that the Lord has been faithful all alone. What is faithful? He has remained true to our Covenant even when I was not. He is consistently reliable even when I rebelled. His Promises are accurate in detail and He keeps everyone. He is steady in His Allegiance to me His Child and showers me with affection even when I am on the run. He has a Glorious Standard of Living and Loving that He is intent on me having. “To those with integrity you show integrity.” God’s Standards never change. When we choose to have unimpaired faith and live in unity with the Lord, we experience wholeness, satisfaction and completion that prove His Integrity in keeping all His Promises. “To the pure you show yourself pure.” When we are free from differing opinions, compromises and substitutions that we fill the voids in our life and allow faith to work in us and through us – we see that we really are clean, set free and unblemished before God thanks to Jesus Christ. There is no more guilt and shame. The hostility comes from rebellion and failure to accept the terms of our covenant. The word “hostile” means opposed in feeling, action or character. It is to not be friendly, warm or generous. The only way to be hostile with God is to oppose Him. We oppose Him by not having faith in our covenant relationship that He has completely provided for or believing it must be earned. You cannot work out your salvation but must let your faith grow inside of you to become completely dependent on God in total partnership with Jesus Christ. Faith is the only thing that works in our life. Without it, you are striving and struggling for nothing. Faith, hope and love are eternal partners. (I Corinthians 13:13) If you love Jesus, you must have faith that turns to confident hope because to love means never losing faith. (I Corinthians 13:7) This verse is not about if you do, I will. It means I (GOD) have now you will know!

Psalm 119:29-32 (NLT)
Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.

The study guide used for the test of faith is the Word of God. You will never know the faith you have been given or how to use it, if you do not spend time in the Word. Understanding is essential to genuine faith because like most things it has become convoluted. The Word is what identifies our faith. (Romans 10:17) Jesus is the Word of God therefore to have intimacy with Christ requires knowing the Word more than casually. (John 1:14) Faith is substantiated when we begin to totally trust in His Word enough to accept it fully without ever seeing a thing. This is real hope. It makes the Lord marvel. (Matthew 8:5-13)To get to the place where God said it and I believe it means filling our heart with His Word so it is what comes out when pressures overwhelm us. Faith is our purpose in life. (Romans 1:17) There is nothing else we can do to live in covenant with God. We are made right by faith not anything we “do”. (Romans 3:22) God raises back to His Glorious Standard of living by trust alone. Faith makes us righteous not religion. (Romans 4:4-5) Faith produces God’s Promises in our life. (Romans 4:16-17) It must be all that we focus on, pay attention to, work to cultivate, and wait to grow. (Romans 4:20-22) It is not about our ability to be faithful but the fact that He is faithful. This confidence allows us to freely accept His New Grace and Mercy to face each day with new hope even on the darkest days knowing that He is faithful! (Lamentations 3:21-24)

Mark 4:39-41 (NLT)
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

I have seen the Lord do amazing miracles in my life. Things that cannot be attributed to anything or anyone but God. He blows my mind every single time. Yet when the next test comes, I struggle to believe at times. Why is that? “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? Who is this man?” Faith requires a consistent confidence in Jesus Christ that will take your whole lifetime to build. God does not order our life. It says that He orders our steps because He knows our weaknesses. The Word of God says that we can pray for ANYTHING and if we have faith – it WILL happen. (Matthew 21:21-22) He did not say save my power for the big things that hit you, but that you can use your faith in every situation. We do not use it because we often do not believe in the Power that lives inside of us. We keep asking the Lord where to find faith. (Luke 17:5-6) He is telling us that He lives inside of us! (Romans 12:3) Don’t just ask for more faith, but use your faith to grow more faith! I leave you with this. Our dryer recently started acting up. It would work for a few minutes and then just shut off. Restart it only to do the same. We googled the problem to see if we could fix it. Nothing. Called a repairman who said for almost $400, he thought he might know how to fix it. Yeah, right. So standing in front of it, I was frustrated as we do about three loads of laundry a day. I let the Lord have it with my frustration about the dryer and all the other things “breaking down” in our life. I was mad because we are children of God who are “faithful”. The Spirit of God whispered, “Have you prayed about it?” My dryer! That’s ridiculous. I did it anyway. It broke down again. I did it again. It still kept starting and stopping. I stopped being mad and just became more determined for the resurrection power of God to work in this dryer and my life. Well, let’s just say I need to go fold some clothes because the dryer just finished drying another load! Faith you have it. Use it!

Hebrews 11:1-6 (NLT)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

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