Rising Above the Cultural Noise: Seeking a Strengthened Faith
August 10, 2021
Do you want to grow in authentic faith?
First step: Rise above the temptation to rely on someone else’s relationship with God for yours to make sense.
Read, pray, seek godly counsel, and know what you believe and not what others tell you to believe. No one enters the presence of God on the faith of someone else, and we will each give account for what we do in these bodies (Romans 14:12).
Are you discouraged about how genuine, biblical faith is portrayed in false ways through people in the Church?
Next step: Consider where your eyes are. What or who are you looking at for the confidence and security of your faith?
Understand the reality of the human condition and where you would be without the grace of Christ in your life. Allow yourself to see man’s great need and instead of driving a wedge between you and God, may it draw you closer to the One who has the answers.
Instead of allowing the failings of others to weaken your faith, draw closer to God and strengthen your own.
Be THAT one.
The truth is that walking a courageous faith isn’t easy. To be set apart for God is not popular. If you look at the life of the disciples by reading the New Testament, they were often alone and ostracized…except by true believers in the growing Church. They were just not able to be with them on a regular basis, because they were on mission. But, you can hear the longing Paul has to be with other believers when you read his letters. And they also experienced the hurt of people forsaking them and the gospel message (2 Timothy 4:10).
When we walk by faith, what can we expect?
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT
We will most likely look weird to those around us as we put away our worldly desires. People who assemble with other believers weekly, give a tenth of their income to God, live sexually pure before God, remove old ways of talking and being that don’t honor who we are becoming in Christ, and care about the salvation of others are odd to the world. They can’t understand it.
We may be misunderstood and have our motives questioned. 1 Peter 2:12 above talks about how our conduct should be before man as they accuse us of doing wrong. When things are different than the norm in a society, people get scared. They look for someone to blame. This is why God calls us to live a life worthy and blameless before God and the world. We will never do it perfectly as humans, but the overall arch of our lives should point to the holiness of God.
People focused on things above grow dim to those clinging to the earth. They won’t be able to see us clearly. Your image will look distorted and strange to those peering through the fog.
Here are some questions to consider where our eyes and focus are:
Do we allow the failings of others to keep us home and away from the community designed for and commanded of us to gather with as followers of Christ? Community may look different especially in the midst of the health crisis in the world, but we will be actively finding ways to encourage and connect through whatever means God gives us. We should be longing for it when it is absent. We should pray for it when we can’t find it. (Heb. 10:23-25)
Are we surprised when humans act like humans? Does it cause us to grow bitter against what God created, His very Body and those He loves? Bitterness leads to evil, so that is moving in the wrong direction! (Hebrews 12:15, Eph. 4:31)
Do you view trials as opportunities for growth and times to lean on Christ for provision and strength? (James 1:2)
Do you value the word of God over the voices of our day? (Romans 10:17)
Do we wrestle through things that are uncertain and cause anxiety in search of the peace that only God can give? (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Do we look for the way of escape when there seems to be no way or do we crumble in defeat? (1 Cor. 10:13)
Do we praise in the storm or wait until we receive the desired outcome? (Psalm 34:1)
We can’t be who God created us to be and live in the grace of our salvation when we base our relationships on what others do or do not do.
Is it discouraging? Yes.
So why would we choose to be that for someone else?
When we show a disconnect and disdain for God’s people, as broken and unfaithful as we all are at times, we lead others to discouragement and doubt. (Romans 14:13)
If our eyes are on the right things, we won’t be distracted by the things of this world. In the moments of weariness, we can begin to sink, but even when we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Tim. 2:13). And, just like He did for Peter out on the waves, He will help us to rise above the struggles we face and help our unbelief. We look to live.
God is always sure, true, and steady. That is the hope we hold on to.
Do not be a rock of offense or source of stumbling for others distressed and weary of walking with men.
Instead, learn to walk with God.
Those who walk with God faithfully may be few and far between, as the way is narrow, but they will grow strong in faith and steadfastness and attract others to the true beauty of Christ – the only One unmarred by the images of sin.
My prayer and hope is that all of this current deconstruction talk will strip away the real heart issues in our personal lives and lead to a greater generation of faith-filled, committed Christians. It begins with loving what God loves and not allowing the sins of others to create sin in our own lives that hinders our personal growth.
Will you join me today in seeking to rise above and live unto Christ regardless of what others are doing? We will only give answer to one. May we be making every effort to grow in the direction of the Son this very day.