Challenges To Our Faith–Intro
So here’s the plan… Every Sunday for the next twelve weeks I’ll be teaching a class on Challenges To Our Faith. I plan on posting the previous Sunday’s lesson every Monday throughout the series. It’s a little challenging to convert a conversation completely into print, but I’ll do my best to cover all the material here.
My plan is to use this intro page as a landing place for the entire series. I’ll make a new post every Monday, but then edit this page and add a link to the new post so they can all be found in one place. My hope is that by posting the classes here I’ll accomplish a few things. First, it’ll make it easier for people who miss the Sunday class or something in it (we have several mothers of little kiddos) to find something that they missed. In the same way it’ll make it easier for me to find old material too, rather than my current scattered-across-a-dozen-notebooks method. But just as importantly I hope that something brought up in class will be useful outside of our congregation.
3) A seared conscience #1
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Challenges To Our Faith—Introduction
It’s pretty obvious that the Bible makes a distinction between our faith and our faithfulness.
Hebrews 11:6 speaks of our belief that faith (our belief that God IS) and our faithfulness (being those that diligently seek Him). And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
And we see the difference in our temporal lives too. I have faith that my employer will send me a paycheck every two weeks and that prompts me to be faithful in my attendance and work ethic. The faith (belief) prompts the faithfulness (the action).
While our faith and faithfulness are two different things, the Bible also makes it very clear how intimately they’re connected. Again, Hebrews 11:6 refers to our faithfulness (our diligence in seeking God) being a result of our faith (that He exists and will reward us for seeking Him). And James 2:26 tells us that belief without faithfulness is a dead faith.
Do you think that your beliefs will influence your actions? Of course they do. Take marriage for example…. A woman would only agree to marry a man that she believes will be faithful to her and provide for her. Or my example of my employer…. If I didn’t believe that my employer would keep paying me regularly, I wouldn’t bother to keep coming to work regularly.
But do you think that your actions influence your beliefs? I think they do. If you only associate with and befriend and love people who are raging alcoholics, will your beliefs about alcoholism change? Sure they would. Most people will stop at nothing to justify the behaviors of the people they love. Don’t believe me? Try telling the parents of a little heathen at the park that their kid is a little heathen and see what happens next. They’ll absolutely flip out and justify all sorts of reckless, dangerous, rude and even illegal behavior that their kids engage in—because they love their kids and that love that they have influences what they believe about the heathenistic behaior.
And if you acknowledge that our faith can affect our faithfulness and our actions can affect our faith, you’ll see the need to have a serious study on the challenges that each of us face to our faith and faithfulness.
For purposes of this class, we’re going to address challenges to both our faith and faithfulness under the heading of Challenges To Our Faith.
I’ve asked for and received some good ideas for this series and I think it’ll really be a very good one. If you’ll enter your email address in the “subscribe” box to the right side of this page you’ll get an email update when new posts are made. You’ll be able to unsubscribe at any time, but you shouldn’t. That’d just be crazy.
Next week we’ll be talking about the challenge of defending our faith in a world that seems intent on tearing it down. How do we balance the need to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3) and the command to not “cast our pearls before the swine” (Matthew 7:6)?