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Faith is The Most Important Thing The invaluable nature of the gift of

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					                                Faith is The Most Important Thing

        The invaluable nature of the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ is more precious than
diamonds. It is more essential than any other thing in existence.
        Faith is “being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” Hebrews
11:1
        I am amazed at how casual the call to being faithful people has become. It is disturbing
to see the way we sometimes live with faith as an option, like leather seats on a car. The
Christian faith is not an option. It is the most important gift to be claimed, lived, and shared with
others.
        The Claiming
        Faith is not a noun. It is an action of being claimed, of going to the divine pawnshop and
being redeemed by someone who has paid handsomely for us, so that we can live forever.
        Why is it that we line faith up on the buffet with other things like business, hobby, time,
children’s likes and dislikes? We then choose one or the other based on current conditions or
feelings. There is only one thing that is needful, the living Jesus said and says, and that is faith.
        We devalue faith by only taking part of it. If someone offends or disappoints us, or
things don’t go exactly the way we want them to go, we withdraw either physically or
emotionally.
        We shortchange God by expecting that he cannot do everything. We limit him by not
desiring complete and victorious faith. We make faith an option to our kids, modeling that God
has to get in line like everybody else.
        But God is not like everybody else. There is none like him. God is omniscient,
omnipresent, omnipotent. These three words mean that he knows everything, is everywhere, and
can do anything.
        He is bigger than any human, any Christian, any pastor or teacher or president or general.
And yet, he chooses to make himself available to us weak and sinful human beings.
        He waits for us to sort through everything, to weather our disappointments and
distractions, and claim the most precious gift in the universe. This claiming is long overdue for
many inside and outside the church.
        The Living
        The Christian faith is to be lived unlike those of the world. It demands high ideals, total
victory, unquestionable character, and the challenge to be absolutely different, millions of steps
better than the life of the world.
        Some would offer that we can live according to our wants or desires. Our only desire
should be that we can be holy enough to serve our God.
        The Christian faith, when lived at a minimalist level, even for some that are in the church,
can be lifeless and routine. Meeting the living God, entering into a living and interactive
relationship, and finding miracle and power are the minimum that we should expect.
        God challenges us to live with victory over sin and selfishness. Gossip, immorality,
profanity, and envy should be banished to those of the world who eagerly welcome it. These
things have no place in the life of a Christian.
        The Sabbath should be a day we anxiously look forward to. Worship should entail
drinking in the spiritual love and power God waits to pour out on us.
        Ruth Bell Graham used to say that we can have just enough religion to inoculate us
against a relationship. What a tragedy! Watered down preaching, parents and leaders who live
the Christian life as an option rather than a new way of life are taking our society the way of the
Roman Empire as it fell, and God does not want that for us!
         I like Martin Luther King’s definition of faith. “Faith,” he said, “is taking the first step
even when you do not see the whole staircase.”
         The Sharing
         Every day we should look to share our faith with others. Finding meaningful and current
ways of sharing the faith is our task, and God loves it when we share!
         Why is the church pew or chair next to you empty? Because you did not invite someone
to sit there. You did not offer to bring them.
         Statistics show that young people are leaving the church at an alarming rate. They have
formed a watered-down, lifeless view of limited faith from those they look up to. They actually
think the sum of faith is going to church occasionally, getting what you want out of life, and
going to heaven when you die.
         The Christian life is not soap operas, American Idol, instant chat, or being popular. It is
much, much more. It is about priceless and permanent relationships. It is about world-changing
gifts from the one true God who can give them.
         God places this priceless gift in the hands of each generation of Christians. And faith, the
most important thing, will grow in direct proportion to the extent it is given away.

				
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