Having Faith Is Not A Onetime Act—It’s A Lifelong Path

We all know that the Christian walk begins with faith in Jesus for the salvation of our soul. But faith is not a onetime act—it’s a lifelong path. And Hebrews 11:6 tells us why that journey is so important: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

The faith of new believers is immature and often restless because there isn’t yet a deep understanding of the heavenly Father. Therefore, when trials come, the tendency is to look at the problem rather than at God. But as we spend more time studying His Word and growing in our knowledge of Him, our confidence in the Lord begins to increase. The more we learn what pleases Him, the wiser our prayers become.

Another way faith matures is through trials. Jesus’ disciples became frightened in a storm and cried out to Him for help. We can relate to this scenario—at one time or another, we all have found ourselves in a desperate situation with no way to extricate ourselves. And the words Jesus spoke to His disciples could probably be said to us as well: “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26).

We’d all like a problem-free life, but that’s not possible. The silver lining is that trouble can strengthen our faith in the Lord. It’s one thing to read about God’s faithfulness in His Word, but we also need to experience it in our personal life. Each time we’re able to trust the Lord during a trial, we know our faith is genuine.

Who Finds Favor With God?

Who is it that finds favor with God? According to Isaiah, the people who find favor with God are the people who “are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). This does not mean that favor is something that can be earned by performing righteous deeds. Rather, it means that favor comes to those whose hearts are right before God. After all, it was Isaiah who also said that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6). If favor with God depended upon perfect obedience to God’s will and ways, then none of us would have very much favor with Him at all.

The person whose heart is right before God is a person who desires to walk in steadfast love. “Steadfast love,” in our verses for today, refers to our relationship to God and to other people. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us that “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” and Leviticus 19:18 says “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When our hearts are right before God our desire will be to love Him and His people. We may not always love as we should, but it will be the desire of our hearts. The person who has a heart for love receives God’s favor and the favor of people as well.

Further, the person whose heart is right before God will be a person who desires to walk in faithfulness. “Faithfulness” also refers to our relationship to God and to other people. The faithful person stands firm when others give up. They do not quit on God or other people. When our hearts are right before God our desire will be to remain faithful to Him and to His people. We may not always be as faithful as we should, but it will be the desire of our hearts. The person who has a heart for faithfulness receives God’s favor and the favor of people as well.

Let steadfast love and faithfulness rule the course of your life. People will look upon you with favor and so will God.

Darryl Strawberry’s Climb From Pit to Pulpit

What if? It’s a question Major League Baseball pundits ponder about Darryl Strawberry, one of the game’s legendary power hitters of the 1980s and ’90s.

Strawberry, who played for the New York Mets, has asked the same question, but ironically, he is more thankful for a season of striking out in life than his prowess at home plate.

Two failed marriages, drug and alcohol addiction, jail time and bankruptcy are the messes Strawberry says God used to transform into a message for His glory. And it’s that message the 57-year-old is sharing across the country as an itinerant evangelist speaking in churches, prisons and schools.

Strawberry likens God’s faithfulness in his life to that of Job in the Old Testament. “God let me see the fame, the fortune, the brokenness, the emptiness, almost left for dead, but He stepped in the middle and said, ‘Satan, OK, that’s enough. You can torment him all you want, but at the end, his soul belongs to Me and I’m going to take him, and I’m going to use him for My glory.’”

A two-time cancer survivor, Strawberry is profoundly grateful for his spiritual and physical healing.

I am glad for my fall because had I not fallen, I would have probably made another $50 million, but I wouldn’t have ever met Jesus,” Strawberry says. “He’s a God of second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances, and I think people need to understand that He’s a God that will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Rewritten with permission | Lee Waters – Author