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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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Dear Minister: I’m Struggling to Live a Life of Faith. Help!

By Pastor Terry Lothian

Dear Minister: As a Christian, I am struggling to live a life of faith in our secular, humanistic world. HELP!

Answer: Christian, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. However, Christianity has always been an anti-cultural battle. John 16:33 says, “In the world you will always have trouble.” Since the article is limited in space, “I’ll cut to the chase” and give you MY answer and rationale for it: (CIAJ) “Count it all Joy” (James 1:2)

First, IT’S A COMMAND. Romans 12:2 says, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The renewal of our mind (way we think from a biblical perspective) gives us a different perspective on life. The worldly person looks at life from simply a horizontal, historical perspective. The Christian looks at life from a vertical, biblical perspective. When chasing a fugitive, the cop in the helicopter has a totally different and more advantageous perspective than the cops chasing on the ground. Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have overcome the world.”

Second, THERE’S A REASON. James 1:3 says “because the testing of our faith produces perseverance.”   Until and unless hard times come, theology is only rhetoric. Someone much smarter than I once said “Christians are like tea bags. You only know how strong they are when they get in hot water.” Some translators use words like “endurance” and “steadfastness.” Hebrews 12:2 says “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” James says “CIAJ” because it develops perseverance. But perseverance is not an end in itself.

Third, THE PROMISE. Perseverance, endurance or steadfastness leads to “maturity” and “completeness.”  One of the saddest things to see is an adult who acts like a child. I refereed high school baseball, softball, soccer and basketball games for 30 years. To see adults yelling, cursing, whining and complaining was pathetic. Imagine God looking down from heaven seeing supposedly “mature” and “complete” Christians moaning, complaining, fearful and disconsolate like those of no faith at all.

CONCLUSION: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Pastor Terry Lothian

Preacher/Bible Teacher

Ocean City Tabernacle

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