Monday, November 28, 2011

Faith brings understanding…

Week 48:
Philemon vs. 6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Sometimes the idea of faith is easy for me to understand.  Other times, I have a difficult time defining faith.  In Hebrews 11:1, the writer gives a definition of faith, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  This seems simple enough.  However, faith has multiple functions…one of those functions, is understanding.
By having faith, what do we understand?  In this passage, we gain an understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.  There are so many good things we received from Christ.  One would be enough, salvation.  But Christ brought so much more.  He brought such a radical way of thinking and dealing with people.  He brought what God had intended when He created the world.  What would be some of the good things in Christ that you can think of?
The Hebrews writer gives us another understanding that faith brings.  In 11:3 we see that, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.”  We gain some insight into what God made, he made from nothing.  How amazing! 
In 2 Peter 1:5-8 we have a list of add-ons to our faith.  Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  I believe without faith we would not have a deeper understanding of these character traits.  Without faith I may have some knowledge of these, I might even see them in action, but I would not understand them as the good things we have in Christ.  I would not understand how they fit in the kingdom of God.

Not only does possessing faith allow for this understanding, but notice the passage:  “sharing your faith.”  I believe firsthand and have heard many others attest to the fact that you learn more when you teach.  The same is true about sharing your faith.  There is something to hearing the words come out of my mouth that helps me to own my faith and increase my understanding.  So, not only do we need to have faith to understand, but we also must share that faith to gain deeper understanding.  I had always heard that faith was an action…here is a passage to back that up.  The challenge is:  Don’t just have faith, share it!
“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
1.        What stirred in your heart reading today’s passage and thoughts?
2.       Have you been one who has just “sat” on your faith without sharing?  What has held you back?
3.       Name some ways you could share your faith this week.
4.       Now, go out and share with two people this week what your faith is and how it has affected you.
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