Living by faith

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Faith is often misunderstood in Christian circles and in the world. Luther said that we are saved by faith alone but what does that mean? Is faith just about going to heaven or to hell? Is there no real benefit to having faith in this life? This series looks to help you get a better handle on what it is like to live by faith. It is not as difficult as it seems unless we make it so. It is about dedication to God and others and reaping the benefits of having God and others on your side. It is about living different like an athlete does so that you develop new habits and train each day. In the end, like the athlete, you will have the reward and a better life in the process. When you understand what faith is all about, you will understand why it is a prize worth having.

Start new habits - Acts 2:42-47 So you want to lose weight. There are libraries filled with books about health and exercise. Programs for weight loss and gyms filled with equipment fill our nation. None of that will make a bit of difference without new habits. Faith is the same. It is one thing to say you are a Christian. It is another to live out your faith so that it is your great joy and so that you are a benefit to others. Many Christians will get into heaven by the skin of their teeth, but they will not enjoy life here on earth because they have lousy faith habits. Devoting yourself implies that the habits were regular and consistent. It is the difference between having joy as a Christian and just getting by. It is the difference between being a blessing to others or someone that they tolerate. Here we look at four habits that each of us should make our own.

Stop being consumers - Rom. 12:1-8 In our world, the customer is always right so demand your rights because they owe it to you. If you don’t see Pomegranates in the store, demand that they provide them. Ask your doctor to prescribe some drug you saw on TV to solve your stomach problems. Ever notice how it is all about me in this society. Look what it has gotten us as a nation. We are divided and self-centered and constantly beating up on each. There has to be a better way. In the book of Romans, Paul turns to the personal application after telling everyone about the cross. Dedication to God and to others is the basis for a community that works. You were saved for a purpose and this is how we are to live.

Why do we make faith so hard? - Matt 11:25-30 In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had placed so many rules and regulations on the people that religion had become like labor and a heavy burden. Rome had placed so many taxes on the people that it was hard to make enough money to feed your family. Our day has become more and complex. Healthcare has become complex as has saving for the future with the rules for 401K and Roth funds. Even phones and TV’s seem to baffle anyone over the age of 30. It tends to make us feel insignificant and cautious. Who do you trust in a world where they change the rules on you every day? Jesus is here to help. To a society who is confused and stressed out by all the competing claims, He has answers and He alone will give us rest. You can’t get away from the labors of life, but you can have Jesus’ help. It is all about three words: Come, take, and learn.