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November 8, 2013, 1:10 PM

Seven Keys to a Realistic Faith



I received this encouragement by email and I would like to share it with visitors and members of  the ABC website. 

Enjoy......

 

Bill Elliff

Tue, Nov 5, 2013

PastorConnect

Remember the story of the twin boys with opposite personalities? One was a miserable pessimist, the other an incurable optimist. The parents, seeking to balance the two, gave the pessimist a new bike for Christmas and the optimist a bag of horse manure.

Christmas morning came. The parents asked the pessimist, “Do you like your new bike?” He replied, “It’s okay, but it will probably rust and I’ll have a wreck and cut myself and probably have to have a tetanus shot or maybe even kill myself ...”

Realizing their experiment had failed, they asked, “Where’s your brother?” To which he replied, “Oh, he got all excited and went outside saying something about trying to find his new horse!”

Everyone looks at life from the up or down side. Part of this is personality, but part is FAITH (one of the reasons we need the balance of each other.)

Paul was a man of incredible faith. As he describes his ministry in 2 Corinthians 4:8-18, we could look at just one side of the equation, which is what some people do to their great detriment.

I am...

1. Afflicted
2. Perplexed
3. Persecuted
4. Struck down
5. Always dying
6. Death is working in me
7. My outer man is decaying

If this is your only witness to a watching world, it is a poor representation of the power of Christ. Unbelievers would rightly say, “Why would I want to be a follower of Christ and add extra weight to my backpack? I’ve got enough problems already!”

Others view their lives and ministries from an eternal, heavenly perspective and say this about their situation.

I am...

1. Not crushed!
2. Not despairing!
3. Not forsaken!
4. Not destroyed!
5. Life is manifested in my body!
6. Life is coming to others!
7. My inner man is being renewed day by day!

But, if this is the only testimony you give, some may think you are in denial about life’s realities or that you have never encountered the difficulties they are facing.

 

Striking the Balance

 

The best possible way to view life as a child of God is to join the two, just as Paul did. This admits the reality of my current condition, but confesses the equal reality of God’s abundant grace to overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I am...

1. Afflicted, but not crushed!
2. Perplexed, but not despairing!
3. Persecuted, but not forsaken!
4. Struck down, but not destroyed!
5. Always carrying in my body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in my body!
6. So death works in us, but life in you!
7. Though my outer man is decaying, my inner man is being renewed day by day!

 

LOOK UP!

 

So how do you get there? How do you maintain a witness of great victory in the midst of the pain of this world and the press of ministry? The key, as always, is to LOOK UP!

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB).

If your vision is not aerated by heaven’s reality, you will be overwhelmed and discouraged. The authentic man of faith is a realist in both directions. He recognizes life’s problems, but also the solutions ... the pain, but also the power ... the overwhelming odds, but also the overarching grace.

The world needs to see a robust faith, a faith that is overcoming in the midst of difficulty. This gives authenticity and hope to everyone who observes us, no matter their current situation, and points them to our sufficient God.


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