This Sunday, November 30, I will talk about ways to make God’s vision for our life happen. I don’t have time to address all the ways on Sunday so here is a preview.
The Bible says, “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith.” Notice the first two words in that verse – “build” and “yourselves.” Build means it takes work. Fortifying your faith is not going to come easily. You have to work at it. Then “yourselves” means nobody else is going to do it for you. If you’re going to fortify your faith it’s up to you. You have to be the one to decide to do it and commit to do it.
1 Peter 4:2 “Strengthen yourselves so that you will live here on earth doing what God wants not evil things people want.” It is easy to get caught up in doing what everybody else wants you to do in life and in the process you miss out on what God wants you to do. I’ll make this guarantee – God’s plan for your life is the best plan you’ll ever find. In fact, what God wants for your life is better than what you even want for your life. It’s clearly better than what anybody else could want for you. So if you want to live on earth doing what God wants, you need to fortify your faith.
For God to use you, for you to get in on His plan, you’ve got to grow up. You’ve got to get stronger.
1 Timothy 4 “Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit.” There is a word in that verse that if I’m completely honest, I hate. It’s the word “exercise.”
How many of you wake up in the morning thinking, “I get to exercise today!” You are sick people! Actually exercise is great and we need both physical exercise and spiritual exercise. And I do know this about exercise. I want the most benefit I can get out of every minute I exercise whether it’s physical or spiritual. Here are four habits that will fortify your faith.
The first one is study the Bible. There’s another word that most of us love. You come to church and you’ve been told to exercise and study. It’s like being back in school and you get liver and broccoli on the same plate. Study and exercise. But we really do need to study. And we need to study personally because we can’t depend on somebody else’s study to fortify our faith. We have to do it on our own.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” God’s word is the Get Ready manual for life. If you want to get ready you’ve got to study God’s word.
The second suggestion is read Christian books. If you don’t know where to start get in touch with me and I will give you a few suggestions. And there are lots of great Christian books. Proverbs 19:8 “Do yourself a favor and learn all you can.” You learn a lot more when you read.
Number three suggestion, write out your story. 1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope that you have.” If you’re going to give them an answer you need to be able to give them your story. Just like nobody else can study for you, nobody else can tell your story. Only you can. That’s because you’re the expert at it.
There are four parts to any story. Four simple parts. You talk about what my life was like before I came to Christ, here’s how I realized I needed Christ in my life, here’s how I committed my life to Christ, then the last and the most important part, is what’s my life like now. What my life like after making a commitment to Christ?
One more suggestion. Be faithful. Get in a small group and support it. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Encourage one another and build each other up.” I don’t know of much that will fortify your faith like regular contact with your small group. My wife and I cherish our small group. Every week we look forward to our small group getting together. If you’re not in a group you are going to get left behind.
God uses ordinary people, normal people, in spite of our faults, our habits, our hurts, our hang-ups. If God only used perfect people nothing would get done, because there are no perfect people.
You may feel, “God could never use me!” You’re dead wrong. You are dead wrong. God wants to use you. But you have to get usable.
Come Sunday for the rest of the story.