How Big A Part Is Your Faith In Your Life

Which of these describes your life? Is your faith just a part of your life? Or is your life part of your faith?

Breaking it down further, how many hours in the 168 hours of the week do you devote to God? Two hours on Sunday? The rest of the week is all yours?

Welcome to the left circle.

You know you don’t have to be a monk or nun to make that right circle work. There isn’t a sacred/secular divide for the Christian. It’s all sacred.

Living A 24/7 Faith

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Matthew 22:37-40

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…
Colossians 3:23

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…
Ephesians 6:7

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
1 Peter 3:15

As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:2

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
Philippians 3:8

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:16-26

What Can We Learn From This?

Look at the overarching principles in those verses. We are to look different from the world. We’re not of this world but chosen out of it (John 15:19). We’re to look different, to be as obvious as a light on a hill with our love and Christ-likeness and a preserver of all things good wherever we are. People should see us and want to know more about this Jesus we follow.

Is that what’s happening in your life?

 

Experiencing Scripture In Your Daily Life

I’ve been reading a book. Shocker, right? It’s titled A Spirit-Empowered Church, and it’s packed with great information. I’ve read it twice in a month. One of the things that stuck out to me was the concept of experiencing Scripture rather than just learning it.

Experiencing Scripture?

It’s in the discipleship chapter, where the author Alton Garrison talks about spiritual growth. First, the

seeker is saved. Then they learn the truths of the faith.

That’s generally where it stops.

Like trees on a rocky hillside, the new disciples are stunted and unable to grow due to lack of nutrients. The third step isn’t there. Experiencing the faith, the Scriptures.

The key is to go beyond knowing, but experiencing it in your daily life. It’s asking these questions:

  • What Bible verses have I experienced today?
  • What have I lived that lines up with Scripture?

The fourth part is to express the truths of the faith by listening to and hearing God. Experiencing Scripture daily, loving everyone, and walking with, and yielding, to the Spirit.

Putting It To Practice

After reading that I had one question. What Scripture had I experienced that day? Quite a few.

I had a rough week, with a couple of people very angry with me because I disciplined them. It was experiencing John 3:20, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

The 35th Psalm was a good descriptor of my week, however, I’ll save that for my next post. During a safety meeting, I was publically attacked. I stood still, forcing a calm expression on my face, all the while simmering inside, resisting the urge to retaliate.

I was experiencing Matthew 5:39, 44-45, 48. “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And much like Nehemiah and David, I prayed a “get them God” prayer. This is better than unloading on a person, instead, unload on Him, get it out of your system. He already knows how you feel anyway.

That’s experiencing Scripture. Try it and you’ll see how relevant the Bible still is.

My Greatest Struggle As A Leader

There’s an idea that you have it made when you’re placed into a leadership position. This idea isn’t shared by anyone in that position. This month marks two years since I was hired as a supervisor, and at times it’s a grievous burden to be a leader.

Why?

Because I care.

First some background. The position was created around four years earlier and I applied both times. I was unsaved the first time and was planning on using my knowledge of social dynamics to manipulate people to do what I wanted. Me against them, seeing them mostly as cogs in a machine. I didn’t care then.

I took my name out of the running before I was interviewed.

The second time the position opened up, I had been a Christ-follower for a year and prayed about it. Obviously I got it, and honestly, I regret it at times.

The Grievous Burden

What grieves me is those that were terminated or quit under my care. One young guy tried so hard, yet just couldn’t cut it in the position he was hired for. I worked with him, encouraged him, and got to know him. He was let go.

His last day I knew it was coming, and it broke my heart to see him trying so hard still. He had no clue that he’d wake up to a phone call the next morning informing him that he was fired.

Another guy, a good worker, hurt himself and was given every chance in the world. When he was skipped over during a hiring cycle, I was one of the ones to talk him, to talk him out of quitting. Encouraging him to excel in another position at the plant.

And he did. Then he lost his temper, quitting before they could fire him.

Another, recently, was fired. Had been employed at least two years, with problems a mile long, often disciplined, and missed work a lot. He lived nearby so I gave him rides when I could to keep him from getting fired for absenteeism. Ended up counseling him often when we weren’t geeking out over comics. He was a friend.

Time For Confrontation

The day he was fired, I learned of a bet on when it was going to happen. The attitude displayed in it angered and disappointed me. Especially since it was someone else who I’m mentoring now.

I confronted him, asking if it was true.

“Maybe…” he answered hesitatingly.
“He may have brought it on himself, but it is heartless to bet on another losing their job.”

The kicker is, he rigged the bet, having overheard about it. I mourned the loss of integrity. You know the saying ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’? That was what was happening then.

His justification was he wanted to get one over on the other guy. I quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:15 to him, “don’t repay evil for evil”.

Afterwards, I determined that the day I don’t grieve the loss of one of the crew is the day I step down as a supervisor. I will have lost my heart.

How Can I Reconcile All This?

You see, when you see those who work under your authority as people who have lives, hopes, dreams, and struggles instead as pieces on a chessboard, you will start to care about them. It’s not you versus them, it’s you and them together with the goal to do the job well. All balanced on the good of the customer, the company, and them as a person.

At least that’s how I see it.