“For by grace are ye saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8a)
“But without faith it is impossible to please him…” (Hebrews 11:6a)
The very foundation of our life with Christ is faith. We must have faith. We are saved through faith. We must continue to walk in faith. We should pray, as the disciples did, that the Lord would increase our faith.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 17 that with faith as a grain of mustard seed a mountain could be removed, and again in Luke 17 that with that same faith a sycamine tree would be plucked up by the root and planted in the sea.
Yet I Corinthians 13:2 gets to the heart of the issue. You see, though we need faith to live the Christian life, faith is not enough. Faith without works is dead. I Corinthians 13:2 says that “though I have ALL FAITH, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
It is easy to get so caught up in our Christian living that we begin to overlook others. We may be keeping our Bible reading schedule on track and showing up for every church ministry- yet not noticing the souls that God has placed along our way. If so, our lives have become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) Also, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39)
Galatians 6 is so full of advice on how we should treat each other. Paul encourages and admonishes us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Ephesians 6:9,10)
Charity is having a genuine and sincere concern for others. Genuine. From the heart. Sincere. Without hypocrisy.
And not just concern for “certain” others. God is no respecter of persons.
“Charity suffereth long (longsuffering), and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
That’s a lot to live up to. In fact, I’ll be working on that until Jesus comes! (And I hope you are too.) Because faith without works is dead. You’ve heard the old saying, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care!” It’s true.
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Cor. 13:13)
We all know by now that we need to “set a watch” over our mouth and be careful what we say. We ought not to be gossiping, backbiting, and slandering. It doesn’t take long to figure out a person by just listening to what (or who) they talk about. Here is a quick example of a few of the many many verses that warn us against using our words to sow discord:
James 1:26 - If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
Proverbs 16:28 - A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
Psalms 101:5 - Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
But what if we aren’t the one spreading the gossip? Do we get a free pass to listen to everything going on around us? I mean… the Bible does say we shouldn’t answer a matter before we hear it. So, does that make it right to go around making sure we get the whole story from everyone on every bit of gossip that comes our way? Actually, that just might be wrestling the Scriptures to our own destruction. The Bible contains a severe warning for those listening ears as well.
Yesterday I was made aware of some personal matters that were being discussed about my family. The content really didn’t bother me because I’m not afraid to give the truth and state the facts on what actually happened. It was just a mistake. But what did cause concern was how so many people had no problem discussing our personal matters.
When one dear brother in Christ asked me in sincerity, “Aren’t you concerned about the things being said about you?” I must say I answered quite quickly- and quite frankly. No.
Why not? Because the Bible tells us clearly in Proverbs 17:4 “A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.” You see, it takes two to gossip. It takes a talker, and it takes a listener. Be careful if you pride yourself in your ability to hold your tongue and speak few words- people know who the gossipers are… and they know who’s listening!
I am not concerned about my testimony being marred by someone with such a low moral character that they would go about seeking gossip and slander, and you shouldn’t either. You see, following God gives a life of peace. Even when we make mistakes. It’s okay with me to admit that and move on.
If you (like me) often find yourself “out of the loop” as to what the latest gossip is going around, count yourself blessed that the gossipers know that you are not a good listener!!
We live in a time when a day hardly passes without hearing, “There’s just not enough time!”
That may seem like a harmless exasperation from one who just has “so much to do.” But will you take a moment with me to stop and think about Who made this time to begin with? Who put seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, and sixty minutes in an hour. God knew every hair we would have on our head. He knew every detail that would encompass our daily life. Yet He still put seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, and just sixty minutes in an hour.
Is that enough? It was for Him.
I think it is time we say it is enough for us. If God made my body to need 7-9 hours of sleep. I need to get 7-9 hours of sleep. If God gave me a husband and children, I need to spend the time necessary to care for my husband and children. If God desires a personal relationship with me daily in His Word and in prayer, then I do have the time to read and pray. If God has chosen a ministry for me to be a part of, I must also have time for serving.
It comes down to two very simple truths. Math… and choices. Math tells us that there are 1,440 minutes in a day. If we take away 480 (that’s 8 hours) for sleep that leaves a whopping 960 minutes left for us stay at home mom’s. If you spend another 480 at work each day you still have 480 left. So, either way, there’s the math. Math doesn’t lie.
Math doesn’t lie, but humans do. Many claim they don’t get near 8 hours of sleep… but that just makes our case worse. That means we have MORE time to get done those things we say there isn’t enough time for. Many studies have been done to prove that most of the time we overestimate the time we spend working and underestimate the time we admit to sleeping and relaxing. There are many great time management websites and books dedicated to that topic and I’ll let the professionals deal with the rest of that!
And maybe your situation is different. After all, each of us is unique! You may have health issues that cause you to spend more of your time in bed, or maybe the opposite goes for you and you can buzz around on just 5-6 hours. Or maybe due to a new baby or child’s illness you just can’t get the rest your body needs, but you have to just pull through any ways! (I’m sure we’ve all been there!)
Let’s get to that second truth. Choices.
It is very easy to confuse time and choices. I can illustrate this very quickly. Ask someone to time you. Walk into your bathroom and clean your toilet. Inside and out. Get the whole thing looking like new. If that is something you do regularly it probably took about 5 minutes. How about the sink? Spray it down and give it a good shine. How many minutes did that take? The truth is, most things don’t take very long.
So how is it that we keep “running out of time?”
Choices. You see, time doesn’t wait for us. It keeps moving, whether we do or not.
It probably takes about the same amount of time to read a story to your child as is would to check your messages. Yet the smile on his face is worth more than a thousand emojis- I promise!
If there is time for an hour long television program, there is time to take the prayer list to the prayer closet. We could all use a sweet hour of prayer to escape from the cares of this world and see God’s hand move in our life.
And how many minutes does it take to show kindness? We think we don’t have time- yet all we need to do is give someone a smile and hug, stop and write a thinking of you card, or maybe just sit down for a few minutes with someone you love.
But how do we deal with the rushing about here and there feeling like we can never get everything done? Baby steps. If you have a household chore or errand looming over your head, ruining your day because you just keep thinking of it… thinking that you’ll never get it done... stop a moment and think about how many minutes it would actually take. You might be surprised that you can actually get it done. Or at least get a plan and get started. You will feel much better.
Take care of those minutes. Make them count. Do the important things. If you really DON’T have enough time, analyze your life and think about what God wants you to do. He is the One who gave you seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, and sixty minutes in every hour! Your life is made of those minutes!!