A FAITH THAT'S R.E.A.L.
I hate things that are not real. I’d rather not have a chair than have a leather-look one. It must be sad to wear fake gold. Those who know me would find it hard to picture me in a heavy gold chain.
I just don’t have the chest for it.
The word REAL has become very important in our age with mass production, copyright infringement and unoriginality. A group of young Britons from the Vineyard sang "many are asking who will show us something real, longing for hope beyond the pain of what they feel" ... People know their need for a genuine faith but they see too little of it around and so are fearful and distrusting of institutions of faith.
Reading John C. Maxwell’s four principles for "REAL Success" I knew that these applied just as well to faith. I want to examine a Faith That’s R.E.A.L. and establish four cornerstones to build a faith that's accurate and true. The four letters of R.E.A.L. stand for:
We cannot overstate that the Christian faith is a relationship. Because the Spirit of God lives in us our faith moved from an outward set of laws and practices to listening to a small, and sometimes loud, voice of God speaking from within.
No one ever spoke about God in the personal and loving way that Jesus did. God was his very own Father whom he listened to constantly and did His will. Jesus said, ... "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (John 20:17)
To have a real faith, we have no option but to secure our RELATIONSHIP with GOD by talking to Him and doing what He tells us.
Our Relationship is also with others. In fact our relationship with God is proved by how we deal with the very visible and often difficult people around us.
"If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." (1 John 4:20)
Jesus’ last words on earth to his followers were to go out and equip. He told them to make disciples or learners. The life of faith is a life of learning. Let no Christian ever think that he knows enough. The wonders and words of God are beyond any person's grasp in this one lifetime. Many have become lazy or have never been well taught. In this case it is no one else's responsibility but your own to get up and find some material that will feed your mind and spirit.
Jesus’ method of equipping was however not book based - even though we can learn a great deal in this way. Jesus used the "look and learn" and "do what I do" method. There is no better way of equipping than being at the spot where something is happening and then doing it yourself.
One's first thoughts when hearing this word are mostly negative. We say "he has an attitude", which has negative connotations. For us it is however a process of exorcising the negative BY working on a positive attitude. The New Testament is the most positive manuscript. Just the phrase "God is light and in Him is no darkness" should inspire us.
Attitude is a mind thing.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
It helps little to determine not to have a bad attitude. It is more helpful to develop a positive one. Paul calls us to think on the positive things. When we fill our minds with the nature of God we will start to act in a positive way. Positive actions will produce good fruit and our character and nature will be conformed to His nature.
Many Christians do not regard themselves as leaders because the concept we have of leadership has been shaped by the world. We see leaders as rich, powerful and having people serve them. Jesus was none of these thing but He is the greatest leader the world has known. "Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant ...'" (Matthew 20:25).
Jesus established servant leadership as the only true form. Jesus lead through service and influence. It is our calling as followers of Jesus to serve people and influence them for the Kingdom. Paul even tells his readers to copy what he does. All of us will influence people but our Relationship with God, our level of Equipping in the things of God and our Attitude will determine where it will be for the good or bad.
REAL faith is a gift but it is also a seed that has to be sown and tended. Do your part!
Relationships - Equip - Attitude - Leadership