August 29, 2011
The Influence of Faith
In contemporary Christian culture, faith is often considered a possession that affects just its "owner." Because of our love for independence and self-sufficiency, we have, in many ways, lost the sense of community and outreach that the church is meant to embody. We live like little islands in our own "personal relationship with Christ." But in reality, God wants our faith to influence others, both within and outside the church.
Elijah's faith influenced the entire nation of Israel. By believing and delivering God's message, he was an example to them in word and deed. When he asked the Lord to reveal Himself as almighty God, fire fell from heaven, and the people believed.
His motive in the showdown at Mount Carmel was to draw the people back to the Lord. We usually think of "sharing our faith" with those who don't know Christ, but our confidence in God can also encourage weak or wayward believers. Likewise, those strong in faith can strengthen us when we are struggling with doubt.
The church is described as a body whose parts are all interconnected (1 Cor. 12:12). God never intended that we be autonomous, living in our own personal faith. We are not like a bag of marbles; rather, we're to be like a bunch of grapes whose juices blend in times of pressure.
Guard against living an isolated Christian life. Share your confidence in God's faithfulness. Your testimony could help others' faith to grow. If you're troubled by doubt or fear, let go of any pride or shame, and seek help from a strong believer. Mutual blessing awaits when we reach out to one another.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.