Real and Honest Faith
By Benjamin H. Liles
Tonight, I was trying to sleep and the same thing happens tonight as it has in recent nights: for some reason I just can't sleep. Maybe tonight's reason is different from the past few nights, I don't know for sure. Then I consider the fact I actually want to write about God's Holy Spirit. I'm starting to think maybe this life I've lived for so long before Jesus Christ is kind of like yesterday's news: old, hashed and re-hashed.
I don't know if others will think this, but it is going through my head, "He's going to talk more about how misunderstood God's Spirit is." As I said a second ago: old, hashed, and re-hashed. But then, tonight, as I was reading a Francis Chan book, Forgotten God, this came before my attention, "A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial...But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills" (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Holman Christian Standard).
Yes, Chan uses those verses on page 101 in the large print book I'm reading, but he says the "reflections of the Spirit's presence and activity in us have nothing to do with our natural abilities, and we have not received them because we have earned or somehow deserved them." What I sense Chan is saying is that we ought to use the abilities we have, natural or even given by the Spirit, should be done to benefit others and not simply ourselves, for he quotes Paul, saying, "Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel" (1 Corinthians 14:12, New King James).
When Jesus tells us, in the gospel record, "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you" (John 15:4, 7, Berean Study), we're being told we can't do much on our own steam. We will be cast off and wither away if we don't remain in the Messiah Jesus!
To me it comes across that when i hear certain leaders within the Church say, "Miracles won't and can't happen since all the apostles have since passed on to glory," miss the point of what Jesus meant when Jesus said He would send us a Comforter: "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you" (John 16:7, 14-15, New American Standard).
So, I turned to Psalms as I want God's Spirit on me to benefit the Church: to encourage her, to build her up, and to keep doing what I feel He desires of me. It's not so that my name is known, but that the name of Jesus Christ is known. I do it not because I desire more in this life. No, I want my relationship to Him be made known! "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16, King James 2000).
As I close this I want to share with you all what this all means to me after I read Psalm 1: I much rather delight myself in the things of God, not to take advice from the wicked, or take the sinners path or even to join those who mock. No, my delight is in the Lord who gives instruction to life--meditating on those words day in and night out. I want to be so delighted in God that I'm planted within Him, at the river's edge, bearing fruit in every season of life. I want to prosper as God sees fit. In this way I will not be like the wicked blown like chaff in the wind. After all the wicked won't survive God's justice and judgment, nor sinners in righteous community. I desire to be righteous as God calls me to be, never being lead to ruin.
Truly we will all stand before God, both sinner and the righteous. God's love is still toward us whether we choose to see it or not. For me, I want to live my life in a real and honest faith: one that says, "Benjamin lived his life as God called him to; be a light in the community he lives in, sharing the love of God for others, and encouraging and building others up." In that way I stand for the God of my forefathers--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For He is the same God who had Jesus of Nazareth die on the cross to take my punishment so I would never taste death, but life everlasting! These words I send to you in the name of Jesus! Amen!