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Secret to Steadfast Faith: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Struggle & The Promise



The Bible promises an incredible quality of life to the person who believes. Nowhere in scripture does it say that God wants His children to struggle until death. Jesus did not tell the steward in Luke 16 to get by until He comes, or to just hang in there until he went to heaven. Jesus told the man to do business. A faithful and wise steward is one who is involved, engaged, and prospering in life.


This may be difficult to accept for those who have grown up in the belief, or have been taught to believe, that suffering equals godliness, or that poverty equates to piety. These medieval doctrines have caused much of the world to be turned off towards the true Gospel. The theology of divine chastisement has been used to control multitudes of sincere believers and keep them in bondage to a fear of God, a fear of success, and a fear of doing anything truly great. For many, self-abasement is falsely called humility. Pride however, is when we ignorantly refuse to call ourselves what God calls us and to be who God has made us to be in Christ.


The truths that you are going to discover in this book have the potential to become seeds of progress and change. They can propel you from frustration and failure into the incredible quality of life that God created you for and purposely redeemed you to experience.

ABUNDANT LIVING


In John 10:10, Jesus makes a statement that still confuses the religious mind. He says,

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”


The word abundant means to surpass or exceed until overflowing. Abundant is the opposite of stingy and just getting by. Jesus came to give you an over the top, abounding, and excessively good life. The word ‘life’ is the Greek word Zoe, which speaks of the quality of life experienced by the one giving it. Therefore, one of the purposes for which Jesus came was to include us in His abounding quality of life.


Here is the verse, as quoted in some other translations:


But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect — life in its fullness until you overflow!


I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

 

With that said, let’s read the whole verse:


The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


If you are like me, you have always interpreted the thief as the Devil- Satan. However, the context has nothing to do with Satan. Now don’t get me wrong, the Devil is the author of death and destruction, not God! Not ever! God is a good God; He wills only good and He gives out only life. Sickness, death, poverty, and anything else that steals life, kills dreams, or destroys people’s health and hopes has its roots in the Accuser, NOT in our Father God.

However, when you read John 10:10 in context, Jesus is addressing the religious leaders. They were misrepresenting God and building walls to keep people out of the Kingdom, instead of building bridges so people could come to God and experience an amazing and fulfilling life. This is made clear in the following scriptures:


Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore, your sin remains.


“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber….


Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


Religion today, just as in Jesus’ day, steals, kills, and destroys the abundant life that Jesus came to give you. Jesus, in rebuking the religious leaders, called them thieves and robbers. They were attempting to access the Kingdom illegally through their own efforts, instead of entering through Jesus, the Door. These religious leaders misrepresented God and used God’s good law as a system to keep people in bondage, instead of bringing them into freedom.


Problem with the Promise?


The Bible is full of incredible promises: promises of health and healing, promises of success and prosperity, promises of peace and security. As a believer, we read these promises and attempt to attain their fulfillment in our lives. But like the religious Jews of Jesus’ day, we attach our religious ideas onto the promises. We pursue their fulfillment as a wage to be earned, instead of a promise to be received. Preachers tell us that faith is the key and that we must try harder to believe God. We examine our faith (or lack thereof) and retreat back into the shadows of mediocrity and defeat. Friends, I have good news for you! The abundant life you have desired is not only God’s will for you, but it is already within your grasp. In this short book, you will begin to discover real Biblical faith. You will begin to tap into the life of Christ and a quality of living that Jesus called “easy and light.”


In Romans 10:17 the apostle Paul makes a startling declaration, giving us insight into why not all believe the Message.


But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So, then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


Many translations express this as “The Word of God” and declare that faith comes by hearing the word. But if this was true, most Americans would be faith-filled, born again Christians. The original language uses the word “Cristos” which is the word which we translate as Christ. Clearly, he is saying faith comes by hearing the “message of Christ.” A few verses earlier, Paul gives us some insight into what the “message of Christ” looks like.

As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”


So, faith comes when the Good News of peace is proclaimed. Good News, and not bad news, is the breeding ground for faith. Faith is the avenue that leads to the abundant life that Christ provided through His death, burial, and resurrection. As your heart begins to establish itself in the truth of Christ’s finished work, faith will become the natural outcome, and abundance will flow freely. Good News will al byways produce faith, and faith is our link with God’s supply.


Questions for Your Heart

  1. How have religious traditions robbed you of abundant living?

  2. Can you label a few of the false beliefs that you have held onto and replace them with the truth?

  3. Can you write a few of the promises from the Bible that you desire to see fulfilled in your life?

  4. What does the Gospel of Peace and Christ’s finished work mean to you?


-Chapter Taken from the Book, Secret to Steadfast Faith by Nate Tanner.




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