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November 8, 2013

Faith(ful)

Christianity

When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered. Half the tribe of Manasseh and the tribes of Reuben and Gad had already received their grants of land on the east side of the Jordan, for Moses, the servant of the Lord , had previously assigned this land to them. 
Joshua 13:1, 8 NLT

I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites. So be sure to give this land to Israel as a special possession, just as I have commanded you.
Joshua 13:6 NLT

Having faith and being faithful are not the same, though they are linked. Having faith means that you believe that something will happen. Being faithful implies that you are dependable – people can rely on you and trust what you say.

God listed the land which had still not been captured and cleared for the Israelites, but he told Joshua to include it in the land that would be shared out to the tribes as if it had already been overcome. He said that he would clear the people out of these lands. It took faith on Joshua’s part to include these lands in the share-out.

But it took more than faith to see it actually happen. God said he would clear out the land ahead of the Israelites – they had to do their bit: to follow God. They had to be faithful and serve him. In the end, they weren’t and it took 400 years of struggles to get the land.

I can have all the faith in the world but unless I follow God when he goes ahead, I’m not going to see what I have faith for.

I need to have faith and be faithful at the same time. 

Re Action

Christianity

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

One of the things I love about God’s forgiveness is that it is not just a matter of,  “OK, I’ll let you off this time.” It’s much more than that. He forgives me, and that’s the whole matter closed, gone forever. He doesn’t keep a spreadsheet with all the dates, times and sins. He doesn’t keep any record of it at all.

God is love, and the passage above is a description is what he is like. I am made in his image and the passage should therefore be a description of what I am like.

To my shame it’s not.

Just as I was thinking about this, the phone rang. Someone wanting to make me aware of a new government scheme which would help me to buy something that they just happen to be selling. Did I show love by not being irritable, not being rude? Nope. It’s things like this that make me give up being nice.

Ooops, love doesn’t give up either.

I really have to get a grip. I really need to overcome and destroy the bad guy inside me and let love be my automatic reaction, not anger.