Rise Up & Take A Stand For Your Faith
“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
I. Where Do You Stand in Your Faith
II. Why is Your Faith Weak
III. Overcoming & Becoming Strong in Faith
We live in a fallen world and the Lord said that we will have trouble.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
This is in part due to the free will given to mankind. Some people use their free will to the disadvantage of others and people get hurt. We have to stand in faith trusting God to get us through the trials we face.
I. Where Do You Stand in Your Faith
We have to take a stand: if we don’t then we will never walk in peace because Satan will continue to throw his fiery darts at us with trials to steal our joy. This keeps you from standing in faith: doubt, despair and worry.
True victory is trusting God in the middle of the storm when the enemy wants you upset and you still have your joy and peace. Jesus was asleep in the boat in the middle of a storm and we can have that same peace and rest when we surrender all and trust Him completely and STAND.
So, where do you stand? Do you cave under every trial and everything that pressures you? Do you stand sometimes and at other times your faith falters? Or maybe your faith is rock solid?
In any case, the Lord wants us to trust Him completely. Look at what He went through for us. Look back and read Isaiah 52:14-15 and Isaiah 53 and see the excruciating pain He went through for US. That alone is enough to trust Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Where do you stand?
II. Why Is Your Faith Weak
After you admit your faith is weak, you next must examine your faith and ask the Lord to show you areas in your life where your faith is weak and what caused it. Maybe it is due to events that left you hopeless. When you discover where your faith is weak, then you can take that to God to help you overcome and learn to take a stand, trusting Him to back you up.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
(II Corinthians 13:5)
People let us down by the free will they exert and hurt us, leave us, and fail us. Then there are events such as natural disasters. This earth will not last forever and neither will we. So, that is another thing we have to deal with: the loss of a loved one.
Since this is a flawed world and people are not immortal and have free will, you will experience loss, hurt, and hard times, but you can ALWAYS count on God. He will be there to help you, comfort you, heal you, provide for you, restore you, protect you, and transform you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
People can also get a religious and legalistic spirit and make their walk about having to do this or do that and then they try to impose their beliefs on others. This does just the opposite of their intended purpose; it causes others to back away instead of turning them to God. We are to witness, love, and forgive, not judge. That job belongs to God! Faith is about a relationship with God and not about a bunch of rules and regulations to follow. You will obey the Lord out of love, not have to.
“Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-4)
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
The Lord came to bring a relationship with Him and we know that by the verse that tells us by our faith, we become children of God. It is hard to follow a bunch of rules. God gave the Israelites The Ten Commandments and the Pharisees created 613! They couldn’t keep 10 much less 613!
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
We are saved by grace through faith, not by rules. When it becomes a relationship, you follow out of love not because you have to and it becomes part of who you are.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
God is the One who will draw you to Himself. Sometimes He uses people and other times it will be something that you read or see or hear and when it is through Him it will be out of love and peace not force. He will pick you back up when you are hurt, just like you do for your own children. They do not always listen to you; they disobey. Consequences happen due to their disobedience but you never stop loving them and helping them. It is not your fault when they do not listen, nor is it God’s.
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”
Now, how do you overcome and grow stronger in faith?
III. Overcoming & Becoming Strong in Faith
So how do you grow stronger in faith? One way is by something we will all encounter, trials! They will come and no one is exempt. Some by natural events, some by the adverse free will of others and some by our own bad choices, but regardless of how they come, if God allows them then they will be for a good reason. Some come to show us sin in our lives that God wants us to resolve so they do not hinder us in any way. Other trials are so open our eyes to something we are doing that will not be beneficial to us or maybe to a loved one. Other times it is to lead us or to show us something we should be doing and still others are to draw a passion out of us that would not have come otherwise and also to grow our faith. All these things keep you from standing in faith and taking a stand.
I am an example of this! Listen to mine and Donnie’s story. Podcast links below:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6-7)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:2-8)
The key to overcoming trials and growing stronger in faith is:
1. Trust God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We are not always called to understand all of God’s ways, but we are called to trust Him.
2. Pray when we are struggling and ask for His help to strengthen us.
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (I Corinthians 12:9)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
3. Stay in the Word! It is your spiritual bread! We learn and grow, we find hope and encouragement and verses to pray over us and our loved ones.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God……..And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2 and 14)
“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
“I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
If you keep trusting God, going to Him in prayer, and relying on the Holy Spirit within you to help you, comfort you, guide you and give you strength, you WILL come through in victory.
Again, remind yourself of the excruciating death He went through for us; that alone should prove His love and faithfulness. It should help you to hold on and trust Him to get you through your trials victoriously and increase your faith in the process.
Then the next time a trial hits, you will know that God WILL get you through and then you will be able to confidently stand for your faith as Esther did.
“With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.”