SIMPLE TRUTH: The decision of a faith ventureBy Staff Reports Published 10:07am Thursday, August 8, 2013
By Charles Christmas
In my previous column I emphasized the necessity of a faith venture being initiated by the Lord and suggested some means by which he may do this for us. Having done or experienced foundational work and now believing that God is initiating the venture, we are faced with the launching decision of the faith venture.
I suggest two steps at the point of this decision. First, either privately or publicly, there needs to be a confession of faith concerning what you believe God is going to do: with you, through you, for you and maybe without you. Consider Scripture here. It is written: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” (2 Corinthians 4:13) Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:20-21) Our God whom we serve is able to save us from the flames—and he will—but even if he does not, we will serve him only. (Daniel 3:17-18)
God responded to that confession. The confession of the leper bowing before Jesus was, “You can make me clean.” (Matthew 8:2) And he did. The woman with the twelve-year blood disease confessed, “When I touch his garment, I shall be made whole.” Then she added action to her confession. Joshua confessed, “God will bring us into this land.”(Numbers 14:8) When others were willing to join him, it happened.
Second is the action of stepping out on faith: making a start, moving forward, putting feet under our vision and working at it. The whole eleventh chapter of Hebrews is an extended listing of persons in whom faith produced action and actions produced results and results produced glory and praise to God. The Bible often highlights “works produced by faith.” The entire last half of the second chapter of the Epistle of James explains that faith which does not produce works is no faith at all.
I knew James Long as an Auburn graduate with an excellent position with Avondale Mills. He was a faithful young Christian deacon with a lovely wife and family. But one day I received a letter from New Orleans which updated my information. He informed me that one Sunday night he and his wife heard a pastor preach about faith ventures and trusting God’s ability. They went home that night and made the decision that they would sell their new home and he would resign his job and that they would move to the New Orleans Seminary to purse God’s faith venture for them. He became one among the most fruitful ministers of education in the larger churches of Alabama. It began with a husband and wife confessing what God could and would do, and launching out in action.
I would like, someday, to write several brief chapters on personal faith journeys which the Lord has given to me; but as yet he has never given me liberty to do this. He seems to always be saying to me, “Do not remember the former things. Behold, I will do a new thing: like a new river into a desert or a new road into the wilderness.” And he reminds me, “Forgetting those things which are behind; and reaching forth to those things which are before: I press toward the onward and upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And, really, that’s what I want to do. So maybe someday, when I become a senior citizen, I will relive some of those past ventures with my computer.
—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.