…contend earnestly for the faith… Jude 3
…building yourself up on the most holy faith… Jude 20
Jude was observing here the infiltration of people who were twisting and perverting the gospel of grace. Whilst we may not be facing this specific challenge we all face the challenge of our faith leaking away. The call to build ourselves up in faith, and to contend for our faith is essential.
To illustrate this there is no more intriguing story than that of the 12 baskets left over after the feeding of the 5000. Was this a bad miscalculation by Jesus, or part of His strategic plan?
Later He does it again. This time He feeds 4000 people with 7 large baskets of food left over.
In between these 2 miracles, Jesus and the disciples are in a storm, which He has to sort out because they didn’t. Yet they had only just been involved in feeding a huge crowd miraculously! What were the 12 baskets for? They were a reminder that there is faith enough for every situation. Only they seem to have left their baskets on the mountain, or at least, their faith.
If we are honest we all face the challenge of our faith leaking.
We forget who we are, or what Christ has done for us, we forget our achievements, we leave our faith in the last place it was used – we move on instead of letting our faith live on.
If its not our forgetting thats a problem maybe its the fact we have a hole in our basket. We develop holes when we get a bad or negative attitude, we give into temptation, or when we simply get tired out or effected by the world around us, faith begins to drain out of us. The other day I was doing DIY in the house, I felt life draining out of me! What is it about certain tasks? There are certain activities or people we spend time with that drain us.
Another reason we may find we don’t have the faith we need for a situation we face, or for the wisdom we need to draw on, or the inspiration we need for life generally is because we ate the food in the basket and forgot to go shopping. Or maybe the birds ate it – the devil comes to steal and destroy, and loves to see us walk powerless.
Today I want to ask a simple question? Where is your faith today? Where is your dare to do something new, your courage to take another shot, give or risk a little more, love a little more… You were born fearless, born to kick goals, defeat the devil and reign. Nothing is a match to matchless power & capability of God. 12 baskets, 7 large baskets. There is faith enough for every situation you face.
1. Go back and get your basket
Recall your fruitful moments. Recall a moment where you last saw faith in action, remind yourself what God has done. He’s forgiven you, healed your heart, accepted you, provided for you, income streams, maybe a marriage partner, a home, friends.
Recall your achievements. Allow your confidence to rebuild.
Remember who you are – in Christ, unique, a winner through & through – “I don’t feel like it” – that’s just an accumulation of things you were told and conditioned to think is real, but its not – what’s real is you are absolutely complete in every way in Christ.
In remembrance your faith comes alive again. Your empty tank gets filled.
2. Plug the hole in your basket
Fix up those attitudes, deal with the laziness, get some rest, spend time with faith-filled people.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
Get plugged into that which protects us. 2 hours in Church every week will go a long way to doing this for you, if you want it to. No alternative or obligation compares to the importance and power of being in Church amongst faith-filled people.
3. Replenish the stock
We are meant to eat the food in the basket. Live on the food of faith, activate His Word as you read it. However, if we don’t keep replenishing what has been eaten we will get empty. If we don’t fend off the devourer when he comes what we have can quickly be substituted – fear for faith, condemnation for confidence… Faith regenerates as you fuel it or add to it:
– Getting regularly in The Word
– Keeping check on our thoughts – a thought change leads to a countenance change
– A connection upgrade – regular contact with the right people
When we get lukewarm about prayer, the Word, and about Church we find we have no faith.
There is always faith enough available for us. Remember the 12 baskets were followed by the 7 large baskets. There is always more available. It is always possible to go to a fresh place of faith.
These 7 large baskets were big enough to carry a person (as it carried Paul when he was lowered down the walls at Damascus to escape) – the greatest need for us to stay on our game is because our basket of faith can make the difference between us seizing an opportunity to bring someone to Jesus, the rescuer, or not.
So today instead of just listening to each other’s challenges we need to stir one another to believe, to remember who we are in Christ and what He has done for us already.
Believing for you. See you in Church.
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