North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

The Bible never offers faith on easy terms. In fact, God says it must be put to the test. “The genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and honor” (1 Peter 1:7). The apostle Peter compares faith and hope to the refining process of precious metals. It’s been reported that it takes nine tons of rock to get one ton of gold ore. That ton of gold ore will produce only one-third of an ounce of gold. But the world values gold so much that mining companies will invest workers and equipment to dig up earth and rock, haul it, grind it into sand, dissolve it, filter it, and melt it, and melt it again until the end result is pure solid gold.
Is faith in God worth that much trouble? There are plenty of people who say “No”. But the Christian says, “Yes”, because they have been brought in touch with the living God through His Son. The issue to be determined by every human being is what each person feels is most important in life. While more people rank gold ahead of faith, one day gold will perish. Faith will survive the test of time and will usher the believer into Heaven. Jesus Christ becomes our hope!
There was only a small crowd that saw Jesus ascend back into Heaven. It’s the hope found in Jesus’ divine message that we can trust: “I will return.” God’s angels (two men dressed in white garments) told the group, as recorded in Acts 1:10-11, “The same Jesus will come back in the same way. We know with full assurance Jesus will return with great majesty in the clouds. While only a few saw him go up in the clouds, his second coming will be witnessed by the whole world. This announcement should stir a living hope inside each person who longs for a relief from this present world.
Christians are born into a living hope through Christ. This isn’t wishful thinking or a fantasy. Because this hope is alive, it transforms a Christian’s outlook on life. The non-Christian can’t understand what happens on the inside of a person when Christ becomes their Savior. This explains the ignorance of why some see life as a waste or see life as one big party then you die. A Christian’s hope is anchored in Christ’s defeat of sin and death. This living hope becomes a motivating force that enable a person to face and rise above their present hardships. The physical body may waste away, but the Spirit of God can remain strong in the life of a Christian.
The purpose of a genuine faith is to bring glory to Christ at his second coming. Faith is more precious than gold; faith is imperishable, gold is perishable. And if gold, being perishable must be refined (tested by fire), so must our faith: The testing of faith by “various trials” proves whether or not your faith is real or genuine. Continued faith and praise to God on your part, despite your hardships and misunderstandings, will bring immeasurable blessings upon you. A faith that passes the test is really done for Jesus’ glory and not ourselves. We can’t stand firm in the face of trouble and sin, but Christ inside of us can! You must let Christ have his way in you. When you’ve stood the test, endured the trial, and hope for Christ’s return; you’ve purified yourself.
One day an American tourist stopped at a famous garden in Italy. He was delighted to see the gardener and asked him how long he had been there. “Twenty-five years” he replied.
“How often does the owner of the estate come to inspect his gardens” the tourist asked.
“Oh he’s only been here four times in twelve years” the gardener explained.
“He writes to you then I suppose?”
“Never,” said the gardener.
“Who comes to look after things?”
“I’m left pretty much alone.”
“Well,” said the tourist, “His garden looks so neat and well-cared for that I thought you were expecting the owner tomorrow!”
“Today sir”, “I am expecting him today” the gardener replied.
The thought of Jesus’ coming today is reason enough to clean up our lives. But do we think very much about his coming, or are we preoccupied with our own interests and feelings? Perhaps one reason Christians are having less influence on the world is that their lives are rooted and grounded in the same interests as those of non-Christians. Faith crosses over the separation of time. Believe in Christ and rejoice in him even though you haven’t seen him. Because of the reality of his power you can see the evidence for Jesus. Stand up, stand up for Jesus Christ!
• This weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the author of the following books: “Soldiers of God: A Bible Study guide for Spiritual Warfare” and “The Authentic Teenager: A Bible Study Guide to Truth and Positive Living” and “Spiritual Fitness For Runners” and “Understanding the Higher Power”. Matthew can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living.

Posted by on Aug 2 2015. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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