BLOG: Joy Evolves from Faith



WRITTEN BY MELISSA H. STRAUTMAN, LMT

Joy Evolves from Faith
Companion blog to “Love That Resurrects

We as Christians know that the struggles of life and the struggles in the world will only get worse.  The agenda that the evil one is driving toward will escalate.  We also know the hatred and tribulation that will be poured out especially on us Christians.  In Love That Resurrects, Pastor Wilson shows us how Jesus offers comfort by overcoming all of this in the world.[1]  There is peace to be had in the struggle.

In Revelation chapters 2-3, Jesus appears to the apostle John and gives him a singular command over and over to the churches and its people: they must overcome and be completely victorious in their efforts to live the effectual Christian life.  Defeat is not an option for them or us because He has already defeated the world and its evil.  We are to live that out in truth and confidence.

“What if I can’t confidently overcome sin/evil in this life?”

The word of God definitively answers this question in 1 John 5:4
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

It is the belief in Christ and His work that makes it already an absolute certainty that we will overcome.  So relax, while it requires your effort, it’s not up to your efforts.  As Paul says: “Work out your own salvation – for it is God who works in you.” (Philippians 2:12-13) He’s got this.  All you have to do is stay in the flow of grace, be fully convinced in your faith and then your joy will be like that of our perfect Lord and Savior Jesus who has overcome sin/evil.

“I believe this but I don’t know if I have faith in this.”

“Faith, in Biblical terms, isnt believing something that you cant know, believing something that you cant understand…Thats a tragic way to live and I can assure you that you will not overcome.  You will not be among the victorious if thats how you try to live out your days as a Christian.  We dont as Christians just accept things that we dont understand and believe things that we cant know and by that we become overcomers.  Thats not the heart of Christianity.  The heart of Christianity is the certainty of the things that we do know!  Now there are many things that we do not understand and there are some things that we will never know [in this life] but those are not the things that define and shape what it means to be a Christian [or to have real “faith”].  Those things that define and shape what it means to be a Christian can be known and understood without question.”   Pastor Steve Wilson

Yes, it is true that the confidence of understanding and knowing comes from the Holy Spirit but there’s more.  The Bible’s undeniably accurate historical record of people, their eye-witness accounts, places, and events is yet another layer of convincing data.  There is just no intellectually sane denial of these facts in the religious or non-religious world given the plethora of unchanged manuscripts in a wide and unbroken chain.  Jesus validates everything[2] in the Torah and everything in the Torah validates Jesus[3].

“Only God could write one story through dozens of authors over thousands of years about one man without a single contradiction.” Todd Friel, author of Jesus Unmasked. Read a sample of this book here.

Jesus is talked about all throughout the Old Testament.

In John 16:17, the apostles are wrestling with Jesus’ talk of His upcoming death.  They are lacking the clear historical data of His resurrection and ascension that we can read and know about in our complete Bibles today.  Their faith is certainly genuine but it is weak due to the their lack of knowledge about this situation.

Likewise, our faith is weak when we do not know what God has said or done in His scriptures.  Faith comes through the hearing[4] of the true word of God – read, preached, or seen firsthand.  Faith is a knowing for certain; not a certainty that you will know some time in the future.  That’s called “blind trust.”  Jesus proved what He said to the apostles.  His words became fact and they were fully convinced of His authority and purpose.

He told them that their pain and sorrow of losing[5] Him would instantly be transformed into joy at His resurrection.  They will rejoice and bask in that revelation, walking with Him for 40 days.  Now their faith was solidly strong because they had evidence.

Do you need more evidence to turn your apostle-like belief into a faith that is strong, actionable, and joyful – having no doubts?

God will give that to you if you ask Him because that is absolutely in His will as He promised.[6] It is also in His will and in His instructions that this should happen by the hearing of the word.  He is speaking.  Open the pages and receive the word that births an evolving strength in your faith.  Jews didn’t/don’t have this kind of intimate relationship with the Father.  They had to go through a priest and sacrificial laws.  How joyfully we are blessed because of Jesus’ coming and then even more so by His leaving us.

When you know the truth, you will feel the joy in the death of Jesus Christ.  You will celebrate the joy also in suffering as a Christian person moving through a sanctifying life.  Paul carries that theme throughout his sacrificial ministry.[7] He encourages all of us to not be glad after the suffering of life is over but to be joyful during the suffering in life.  In Hebrews we read of those faithful Christians who joyfully accepted the plundering of their property.[8]

1 Thessalonians 1:6
“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

“You want to know why we [Christians] dont have a greater impact on a dark, discouraged and dying world?  Because, when we face the dark days of our lives, they dont see that [joy]. When they dont see that, they have no reason to ask you, “Could you explain to me the hope[9] that you have in this desperate situation?” Whereby we might respond that its Jesus Christ the Risen One.”  Pastor Steve Wilson 

All we have to do when we are not feeling the joy amidst our trials is to ask God for the wisdom we need to be joyful.[10] It is a promise; not just to the disciples 2000 years ago at Jesus’ resurrection, it is yours just for the asking today.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:19-23 that we also will be resurrected and share in the joy.  The worst that can happen to us here on earth is death, and death to Christians, strong in their faith, is pure joy.


I hope you will subscribe to this blog and keep learning all God has to teach through these lessons taught by Pastor Steve Wilson of Grace Community Church.

   


[1] John 16:33

[2] ‘The Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35).  He referred to Scripture as ‘the commandment of God’ (Matthew 15:3) and as the ‘Word of God’ (Mark 7:13).  He also said: ‘Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished’ (Matthew 5:18).

[3] Jesus Unmasked, by Todd Friel, 2014, New Leaf Press

[4] Romans 10:17

[5] John 16:20

[6] John 16:23

[7] Philippians 2:17-18

[8] Hebrews 10:32-36

[9] 1 Peter 3:15

[10] James 1:2-5