FACING YOUR FUTURE BY FAITH

thumb.phpPlease see my teaching notes below to Pt. 1 of Revolutionary Faith.

“Revolutionary” means causing or relating to a great or complete change.

A “Revolutionary Person” according to Webster’s Dictionary, fearlessly advocates radical change.  Revolutionary people and ideas challenge the status quo and might be willing to upset the natural order to achieve their goals.  Like the word revolve, it’s all about turning things around. Revolutionary leaders want to change the world by any means necessary.

So, what is REVOLUTIONARY FAITH?  “Fearlessly living out your faith- what you believe, in a way that may seem risky or even radical, to affect positive and influential change!”  Your faith in action can change the world!  It may be something as seemingly insignificant and small like handing out flowers to strangers on the street…

You see revolutionary faith in Hebrews 11.  Each of these people changed their world by boldly living out what they believed; they took risks, they’re actions were radical…

The question is, HOW REVOLUTIONARY IS MY FAITH?  Is it life-changing?  Maybe even world-changing?

For our faith to be revolutionary, James challenges us (again) to consider how we face the future.  This is appropriate as we are just two months for another new year.

James 4:13-17 13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year.  We will do business there and make a profit.”  14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.  17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

What’s wrong with this strategy?  Don’t we all do this?  Try to be strategic?  Try to prosper?  Make plans?  Businesses do it, churches, me, you…  What we DON’T see here is FAITH for the FUTURE!!  If we want our lives, our businesses, our church to have a positive, even revolutionary influence, then…

WE CAN NEVER PLAN WITHOUT GOD!  James 4:15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

In James’ example, no where is God mentioned in the plan!  The guy knew what he wanted to do and how to get there, but he forgot to check it out with God first!  Don’t misunderstand- the Bible encourages planning.  Proverbs teaches it’s foolish not to plan.  Yes, we need to dream and set goals- as long as God is in it!!

How many people, businesses, churches, have gone down the road without God?  We’re not talking about the “world” here- remember, James is addressing Christ-followers!!

Do we “seek God first” (Mt. 6) in our planning?  Think about it!  How revolutionary would our faith be?  How much greater influence would we have?  How much better could the world be IF WE’RE CAREFUL TO INCLUDE GOD IN OUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?  An Atheist denies God and lives as if God does not exist.  BUT, too many Christians live like God doesn’t exist either!!

Revolutionary Faith seeks God first in the planning process!  This is to be our basic attitude toward life and facing the future!  As we all know, life is filled with “IFS!”  That’s why the staring point to facing your future- whether it’s tomorrow, next week, or next year is: “IF THE LORD WANTS ME TO…”

Because, Planning without prayer is presumption!  Prov. 16:1 “We may make our plans, but God has the last word.”  So, why not seek him first then??  Prov. 16:9 (LB) “We should make plans, counting on God to direct us!”  

The Practical Step: PRAY AND ASK GOD TO HELP YOU DO WHAT HE HAS ALREADY BLESSED!  Rather than, “Here are my plans God, bless them!”

WE CAN NEVER PRESUME ABOUT TOMORROW!  James 4:15, 16 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone… Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.  

FIRST- Life is unpredictable!  James asks, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?”  None of us can predict what will happen next week, next month, net year!  We have no real assurances outside of TRUSTING GOD TO TAKE CARE OF US!

SECOND- Life is brief!  James says, “Life is like the morning fog, here a little while then gone!”  Is it any wonder as people get older (me 52) we ask, “Where did my life go?”  It’s briefer than we realize sometimes and THERE’S NO GUARANTEES ABOUT TOMORROW!

We’ve all been to too many funerals or knew of too many instances where we said, “Their life was too short.  They had their whole life ahead of them!”  Every one of us are only one heartbeat away from eternity!  And that’s why we cannot take tomorrow for granted!  Prov. 27:1 “Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.”

Fact is, announcing our plans can either be a statement of faith or one of arrogance!  The difference is MOTIVE!

The Practical Step: LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME!  Mt. 6:34 (LB) ““So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.”

Fact is, we can plan for the future but we can only live one day at a time!  Someone said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans!”  The fact that life is unpredictable and brief is not a cause for worry and fear!  We simply let it motivate us to trust God more!

Ps. 31:14-15 “But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!”  My future is in your hands.

WE CAN NEVER PUT OFF DOING GOOD!  James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Here’s the real issue!  PROCRASTINATION– putting off, postponing, what we already know we should be doing and how we should be living- PUTTING OFF PUTTING OUR FAITH INTO PRACTICE!

Many times, for proclaimed followers of Christ, it’s praying for, if we do, or planning for the next BIG THING, while not doing the things we already know to do- prayer, reading God’s word, giving, serving, inviting others to church or Life Group…

What is it you’ve been putting off doing that you know you should be doing now?  James says it’s a SIN to not do those things!  WHY?  Because we have no guarantee of tomorrow!

The Practical Step: DO IT NOW WHILE YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY!  Prov. 3:27-28 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.  If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

What James is saying in v.17 and what this verse is saying is the KEY to REVOLUTIONARY FAITH!  It’s SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY!!  And that can CHANGE THE WORLD!

 

 

 

 

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