Learn To Discern

Is it faith or is it fantasy? Is it fact or is it fiction?

Faith is the vehicle that God chose to maintain connectivity to humanity.
It is the arena within which we can engage and interact with Him.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

(Hebrew 11:6)

This post wrestles with a very thorny subject. Namely, do I have faith, or am I living in a world of fantasy?

How do I tell that what I have is the real thing, that I am truly connected to heaven, and that God has my back, is watching over me, and will answer my prayers?

When the Apostles preached Jesus, God affirmed their words with ‘signs and wonders’. They healed people, cast demons out of people, even raised the dead back to life.
These miracles, signs and wonders, gave validation and authentication to their faith.

Sadly, because of the work done by charlatans imposters and false prophets,  there is currently a prevailing sense of scepticism regarding seeing signs and wonders as validation of real faith in God.

So the question remains, is my faith a fact, or have I locked myself into fiction.

In Chapter 7 of his book, Apostle Matthew talked about a scenario that Jesus shared that had me puzzled for a long time. Jesus was helping us to discern, ie, tell the difference between real and false prophets.. I would refer to this as the difference between faith and fantasy.

Jesus said that … 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do what my Father in heaven wants will enter. 

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord! Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we drive out demons in your name? Didn’t we do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will tell them clearly, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who do evil!’

(Matthew 7:21-23 NIRV)

The setting is ‘judgement day’, and people who had done religion, done church, performed signs and wonders in the name of Jesus, were rejected from the kingdom.
Hmmmmm .. scary stuff.

Makes me think of what Apostle Paul said. Paul said that…

Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings or of angels. If I don’t have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal. Suppose I have the gift of prophecy. Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don’t have love, I am nothing at all. 

Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give myself over to a difficult life so I can brag. If I don’t have love, I get nothing at all.

(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIRV)

So, what exactly is Apostle Paul saying, what is he getting at? 
Paul is saying that Love is God’s bottom line. Do it with love, or don’t bother doing it at all.
With God, ‘the ends does not justify the means’.

Love is the element that validates my faith.
Love is what proves that my faith is authentic. Not signs and wonders. 

What does that mean?  Even though I think I have faith, if my actions are without love, my faith is fiction. It is not connected to heaven.

Apostle John advises and encourages Christians to have discernment. He said we should not believe every spirit. That we should test the spirits to see if they belong to God. 

In other words, there is real faith, and there is fantasy.

John provided two ways for us to validate out faith… prove that it is authentic… the real deal… connected to heaven.

  1. John says .. Many false prophets have gone out into the world. Here is how you can recognize the Spirit of God. Every spirit agreeing that Jesus Christ came in a human body belongs to God. 
    Based on this I can conclude and be sure that, If my faith in God is through Jesus, His birth death and resurrection, I am connected to heaven.
  2. John also said.. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God lives in us. His love is made complete in us. 

Suppose someone claims to love God but hates a brother or sister. Then they are a liar. They don’t love their brother or sister, whom they have seen. So they can’t love God, whom they haven’t seen.

(1 John 4:1-2,7-8,12-13,20 NIRV)

These are very strong words. They leave no room for misinterpretation. Love for others is the element that validates my faith in God. 

Thing is, what if I really don’t like that person? What if we just don’t get along?

God said that humans have been made right with Him because of their faith. That we have peace with him because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. 

And that’s not all. …

We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never bring us shame. That’s because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. 

(Romans 5:1-5 – NIRV)

When someone chooses to believe in God, accept His offer of salvation and forgiveness through Jesus, decides in their mind and heart to trust Him, rely on Him, depend on Him, accept the commitments and promises that He has made, live in anticipation of His blessings, and resolves to honour Him in their lives, He puts His divine love into their hearts.

When we love others we are In reality allowing God to love them through us.
Loving other validates our faith and keeps us connected to heaven.

But… but but but … just hold on a minute… I can’t simply love everybody can I? What if I simply do not have that kind of capacity to love people.

Love them with my heart? Yes, some of them.
Love them with my soul? A token few.
Love them with my strength? Well, I can try to be more generous to some.
Love them with my mind? Everyone, even my enemy. God demands it.

The folk that Jesus rejected had performed signs and wonders in His name, but failed to love.

Their faith was fantasy, and their works were fiction as far as heaven was concerned.

When I love you with my mind, I am in effect allowing God to love you through me.
When I love you with my mind I am proving that my faith in God is real.
When I love you with my mind I am showing my connection to heaven.

When I love with my mind I show that I am trusting God and allowing Him to direct my life. Not my intellect or intelligence, not my professionalism or expertise, not even my spiritual gifting given me by God Himself.

When I love you with my mind I validate my faith and prove it to be authentic.
When I love you with my mind I am doing what God wants and giving Him honour and glory.

Bless Me Please God.

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