WRITING YOUR FAITH STORY by Pastor Nickolas Cummings
The word of God is full of so many incredible and adventurous faith stories that God miraculously wrote through the lives of the characters we read about in the Bible. These stories are not made-up fairytales, but they are all 100% true testimonies of how God used these incredible men and women of faith to further His purpose in the course of Christian history. And the amazing thing is these real people were just ordinary, everyday humans just like you and me; which means they were not perfect. However, God had a plan for their lives, and they said yes to that call. So, when we take in these remarkable stories of the Bible, we get to see from a bird’s-eye view so many examples of the stories of faith that their lives became through honoring God with their lives.
A few weeks ago, I had the awesome pleasure to bring a word to our Torch Youth students for their Wednesday night service. I’ve always had such a passion and heart for pouring into the lives of teenagers and one big reason is because I see that they are in such a pivotal place in their faith journey. The steps that they take now will determine so much of their future and it’s so important that they hear that God loves them and has BIG plans for their lives now. So, I wanted them to know that just how God wrote an amazing Faith Story in the lives of those biblical characters we read about, God wants to do the same in our lives. And I come to you in the form of a blog to tell you the same.
One perfect example of someone with an incredible faith story in God’s Word is a man named Abraham. In Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to go up onto a mountain and sacrifice his only son just like he would a sheep, ram, cattle, or bird for the atonement of sins that they practiced in Jewish Culture in those days. And without question, Abraham trusted in the Lord so much that he was actually about to go through with it. But the story tells us that at that moment, an angel appeared and stopped him saying, “God has seen that you have great faith.” God then provided a ram for their sacrifice and because of Abraham’s faithfulness and willingness to do anything for the Lord, He blessed Abraham. Later on, we know that Abraham became the beginning of an incredible nation, Israel, and his lineage would eventually lead to the birth of Christ! Abraham was just a regular, ordinary man but God saw something in him and chose to use him to further his plans.
This is an incredible story of great faith! I know that if the Lord asked me to do something like that, I would be full of questions and arguments like “God, are you serious!?” But its so interesting when you read the full chapter, you see that the next verse after God speaks to Abraham that it doesn’t mention Abraham questioning or arguing, but it just says “and so the next day, Abraham went.” I’m sure, being the human that Abraham was, part of him was probably anxious and had some thoughts running through his mind, but Abraham knew the Lord had a reason for calling him to do this. And because of his faithfulness, God used Abraham in a mighty way and his life became a faith story.
These these figures in the Bible like Abraham, Moses, Esther, Daniel, David, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, and so many more are not just these holy, historical figures that are nothing like us. We often think the things that happened to them can’t happen to use because they’re in the Bible and we are just living our very imperfect lives thousands of years later. We almost dehumanize them, see them as just characters and then put them in a category that is completely untouchable from us. But I’m here to tell you that the same God that did a great work in the lives of these biblical figures is the same God who is alive and working today. He desires to write a faith story with your life.
So, how do we allow God to do that?
- It starts between you and God
Every story has a beginning, middle and end and so is the same with our faith stories. But it doesn’t just start the day we were born. God prepared the way for Jesus to come through Jesus’ earthly ancestors and setting up the world for the prophecies that Jesus would fulfill. Likewise, God has been setting up the world to get ready for the mighty things He’s going to use YOU to do. So we have to get alone with God, receive His love, and accept the fact that He desires this for our lives. Every day, Jesus would spend time alone with God the Father seeking His voice. And in order for us to be in line with how God is writing our stories, we must spend time seeking to hear His voice.
2. Know who you are in Him and be unashamed
When we give our lives to Christ, we then begin to learn what our true identity in who He says He has created us to be. So we have to accept that and stand firm on who He is, who we are in Him and what he’s called us to do with our lives. Because when you begin to do things for God, people are going to have something to say and you’ll begin to see trials coming your way.
When Moses was leading the Israelites out of slavery, they constantly questioned and complained to him. When Noah was building the arc, people would mock him all day and call him crazy because they didn’t understand what God was doing. When Saul became Paul (that new identity we were talking about), nobody believed he was serious and they were afraid of him because prior to his encounter with God, he was killing Christians. But these people still went on to have great impacts on the Kingdom of God because even when things got tough, they remained unashamed of who they were in God. That’s what a faith story is all about!
In John 6, when many of Jesus’ followers began to doubt who He was and turned away, Jesus asked his 12 disciples that He had chosen, “will you leave me too?” and even still the disciples stayed. It would have been so easy for them to be like “yeah, you know what I’m out” but they knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was who He said he was. And the disciples turned the world upside down as they spread the gospel into the world and formed the Christian church as we know it today.
When God does an incredible work in your life, how could you be ashamed of that?! When the Lord does the impossible, when you’ve seen Him move mountains and do miracles, why would you want to hide that good news of what He’s done for you from the world? Be unashamed in who you are in Him, friends.
3. Steps of Faith
I call this the climax of our faith story- the most exciting part. Where we come to a major, pivotal point where God is asking us to do something that we may think is a little crazy at first, kind of like Abraham. But if we believe like Peter when he walked on the water with Jesus, we can step out knowing that when God calls us to it, He’ll see us through it. And at times, our humanness shows and we lose sight of the Lord. But Jesus, just like He did for Peter when he was afraid, He reaches out and we’re back to walking on the water with Him again.
4. Living Like Jesus
Our main goal as Christians should be to live the way Jesus lived. Loving like Him, serving like Him, praying like Him, fellowshipping like Him. For some historical context, back when Jesus walked the Earth (and for generations prior), it was custom that every Jewish boy went to school to learn and memorize the Word of God. If at the end of that schooling they were seen as worthy, they would move on to the next level of schooling and would eventually choose a rabbi to ask if they can follow them. If they made it to this stage, which was very difficult to do, their main goal was to become like rabbi they shadowed, if, and only if, that rabbi agreed to it and saw them fit. But for the disciples of Jesus, they were told they weren’t good enough, so they went into the profession of their father’s. Some were fisherman, others were tax collectors. But Jesus flipped things around and chose THEM to follow Him and said watch what I’m going to do through you. That moment that Jesus called them was SO impactful for them. It was such a relentless act of love on Jesus’ part. And so, they dedicated their lives to learning how to be more like Jesus.
We used to wear those little WWJD bracelets back in the late 90’s- early 2000’s. Yes, I’m not too young to remember those! But do we truly remember to ask ourselves everyday, “how can I live more like Jesus today?”
Today, Jesus is reaching out to you and is asking you to allow Him to write your faith story. You may have been told all your life that you weren’t good enough, pretty enough, talented enough, smart enough, personable enough. Whatever the narrative has been for you, I want to encourage you that through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are enough! You have an incredible calling upon your life and God wants to use you to do things you never dreamed you can do.
For me, God was calling me to lead a generation in worship with a pure heart and clean hands. But I felt like I wasn’t talented enough and I had made so many mistakes in my life and was told so many discouraging lies that I believed there was no way God could use someone as messed up as me. But, everything changed when I surrendered to His plan and said “here are my hands, Lord. Use them. Here’s my life, Lord. It’s yours.”
God has already been writing your faith story and when you allow line yourself up with that, you’re gonna be amazed at what the rest of the story looks like for you. It’s will blow you away.