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Functional Faith

Is faith just a vague concept to you? Do you see other people who seem to have such great faith that impacts their life and think, "I want that but I don’t know how?" Faith is so much more than a vague concept or an idea. Faith is something real and tangible, and it is something that is supposed to be functional in our lives. Faith becomes functional when it intersects with our daily life. When it intersects with our marriage, family, work, relationships, emotions, thoughts, fears and insecurities. But how? How do we forge this meeting between our faith and its functionality in our lives? It all begins with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our faith becomes functional when we apply the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to our lives. What does the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ mean for ____________________ (you fill in the blank). Your marriage? Your family? Your work? A relationship? Your emotions? Your thoughts? Your fears? Your insecurities? Your words? Money? Power? Control?...and the list can go on and on!

I used to be a PGA Golf Professional and during my time in the golf business I would fit people for the correct golf clubs. "Static fittings" are where you measure generally unchanging charateristics like hand/finger size, height, and distance from fingertips to the ground. "Dynamic fittings" are where you measure changing characteristics of the swing like swing plane, lie, loft, bounce, and others. Static fittings aren't bad, but they don't tell the whole story. Dynamic fittings are the best fittings. Remember, "static" means lacking in movement, action or change. "Dynamic" means constant change, activity, movement, action, or progress (or lack of). Our daily lives are far from static, rather our daily lives are dynamic. And yet if we’re honest, we have a static faith (if we have faith at all). We don’t have a faith that moves with us as we live our daily life. Faith is not meant to be static, but dynamic. As you change and move, and confront all of the things in your life, for better or worse, is your faith functioning and dynamically moving with you? The gospel isn’t something that we receive then put on a shelf. The gospel is a lens that we view everything in our lives through, and we carry it with us as we move and change. When it does, your faith becomes functional.

Look at what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:10-11 - “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

Do you see the gospel in those verses? Jesus’ death? His resurrection? Paul is essentially saying here, “I want to apply the gospel to my life!” On the cross, Jesus became sin and took upon himself the penalty we deserve for our sin, and he was resurrected into new life. When we put our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, our sin is nailed to the cross, we die to our sin, and we are resurrected into new life. We are released from sins hold on us, and the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead, is the same power working in and through us, resurrecting every hurt, every pain in our life, our tired marriages, our frustrated families, our emotions, our wayward words, our thoughts, our fears, or our insecurities. This was one of Paul’s driving forces in his life - to know Jesus in intimate relationship, to allow the power of Jesus’ resurrection to work itself out in his daily life, and to participate in Jesus’ sufferings, so he can become like Jesus in his own death, and in his own resurrection. Paul is pursuing a faith that moves with his life! And it begins with the gospel!

Look at what Paul says next in verses 12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is essentially saying, “I’m not there yet! I haven’t arrived!” It’s a lifetime pursuit in which we press on, day-by-day, to make our own. At Streamsong Church, we are a group of normal people with ups, downs, jobs, marriages, families, kids, and we believe that Jesus is who he says he is. By applying the scriptures and the gospel to our lives in community with others, we are pressing on to know Christ and we are learning to make our faith functional by experiencing the power of his resurrection and participating in his sufferings. This intersection is where a world of grace and truth opens up that challenges us, pushes us and propels us forward into who God wants us to be. The gospel isn’t great advice or fortune cookie wisdom, it’s life-changing and heart-altering good news. But first you have to have faith in it, believe it, then you have to enlist it and put it to work in your life. At Streamsong Church, this is what we’re all about, join us!

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Pastor Brian