What do you want on your tombstone?
Hello All, the Lord Bless you!
I just finished a book someone gave me to read that challenged me to live louder for Jesus, be bolder, take more risk, and be remembered for “turning the world upside down” with Jesus, by going against the giants of our day. Using Deitrich Bonhoeffer as a model, the book was a call for the North American church to wake up and live the gospel of Jesus Christ by confronting the “woke” agenda of our day that wants to do away with biblical morality, and redefine pretty much anything we believe as truth, from gender to history. In a nutshell, it was admonishing the church to live by a faith that acts to bring about righteousness in our land, not just call people to accept Jesus as savior. It is worth the read!
Reading the book was a series of events in my life that have been challenging me to really “live by faith”. I mean real, life-transforming, giant-killing, “my God can do anything” kind of faith. I praise God for the men and women of faith God has surrounded me with who continually live the Word of God, declare it and believe it to receive! I praise God for the older steadfast partners in ministry, especially healing ministry, that continue to challenge, exhort, admonish and even correct me, when I start making excuses for not believing to receive. There are a couple of brothers in the Lord who are very direct with me, who don’t say what I want to hear, but rather what I need to hear. Recently that word was, in a nutshell – “live by faith”. In other words, and in context, the paraphrase would be: “don’t stop believing God is who He is and will do what He says He will do, just because you don’t see it yet, or are tired of waiting, or God forbid, because you have changed your theology and explained why God doesn’t always do what He says He can and wants to do.” Let me explain.
I have been battling some kind of physical affliction now for over 5 weeks. As many know, when a prolonged health issue is getting the best of us, or that “messenger of satan” has worn us down enough to the point where we start justifying why we deserve to suffer, or we are pressing in to discover what God wants to teach us through this affliction, it is now time for that blunt brother or sister to give us that “holy smack down” with God’s word, and call us out of our complacency. I’ve been recently smacked by great, honest brothers and sisters in the faith who will not let me live in unbelief! Praise God! What is even better is when God Himself gives me the correction needed to catapult me out of my fortress of errant belief. This is where I am at today – influenced by honest friends in the Lord, motivated by a book that exhorted me to live my faith, and reminded by God Himself, that we are to live by faith in the word of God and the God of the word. I believe God put into my spirit a couple days ago, a verse in Luke 18: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (vs. 8). When Jesus returns, will He find faith in me? Will I be remembered for my unwavering, steadfast trust in the God of the impossible, through whom all things are possible? Will those who erect my tombstone be accurate in writing on it, “he lived by faith”? Will I hear my Master say, “well done good and ‘faith-filled servant’”.
In this parable (Luke 18:1-8) is a picture of a woman who is seeking for the judge to answer her request – give her what she is demanding. She continues to “bother” this judge until she “wears him out” to the point where he finally gives her what she wants. Jesus says that in the same way God will answer His own chosen who petition Him day and night. The woman had faith to persevere in asking, not taking “no” for an answer. She was at the feet of the only one who had the power and ability to change her circumstances. She persisted in believing to receive. This is the faith that Jesus questions seeing at His return – a persevering, relentless pursuit of what God is able to do and supply to those who trust Him to supply the answer, solution, healing, etc. My God is able and willing, so I will pursue Him till He answers me according to His mercy, grace and power. There is a similar story in Luke 11:1-13, which is a clear teaching on how we are to pray to a loving Father, who gives good gifts to His children. The message is “persistence” – ask…seek…knock – in increasing intensity. It is amazing how many times in the gospels Jesus rebukes people for their lack of faith, or praises someone for having faith. God rewards faith! Here is a short list just in the gospel of Luke: 5:20; 7:9; 7:50; 8:25; 8:48; 12:28; 17:5-6.
Friends, I want to be known and remembered as one who lives by faith! Not just a belief in a Savior who died to get me into heaven, but a savior who lives and makes intercession for me; who petitions the Father on my behalf, in communion with Holy Spirit – whose prayers are added to mine to bring about miraculous results in my life that tell the whole world there is a real God in heaven who cares for His elect. Do we still believe in the God of the Bible who wins battles, defeats giants, raises the dead, and cures diseases using real men and women like us? Or have we believed a lie that God did it for them, but won’t for me? Or even worse, that was for then but not for now? “I the Lord do not change”, says the Lord (Malachi 3:6; Heb. 13:8). Let me ask you who are reading this: is your faith muscle weak? Have you settled into a complacency of accepting all that the enemy throws at you because you have asked once or twice and God has not answered yet. Friends don’t give up! Read the stories in the Bible of a God who can make the sun stand still, and who shows up to declare victory to His chosen before they even go into battle. Or of a God who comes down to destroy hundreds who are harassing His prophet; or of a God who walked the earth, even on the waves, healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, and multiplying food for the masses. My God is able! I have learned that perseverance means keep believing until you receive. Faith is expecting God to answer as our two illustrations in Luke depict. Faith is being certain that what we don’t see now, will manifest (Heb. 11:1). Real faith has real fruit of obedience attached to it (Please, please, please read James 2:14-26; 5:13-20). Real faith confesses God’s word with our mouth and believes in our heart that what God says, that He will also do (Romans 10:9). Salvation according to the Greek word ‘sozo’ is so much more than just salvation unto righteousness through the blood of Jesus. The word is used to mean: save, rescue, deliver; keep safe, preserve; cure, make well. Are we confessing the word of God or are we confessing our sickness, lack, disappointments, diagnosis, problems, etc. Are you reading the word? Are you believing the word? Are you confessing the word? Are you receiving the word? Are we praying in faith, believing?
I am trying to stir the body out of its complacency into the church it is supposed to be – fully alive in Christ, full of faith, moving forward in battle, changing the world! Many seem to have raised the white flag and surrendered to the enemy! May it never be! We serve a victorious Savior who has already won the victory, looking for men and women like of old, who are ready to advance the kingdom of God with violence if necessary (Matthew 11:12). Saints…wake up with the word of God in our mouth, and faith in our hearts, believing for our mountain moving God to move! And may the only word on our tombstone be: “lived by faith”.
Press on victorious in Christ!
 Metaxas, Eric. Letter to the American Church. Salem Books, Sept. 2022.
"Advancing the Kingdom of God by releasing Spirit-filled followers to serve Jesus in freedom and joy."