There is tremendous benefit in knowing creeds and catechisms and in reading the classics of the Christian faith. These are disciplines every Christian should practice with diligence. Yet these practices are meant to serve a greater purpose—the purpose of godly living. These practices are meant to equip us to master every circumstance, to meet each one with a stout heart and a deep submission, with the joy of salvation and the character of Christ.
It is good to be a man or woman of faith. It is good to be a man or woman who regularly attends church, who faithfully studies the Scriptures, who diligently puts sin to death and who joyfully comes alive to righteousness. This is all good and very good.
But every now and again it is important to ask something like this: What does your faith do for you? In those times when life is difficult, in those times when sorrows are many and answers are few, in those times when life is not going the way you had hoped, the way you had planned, the way you had dreamed, what does your faith do for you?
What does your faith do for your when wealth gives way to poverty and abundance gives way to lack? Do you forget all of the blessings you have enjoyed and neglect to give thanks for them? Do you grow disillusioned with God as if he is no longer worthy of your trust, your worship, and your adoration? Or do you profess, with confident humility “I can be content … for I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
What does your faith do for you when you face the fires of persecution, when colleagues or family members or government officials harass you, disparage you, mistreat you, because of your love for the Lord? Do you respond to anger with anger and to insults with insults? Or do you respond peaceably, praying for that person and entrusting yourself to the God who judges fairly and faithfully?
What does your faith do for you when you are called to pass through trials? Does your heart rise up in rebellion against God that he has taken what you loved or failed to give what you longed for?