How to Deal with Difficult People in a Biblical Way

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How Did Jesus Deal with Difficult People?

“How should we deal with difficult people as Christians?”
 
Some people in our lives may be difficult simply because they challenge us. Or they may be difficult because they are different. Or they may be difficult because we live with them (and close proximity amplifies foibles). Or they may be difficult because we are difficult and something about us just rubs them the wrong way.
 
Or they may just be difficult.
 
Regardless, by growing in holiness we can learn to accept the inconvenient, the in-congruent and the bothersome (people and events) in our life not just as necessary nuisances but as gifts.
 
Heather King writes:
 
[W]hen we are open and receptive to all the world has to offer, and all the world has to teach us, then everything becomes illuminated from within.
 
Then we see that everything is, or can be, connected to our quest for beauty and order. Everything “belongs”: old dolls, decrepit diaries, discarded buttons. Difficult people.
 
Seeing difficult people in such a positive light seems like a tall order. But we can start by learning to deal with other people in a Christ-like way.
 
Scripture teaches us some ways that Jesus dealt with difficult people:
 
Jesus Asks Questions:
 
In Chapter 12 of Luke, Jesus is asked to settle a family dispute and basically responds, “Who do you think I am, Judge Judy?” (a loose translation). It is interesting to note that Jesus asks a lot of questions in Scripture. Jesus’ questions were sometimes rhetorical, or challenging, and at other times he was also seeking feedback. By using questions, Jesus emphasizes his openness to the other person.
 
It is funny, but we humans tend not to ask a lot of questions. We assume, we pontificate, we lecture, we observe, we interrupt and we judge. But we rarely make it a point to ask other people questions. In using questions frequently, I think Jesus is modeling the behavior of a good communicator, one who cares about the other person enough to engage with them and challenge them. Even, and perhaps especially, when they are being difficult.
 
♦ Jesus Is Never Cornered:
 
In Chapter 6 of Luke, Jesus is taking a Sabbath stroll with his disciples and the Pharisees pop up out of nowhere and accuse them of breaking the Sabbath by picking grain. Jesus is unflustered. He is never scared of the people who try to slip him up or think the worst of him, because what other people think is not his focus.
 
Sometimes people corner us with their assumptions and judgments and we can begin to wonder if the way they see us is more objective than how we see ourselves. It is hard when we feel like others misunderstand us or do not take the time to get to know us before judging. But, like Jesus, we do not have to feel defined by the projections of other people. Our identity resides and is found in God, not in what other people try to push on us.
 
♦ Jesus Knows When to Ignore:
 
Remember that time when Jesus ticks off all of his former neighbors and friends in his hometown of Nazareth? They are so worked up that they decide to throw him off a cliff. Jesus, seeing that there is no reasoning with these people, walks through the crowd, ignores their rage, and “went on his way” (Luke 4).
 
Sometimes difficult people throw tantrums, speak harshly or treat us in an abusive way (this happens online all the time). This is the cue to disengage and walk away. Jesus knew how to keep his blood pressure in check and his eyes on the prize. Of course, if we have to deal assertively with someone who does this in person, a face-to-face discussion might help. Later.
 
♦ Jesus Is Not Defensive:
 
In Chapter 10 of Mark, James and John say to Jesus: “We want you to do for us whatever we ask.” Wow. Talk about overstepping boundaries! But Jesus is not codependent, so neediness and boundary crossing is not threatening to him. He knows when to say no and when to say yes and does not beat himself up when he doesn’t make other people happy.
 
Sometimes people can demand more from us than what we can give them. They may try to sway us with guilt trips. Before we know it we find ourselves bending over backward trying to satisfy a needy or aggressive person (who is rarely satisfied!). But Jesus does not try to people please. Jesus does not need to protect himself from other people; God’s will is enough security. This is where his non-defensiveness comes from.
 
♦ Jesus Is Flexible:
 
In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman demands that Jesus heal his daughter and Jesus says no. But then he is moved by the woman’s response of faith and heals her daughter. Jesus approaches others with an open mind. Even when he had preconceived notions, he allowed the Spirit to move him and go against his instincts.
 
When a difficult person approaches us, we may think, Oh great, here we go again, or I know how this will go, but Jesus kept an open mind when he was approached by others. You never know. The Spirit may move you, or the person who is normally difficult, to act in a different, unexpected way. Being closed to others closes us to the Holy Spirit who is working in us and in the other person.
 
PRAYER:
“Lord Jesus, help me see You in everyone, even the people who challenge me. Light me up with Your radiant love so that I may see You even in the most difficult of people. Every human being is made in Your image. Help me to recognize You and love You in them.”

When God Offers His Hand

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How would you like some Good News today?

No, seriously, I’m talking really Good News so good that it’s the BEST news you’ve heard in a very long time!

If so, then take a listen to this; 
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you real rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Since the early dawn of mankind’s history, when our Eden of bliss became a desert of discord, we have been creatures of restlessness. When we are bereft of the peace that comes from God through the saving grace of Christ, we become fish out of water.

Divorce, alcoholism and immorality are direct results of the restlessness of sin. This diabolical unrest has permeated our nation like a contagious disease and has become the underlying cause of domestic, community and social problems. The basic cause of our national immorality is this spiritual unrest in people’s lives today.

Christ could solve the problems of the many celebrities who have made headlines because of their marital difficulties. If the principals in a domestic brawl were to accept Christ, not only would their sins be forgiven, but Christ would help them solve their problems. A love that has apparently gone dead between husband and wife could be rekindled.

Psychologists, schooled in the intricate workings of the mind, are confessing that psychology is helpless to solve all of the mental and nervous disturbances of people today. Sociologists, trained in the interactions of society, are admitting that sociology cannot cope with the tremendous problems in human relationships.

Political leaders point out the moral ills of America, but none of them seem to have an answer to the desperate need for a new moral integrity that would reverse the moral plunge that Americans are taking. Many political leaders privately admit that they are unable to cope with the seriousness of the moral dilemma.

In my travels about the country I have sensed unrest in almost every phase of our modern-day living. This changeable, unsettled, roving, transient, sleepless and fidgety spirit is due primarily to the restlessness of the human heart and its separation from the Christ of tranquility and peace. These insecure individuals could find spiritual peace and physical rest by surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). “In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’” (Deuteronomy 28:67)Every day I come in contact with mixed-up, paradoxical men and women: rich people who are held in the grip of insecurity; intellectual people who have lost their way; strong people who live in fear of weakness and defeat. I long to take every one of them by the hand and lead them into the presence of the Savior who said,“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Why die of thirst when you stand upon the brink of a lake? Why starve to death when you are within arm’s length of the Living Bread? Why live in a hovel of spiritual misery when Christ has provided a mansion of divine peace? Hear and accept the divine invitation today: “Come to Me, and rest!”

Make no mistake about it; the Lord Jesus Christ is reaching out to you in compassion, love and mercy right now. Why not take His hand and “put your hand in the hand of Man who stilled the waters,” as the song goes. He will still all the troubled waters of your soul and give you a new, profound sense supernatural peace you’ve always wanted, a new depth you’ve never known…all because you trusted Him and took His hand and let Him take yours to “lead you beside still waters” that will calm your soul (Psalm 23).

Oftentimes in our frenzied world of technology today, we get so caught up in our personal schedules that we drift away from the very things that mean the most. We get stuck into a kind of “funk,” when you’re physically, spiritually and emotionally wiped out. The absolute drain of struggling with doubt, questions of trusting and following Christ with all our heart, wrestling with fear of surrendering all to God’s will for our life. These are the modern ‘peace robbers’ we contend with. God has a better way for you.

Take the hand of Jesus by faith and open your heart in personal prayer to Him. There’s no need to fear anymore. God is your Shield to completely cover and protect you from all the enemies weapons, but you must take His hand and avoid fighting the enemy in your own limited, mortal strength, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me…”

I pray you will take His hand today and trust God to be your true Provider, Protector and your Peace. He is your great Reward. May you know and experience a greater fullness and new depth of God’s peace, love and joy through Jesus Christ the Lord, His Son our Savior. Amen. 

The Bear & the Agnostic

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One lovely morning, an agnostic was walking through the woods admiring nature’s beautiful surroundings and many creatures.

He said to himself, “What resplendent trees! What mighty rivers! What elegant animals and insects!” and he thought “Mother Nature sure made an awesome and wondrous world. I’m sure glad I don’t need to believe or trust in some ridiculous, mythical, invisible God for anything like this. Evolution made this, not some Creator God anyway!”

While he was walking along the river, he heard the rustling of leaves in the bushes behind him. He turned to look, and saw a 9-foot-tall-1200-pound-HUGE-man-eating-hungry-grizzly bear, growling, charging towards him full speed knocking down little bushes and kicking up the the turf as it bolted straight to him. 

Screaming in utter terror, he ran for his life, as fast he could, up the rugged, lengthy, earthy path. Looking over his shoulder, the hungry bear was closing in on him. Looking over his shoulder again, the bear was even closer! He suddenly tripped and fell on the ground.

And as he frantically rolled over to pick himself up, the angry bear’s gigantic, terrifying shadow fell upon his now pale with fear face. The growling bear stood up on its hind legs!

With a loud, menacing, ear-deafening roar, it pinned him down with its left paw and as it raised its terrifying, clawed right paw to strike, the agnostic screamed at the top of his voice: “Oh God please help me!!!”

Time Stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
Everything stood still.
The sky opened.

A bright white light shone upon the man, and a thundering voice came out of the sky. “You doubt Me Jesus Christ all these years, as a proud agnostic. You’ve refused to follow, love or serve Me, in spite of the fact you know better. Do you expect Me to help you out of this predicament now?”

The LORD continued, “Nevertheless, since I am the Merciful, even though you don’t believe or trust in Me, I am loving, kind and here for every being on this earth. I will give you ONE wish to help you and that is all.”

The agnostic looked directly into the light and felt relieved. “Well, Jesus, I still don’t really want to believe in You and it would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a believer now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a believer and believe in You?” (He was desperately hoping this would get him out of this precarious situation)

The LORD Jesus then said “Let be it done, according to your wish.”

The bright light vanished. The sounds of the forest resumed. The hungry bear dropped its right paw that was about to strike the agnostic, and oddly brought both its paws together, bowed its head & prayed:

(Thank You God for this meal I’m about to receive!)

[The Moral of the Story?]

As the old saying goes, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

Don’t wait for calamity to strike before you start living for the Lord. Do it now! (And also, if you are hiking in bear country, you might want to carry some bear spray too). 

Overcoming Loneliness When Single

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Loneliness. It’s an empty, isolated feeling familiar feeling to all of us. No one is exempt; rich or poor, young or old, it’s a global, phenomenal problem we are facing often provoking negative, if not destructive behavior in our society today.

Many single people today naturally wish they had a spouse or ‘significant other.’ “If only I was married, I wouldn’t feel so lonely anymore,” they reason. Yet, at the same time, many married people feel like their husband or wife doesn’t seem to care anymore about their feelings. They used to talk and communicate, but barely anymore, if any at all. Ironically, some married people no longer feel married and wish they were single, while many single people today wish they were married in order to escape loneliness.

Additionally, the crushing effects of divorce, the death of a family member or close friend, chronic health problems, disability, job loss, financial struggles, a sense of embarrassment, all can contribute to ‘feelings of isolation’ as if God has somehow ‘forgotten us,’ or worse yet, maybe ‘doesn’t care.’ As a result, there currently exists an ‘epidemic of loneliness’ pervading our culture and society today like never before in history.

Nearly half of all Americans today say they are lonely. Why is that so, and what are the consequences?

Here’s everything you need to know:

“How is Loneliness Defined?”

Loneliness isn’t determined by the actual number of friends or social contacts a person has. Social science researchers define loneliness as the emotional state created when people have fewer social contacts and meaningful relationships than they would like — relationships that make them feel known and understood. Essentially, if you feel lonely, you are lonely. One out of two Americans now falls into this category. In a recent study of 20,000 people by the health insurance company Cigna, about 47 percent of respondents reported often feeling alone or left out. Thirteen percent said there were zero people who knew them well.

The U.S. is not unique in this respect: Loneliness is reaching epidemic levels throughout the developed world. Forty-one percent of Britons say the TV or a pet is their main source of company, and the U.K. has created a ¬cabinet-¬level minister to deal with the problem of rampant loneliness. A government study in Japan found that more than half a million people spent at least six months at home with no outside contact. “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes,” said former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. “It was loneliness.”

“What Impact Does Loneliness Have?”

It makes people sick. A 2010 study by Brigham Young University found that loneliness shortens a person’s life by 15 years, about the same impact as being obese or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Other studies have found connections between loneliness and a wide range of health problems, including increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, and cancer. Lonely people are more likely to suffer from insomnia, depression, and drug abuse. They are also more likely to suffer from more rapid cognitive decline in old age.

“Why is Physical Health Affected?”

Stress. The feeling of loneliness, scientists say, is an evolutionary phenomenon. Just as hunger encourages animals to find food, loneliness forces humans to seek out the protection of the group, increasing the chances of survival. To produce this behavior, loneliness triggers the release of stress hormones, particularly cortisol. In small doses, these hormones help make solitary humans more alert to danger. But they damage health if the body is exposed to them over long periods of time. Stress leads to high blood pressure, increased inflammation, and a weakened immune system. Without an emotional support network, lonely people are also more likely to slip into unhealthy habits, such as substance abuse, overeating, and not exercising. For seniors, isolation can be especially deadly in the event of an emergency like a bad fall or a heart attack. “Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense than denying you feel hunger,” said John T. Cacioppo, a neuroscientist who studied loneliness at the University of Chicago.

“Is Isolation More Common?”

It appears to be. Between 1985 and 2009, the average American’s social network shrank by more than one-third, defined by the number of close confidants. One reason for this is the aging of the Baby Boomers, who had fewer children and more divorces than their parents, leaving many without companions in their old age. About 1 in 11 Americans age 50 or older doesn’t have a spouse, romantic partner, or living child. That’s roughly 8 million people. One in six Boomers lives alone. The increasingly transient nature of work is also making people lonely, as Americans leave family and hometowns behind in search of paychecks. Surprisingly, young people are actually most at risk of being lonely in modern society. In the Cigna study, Generation Z members ages 18 to 22 and Millennials ages 23 to 37 scored the highest for loneliness.

“Why Are so Many Young People Lonely Today in Our Social Networked Technology?”

Americans are getting married and having children later in life; there are now more single people in the U.S. than at any time in the past 140 years. Not being part of a regular workplace also plays a role, with freelancers and “gig economy” workers reporting higher levels of loneliness. And despite seemingly infinite opportunities to connect online, social media may actually be making the problem worse. Scrolling through an endless stream of curated photos of parties, vacations, family gatherings, and weddings may increase feelings of being left out or dissatisfaction with one’s own life.

In one study of Americans ages 19 to 32, the top 25 percent of social media users were twice as likely to report feeling lonely as the people using it least. Some researchers say loneliness began becoming widespread long before the internet, when the Industrial Revolution broke up tightly knit agricultural communities. “I do think it speaks to one of the dilemmas of modern, mobile society,” said Stephanie Coontz, a historian at Evergreen State College. “As we gain the freedom to become whatever we want to be, we’ve lost the sense of belonging.”

“Alone, Angry — and Intensely Partisan”

Some researchers believe that America’s increasingly polarized politics — and the partisan viciousness on social media — may be at least partly the product of increasing loneliness. Psychiatrists Richard S. Schwartz and Dr. Jacqueline Olds describe loneliness as the “elephant in the room” of American politics. Social isolation, they say, makes people less empathetic and more likely to view the world in terms of “us” and “them.” “I think comparing notes in a civil way is the antidote to a polarized society in which we don’t understand a point of view other than our own,” Olds says. “If we are so lonely that we have no one to compare notes with, we tend to become more polarized.” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska believes that Americans are turning to political tribalism for the sense of community they used to get from simple connection to those around them. “The local, human relationships that anchored political talk have shriveled up,” Sasse writes in his new book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal. “Alienated from each other, and uprooted from places we can call home, we’re reduced to shrieking.”

Feelings of loneliness can turn into fear of loneliness. And fear of loneliness can turn into avoidance of loneliness. And then eventually you’re sending 1,000 texts a day, drowning your feelings in alcohol or video games, or hooking up with people you don’t even know—all because you don’t want to be alone in the world for even a few minutes. Or maybe you do the opposite—shut yourself in your room and ignore the world entirely to avoid being connected to people. Once you feel lonely, it’s nearly impossible to get out of your loneliness, because you are…alone.

A proverb says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10) We are each fundamentally separated from all other humans, and although we can understand each other to a certain extent, we will still feel that separation. No one fully understands what it’s like to be you. Regardless of how you react to it, loneliness can be a big, painful problem for all of us.

“What Really Causes Our Sense of Loneliness?”

Ever wonder what we were made for? The Bible explains that God wired us for personal connection, for community. Often we idealize romantic relationships and even friendships, thinking that if we only found the right person, we’d never be lonely again. But loneliness can be found even in happily married men and women. Not only were we wired for connection with other humans, we were wired for connection with God. Even wealth, achievement, and honor are not enough to keep us from loneliness. Pop culture is full of examples; rampant divorce, suicide, and drug use litter the landscape of Hollywood. There are also stories in the Bible that talk both about people who had it all and still felt lonely and about people who had nothing but found what they needed by approaching God.

Solomon was a king of Israel to whom God granted immense wisdom. And he literally had it all: huge piles of gold, a giant palace, and hundreds of wives and concubines. You’d think Solomon would have been the most content man on earth! But he wrote a book about how pointless life is: “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11) You can hear his loneliness and desperation in that statement!

In comparison, one day when Jesus was walking through a town, he was met by a man with leprosy. Lepers were ten times more scary then than now; people were terrified of catching it. Lepers were outcasts and rejects, often abandoned by friends and family to beg on street corners just to have something to eat. Picture this particular leper sitting in the dust and dirt, ignored by everyone who passed by. He had no one to turn to and not a penny to his name. He got up, walked up to Jesus, fell on his knees in the street, and asked to be made clean. Jesus touched the leper – a person who had likely not been touched by another human being in years – and healed him. The now socially-acceptable man was ecstatic and went around telling everyone about it, although Jesus had instructed him otherwise. His life suddenly had joy and meaning, despite the fact that he still had nothing and no one. What changed this former outcast’s world so entirely? Just one brief interaction with Jesus.

We weren’t made to be lonely
We were made to have a relationship with God.

It’s the one thing that can bring us out of our loneliness, because it’s the connection we were made to have. That one interaction with Jesus, who is God, brought meaning, comfort and joy to the life of that leper, while all the jewels, gold, and women in the world didn’t bring meaning to Solomon’s life. Having a personal relationship with God changes everything; it is the answer to our loneliness problem.

That said, does having a relationship with God protect us from feelings of loneliness for the rest of our lives? No. Simply put, the system is broken. It’s a complicated story you can learn more about here, but our world is a damaged place. We are separated from God by our sin, our desire to live apart from God. In this world, we cannot experience life the way it was meant to be, without loneliness or evil or sorrow or fear.

So now what?

Despite the fact loneliness is a reality of being human with no immediate cure, there are two things that can help in the here and now:

“Community: How to Deal with Loneliness”

Because we were created for connection, a big part of dealing with loneliness is to be in community. No friend will save you from being lonely ever again, but when you have people around you who care about you for who you are (not for your body, skills, money, or ability to hold alcohol) it can help you see you are not really alone.

In fact, science backs this up: the more friends you have and the more connected you are, the better your health. All you have to do is Google “Health Benefits of Friendship.” Brene Brown, a researcher and expert on human interaction, explains it this way: “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Sharing your life with people who love you helps you to see outside your own perspective and bring meaning to your life that you can remember in lonely moments.

“Someone Who Deeply Understands Your Loneliness”

Sometimes it’s hard to understand how believing in a God that you can’t see could possibly help you feel less lonely on a Friday night. But the Bible says God will never abandon his children, and he is near to all who call on his name. God loves you and desires relationship with you. He wants you to come to him when you are lonely!

Not only that, he understands. When Jesus was going through the worst hours of his life and about to be crucified, his friends abandoned him and even pretended they didn’t know him. Jesus knows what it is like to be a lonely human. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) What would it feel like to know in your deepest moment of loneliness, you are not alone? The God who made you is with you and will never leave you!

“You Can Have That!” 

The sin that separated us from living in a world without loneliness is what keeps us from God now. No matter how good you are or how hard you try, you cannot overcome that separation. God sent Jesus to earth in order to restore our relationship with him – the Bible says that Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. Jesus, the perfect son of God, died for your sins so that you could be clean like the leper; you are no longer an outcast or a reject but a child of God. Tim Keller, a pastor and author, said this about how God views us: “The only eyes in the universe that can see you to the bottom, love you to the skies.” God sees your worst moments and loves you all the same; he wants you to come to him.

Would you like to start a relationship with God and let him help you in your moments of loneliness? You can do that right now by believing him and accepting him into your life through prayer, which is simply talking to God. God knows you and your heart, so the words don’t matter as much as the attitude in which you say them.

Here’s a suggested prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Thank You for being with me and for saying that You will never leave me. Please help me to feel Your presence, to trust You are with me even when I may feel at times they it seems You are not. Help me to trust more in the rock-solid, unchanging promises You have given us in Your Word, than my fickle feelings which seem to come and go.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”

 

The Boomerang Effect

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💁🏻‍♀️Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are. How much time do we all spend judging others? In life there is always two sides to a coin and a situation. We in the church have to guard against this sin toward others so prevalent today. It’s not loving, nor helpful, nor encouraging to judge others (believers or unbelievers). “What about love? Where’s your love? Where’s the love of Christ we are representing?” 
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The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. ” 
—(Matthew 7:2. The Message)

My grandfather used to tell me, “anytime you point your finger at someone, you have three other fingers pointing right back at you” (try this yourself by looking at your hand pointed at someone). Be very careful the next time you feel the desire to haul off and make hasty conclusions about someone else’s life. The old native American proverb still stands, “until you walk a mile in that man’s moccasins, hold your tongue.”

Watch out for the flying boomerangs! 

Be a Brave Faith Believer!

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Are you ready to begin a brand new walk in faith and boldness toward the life God has planned for you? I don’t know what your next big step in life is….maybe you’re preparing for a move, or changing your job, or starting a new school, or about to launch a new ministry. Maybe you’re facing down a fear, or battling a chronic illness, dealing with martial challenges, frustrated about being single or chasing a dream?

Get inspired, fresh encouragement and emboldened faith by these devotions here from David Crews at this blog! These devotions are small, daily steps and are already changing many lives for anyone searching for a little more faith, courage, and confidence. We get emails all the time from friends telling us how much they mean to them.

What Is Brave Faith? 

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. — Isaiah 41:13 

Brave Faith. What is it? 

Truth is, there is no formula and there are no rules. There is the Bible, our guidebook for all things, but other than that, being brave is organic and spiritual and a unique journey for each person. 

I won’t be saying, “Here is exactly what courage looks like” or “If you want to really risk in a way that impacts the people around you, do these particular things.” I don’t think that works. I don’t think you need me to tell you what to do. I think you know. (Or if you don’t, you will.) I think you just need a little pregame warm-up. A little something to oomph you along. An understanding of the map you are holding. 

I want to show you that you are braver than you know, and with that knowledge in your back pocket, you can change your world and face your challenges with greater confidence than you have ever before. 

Courage is doing things even when you’re scared. Being brave isn’t something that happens when you’re not scared anymore. 

Brave faith believer people don’t stop hearing the whispers of fear. They hear the whispers but take action anyway. They refuse to be paralyzed by the “What if’s” of worry and anxiety of the unknown, the intimidation the enemy likes to hurl at us to keep us in a place of being stuck where we are rather than moving ahead in strength and confidence. 

Exercising brave faith is hearing that voice of fear in your head, but saying, “Okay, but the truth is, God made me on purpose and for a purpose.” 

I can tell you that the moments of my greatest fears — those times when I was sure I was going to wimp out under the pressure of it all — have also been the open doors to the greatest changes in my life. So I step out, full of fear, but trusting that God is on the other side in new and wonderful ways. And so far? He always is. 

He will be for you too. 

Why Have Brave Faith?
 
“We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all His idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now.”
— 2 Timothy 1:8–9 MSG
 
That’s why we have to start. That’s why we have to go first. That’s why we have to be brave — so that others will be inspired to be brave along with us. 

We can be brave because we were always meant to be a brave faith believer. 

It is scary to be who you’re meant to be. It doesn’t feel easy because it’s not. But we were made for this. Like today’s Scripture says, we have holy work. Why be brave? Because when we’re brave enough to share the God stories in our lives, it changes the people around us. It changes us to share them.

You see, the only faith that makes a real difference, in our world today, is faith that is brave, faith that takes a stand, faith that doesn’t worry about what others think, faith that inspires us to ‘stick out necks out’ for the glory of God, faith that gets up after being knocked down, faith that never ever gives up on God!

Be a Brave Faith Believer: Think back on your day. Where can you see God working on your behalf? Or just showing up for you? Tell somebody. 

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Your Turn

Is fear whispering in your ear? If so, the good news is you can act anyway. You don’t have to wait to feel courageous to push ahead. You are stronger than you think. And, you were made to be brave! Exercise the grace God has already given you through His indwelling Holy Spirit in Christ. You don’t have to work it up, just “work it out.” Ask God to help you. He will. You are still trying to live your life in your own limited strength and wisdom and you don’t realize it. But, you must FIRST trust Him and know this is what HE desires for you — to fulfill His purpose and plan through you, as a brave faith believer. If you need additional inspiration, please spend some time to meditate on Hebrews 11. It’s called, “the Hall of Faith–Brave Faith Believers.”  

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