2 Timothy 1:3-7 -”I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” NKJV
Three things are foundational in my life and outlook: Faith, Family & Freedom. The Bible reveals in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith, it is impossible to please God…” We are also informed in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We read in Ephesians 2:18 that salvation is by grace and we receive that gift or prize through faith. So Faith is incredibly important in the spiritual. We demonstrate our faith through obedience. Our obedience to the directives of the Word of God indicates our confidence in the God of the Word and is an expression of faith. Without faith, we would be like rudderless ships tossed on the sea of life. Some have accused me of preaching a “blind faith” that is unreasonable but I contend that Hebrews 11 teaches faith, that the unbeliever could easily view as “blind”.
The writer of Hebrews 11 presents a complex definition of faith saying, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I heard a preacher take this text once and contended for NOW FAITH! I like that, not future faith, past faith but present faith or faith that is alive and operational in the NOW! This faith described in Hebrews is a demonstrated confidence in the promises and provisions of God. It is the desired object yet unseen but possessed in the heart, mind, and spirit by FAITH. Faith transforms hopelessness into hope and inspires those facing seeming sure defeat to rise and stand on the promises of God. Is it “blind”? Only to the natural mind or eye. For we are serving one who sees the end from the beginning.
I find it tragic in dealing with people, reading articles, seeing television programming and observing the efforts of Hollywood to witness the lessening of importance to the family unit. I realize that I was raised in a different generation and with parents and grandparents who were totally committed to family and valued it above everything but God. My parents considered it both an obligation and privilege to teach, nurture and train us in life. They believed that if they kept us pointed in the right direction and taught us basic principles of morality, life, and faith we would become wholesome contributors to society and could, in time, become responsible parents ourselves. In my family, we did not and do not rubber stamp attitudes and actions simply because of kinship. We illustrate and advance the idea of iron sharpening iron but at the end of the day we value family and carefully guard those relationships. My sister was a grade behind me in school and I was told once that some guys were afraid to ask her out because of me. The statement was, “You are so fiercely loyal to family and friends some guys are afraid.” I responded, “Nothing to fear unless you harm her.”
Today the world and America are witnessing the weakening of Freedom on many fronts. Freedom is not the absence of chains on the body but the absence of chains on the heart. Of course, none of us want to be in chains physically and find slavery repulsive but many are in chains spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially and politically. Freedom is a treasure must never to be treated lightly. Freedom on virtually every front is fragile if there is not a solid foundation of Faith. If I do not trust or have faith in government I will not feel confident or secure in my freedom. If I do not trust others I cannot have confidence, or feel secure in relationships. If I do not have confidence in the Word, Promises, and God Himself I cannot be Free spiritually and become an easy target for the enemy of our souls.
Therefore, I believe it is imperative that we first develop a foundation of Faith, strengthen Family relationships and in that condition we can achieve and enjoy Freedom regardless of what transpires in our world. For me, it is: Faith-Family-Freedom! I would add one more “F” to the mix – FRIENDS!
God bless you and God bless America!