Sustainable Faith

We hear a lot about sustainability these days. We’re told we need to green up our environment. We need to drive electric cars. We need to remove gas stoves from our homes. We must quit eating meat and start eating crickets. We must drive shorter distances. We must lower the number of cows on this earth, because of their gas emissions. We are now being told that we can be replaced with artificial intelligence. It makes a person wonder if humanity is sustainable on an earth that was created by God, but is being overrun by those pretending to be God.

Oh. It’s not the first time people of this earth have been hoodwinked into doing something that sounds good at face value. But then once the changes are being made, we realize that it wasn’t such a good idea, after all. The plan isn’t really sustainable. Someone was playing mind games with us and we got tricked into a false ideology. I’m sure all of us have fallen prey to some type of conspiracy theory at one time in our lives.

But we don’t have to be suckers when it comes to what’s going on around us. We need to keep our eyes open, our ears alert and our hearts guarded. We can fall prey to temptations and ideas that sound good, but are downright deceitful. How often do we make decisions or act under the pressure of soundless ideologies? Ideologies that haven’t been vetted. They’ve just been thrown at us, and we’re expected to bow to them without asking any questions. Shame on us if we don’t dig in and investigate the idea and the instigator of the idea.

Is your faith strong enough to sustain any threat or temptation? Do your actions defile your relationship with God?

When we take a new job, we’re saying that we’ll show up and do our best every day to get the work done. But this week, my coworker didn’t live up to his end of the bargain. He was a no call, no show for several days. He’s now unemployed.

When we call ourselves followers of Christ, we say that we’re following his commands. How can we follow his commands if we don’t know them? If we don’t read and study the Bible, how will we learn to live biblically? Are we committed to our relationship with God or not?

How do we sustain our faith if we’ve never built a solid foundation? How do we build a solid foundation? I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face. If we’re not reading the Word of God daily, we are not building a solid foundation. We can read books about the Bible. We can read devotional books. We can listen to sermons and podcasts. We can attend a Bible study. But we need to read the Bible for ourselves. We need to dig deep and learn God’s Word. That is how we build a sustainable faith. One that can stand against any hard knocks this life throws at us. If we don’t know God’s Word, we are settling for less than the best for ourselves.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written on it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8

Before Moses died, he appointed Joshua to replace him as the leader of the nation of Israel. And God confirmed that Joshua would be successful as the leader if he obeyed God’s instructions. One of the instructions that God gave Joshua was to study the Book of Instruction that he had given to Moses. He told Joshua to study it continually and meditate on it day and night. Joshua did just that, and he was successful in leading the nation of Israel to victory in taking the land of Canaan, as God promised to them.

There was another man in the Bible. His name was Balaam, and he was a wicked Midianite prophet. Israel was conquering nations on their way to Canaan, which caused fear among the surrounding countries. Balak, the Moabite king who feared Israel, trusted Balaam and asked him to curse the Israelites. Through a series of events that included a talking donkey, God instructed Balaam to say only the words that God gave him to say. And so, Balaam proclaimed blessings on Israel and curses on Moab, angering Balak.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the story.

Later, Balaam went back to Balak and told him how to launch a counterattack on the nation of Israel in a more subtle, inoffensive way. He counseled Balak to send Moabite women into Israel’s camp to seduce the men and introduce them to Baal worship. They began to eat meat offered to idols. This was far worse than any curses Balaam spoke against Balak. He showed Balak how to trip up God’s chosen people. And some of the men of Israel went along with it. What man doesn’t like a pretty girl who pays attention to them and offers them free food? How can that be wrong?

God’s people today get tripped up by false teachers and seemingly innocent ideas that look far more appealing than sacrifice and obedience to God looks. Sin will be presented to us as something pretty, convenient and comfortable. It won’t be a physical, knock down drag out fight. It could be an activity or event that makes you feel accepted by your peers and friends. It could be a new acquaintance who puts you on the edge of uncomfortable, but you let them influence you, anyway. After all. Who wants to appear to be a goody two shoes? Beware of who influences your thoughts, desires and actions. Are those you trust the most in life influencing you in a godly way? Or are they influencing you to move farther from your life as a follower of Christ? Oh. It may be subtle at first. Until one day, you wake up and notice your life is unrecognizable. You no longer desire the things of God. Are you living for the One True God or a false god? Can you tell the difference between godly advice and ungodly influence? Beware. Lest you fall for something that causes you to fall into sin.

You can find the story of Balaam and Balak in Numbers 22:1-25:15, Joshua 13:22 and Revelation 2:14.

But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. Revelation 2:14

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