In his sermon on Sunday, 6th May 2012, Rev Lim Kim Hock, posed the question as to whether we can be sure of our faith in 5 years time or when we face adverse circumstances in life. I was reminded of a Christian patient who was struggling with cancer. She had shared with me the fear that she may lose her faith in God as her physical condition deteriorated each day.
Rev Lim drew attention to a very important truth – our faith does not depend on our feelings or our circumstances. When we are truly abiding in Christ as the true vine, our faith is rooted in the truth that Christ is in us and we are in Christ. When we have such an abiding faith, we can be sure that we will not lose our faith in God.
A faith that is abiding in Christ will not be an empty faith. It will bear the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Bearing such fruit is impossible by our human efforts – it is only by the Holy Spirit in a life that is totally surrendered to Christ.
With such faith comes the power to serve our fellow human beings. The writer of the Upper Room devotional on Sunday 6th May 2012 noted that “we live in a world where might is worshipped and weakness is despised.” Nations all over the world spend so much money on weapons of war instead of building up institutions of love.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-17, we read of God’s warnings to the future kings of Israel not to acquire many horses or many wives – the trappings associated with wealth. Sadly, we see David and Solomon failing to take heed of these warnings to the detriment of the people of God. Richard Foster lamented that likewise many contemporary leaders who take office with good intentions had their service compromised by money. When we are connected to the false vine of Mammon we will bear the fruit of pride, greed, lust, envy and all the other manifestations of our corrupt human nature.
It is therefore so important to cultivate a faith that is abiding in Christ, the true vine. When we do so, we will be able to discern God’s hand in removing the dead branches of faith in our lives as well as pruning the leafy branches so that we will be more fruitful. Only then can we face the storms in our lives with great joy as we see such times as opportunities for our lives to bear more fruit and bring glory to God.
To abide in Christ is to put our love and energies to living a life that is focused on God rather than the pursuit of material goods or social status. The good news is that all we need to do is simply to trust in the resurrection power of Jesus:
“Yes, ‘tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!”
When we are abiding in Christ, we will have the assurance that we have a faith that will not fail.