The Goal of Our Faith

Teach Me Your Paths
Psalms 25:4-5, 8-10 ESV

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.”

“Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”

The goal of our faith in Jesus Christ shouldn’t be only to go to heaven when we die. The goal of our faith should be to live for Jesus Christ and to do what he says to do while we still live on this earth. It should be to serve our Lord, and to be who he created us to be, and to live for his glory and praise.

God saved us and called us to a holy calling. He gifted us with spiritual gifts, and he assigned each one of us a part (role) within his body. When we believe in him, we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness. His Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and now we no longer live like we did before. Now we are under the Holy Spirit’s control.

We were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus Christ so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20). Now we are HIS possession. And he is our Lord (owner-master). We belong to him, and now he is the one who is to be directing our paths, not ourselves.

For, we are now his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which he planned and prepared in advance that we should walk (in conduct, in practice) in them (Eph 2:10). Now we are to live our lives to please the Lord in all that we do and say, and not to please only ourselves.

Therefore, our prayers to God should not be all about us and what he can do for us. They should be about him, and what we can do for him to please him in all of our ways. We should be asking him to teach us his ways and for him to lead us in his truth with the intention that we will follow him in obedience.

Be Gracious to Me
Psalms 25:16-21 ESV

“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

“Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.”

It is a joy to serve our Lord, to walk with him in his ways and in his truth, to listen to him speak truth to our hearts and then to follow him in obedience. It is a joy to be in relationship with him, to know his will, and to do his will for our lives in his power and strength and for his glory.

But if we are following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly with our lives in a day and time when that is no longer being stressed in the teachings of his word, and in the teachings of the gospel, in the vast majority of churches, at least here in America, it can lead to a lonely life and to rejection and persecution.

For, if the majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ are going the way of the world, doing the same things the world does, watching and listening to the same things the world watches and listens to, telling all the same stories and jokes, etc., we will stand out like a sore thumb.

But we are supposed to stand out. Jesus called us out from the world to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, so that is good if we stand out. But it is lonely if not too many other people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are joining us, but if they are going a different way from us.

And it is even lonelier if they are opposing us and are standing against us because they have bought into the lies of Satan which tell them that they can believe in Jesus, have heaven secured them, and yet still live in their sins, and if they are being told they don’t need to repent of sin.

But the Lord is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. So, he will comfort us in our troubles, and he will teach us what he wants us to learn through our difficult and lonely times. And he will use these difficult experiences in our lives to advance his purposes for our lives and to advance his kingdom, for these trials serve his purposes.

Through them the Lord is strengthening us in our walks of faith, he is maturing us in him, he is pruning us, and purifying us, and he is making us holy so that he can use us for his glory, and so that we will humble ourselves and be willing to be used by him, too.

So, we praise the Lord, not just for his blessings, and not just for the good times, but we praise him for the bad times, too, for he is growing us in him, and he is molding us into the people he wants us to be so that we will be his willing vessels to take his word wherever he wants it to go.

Praise the Lord

Lyrics by John Kempthorne (1775-1838),
Music by Lowell Mason (1841)

Based on Psalm 148:1-2

Praise the Lord! ye heav’ns adore him;
Praise him angels, in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before him;
Praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise the Lord! for he has spoken;
Worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance he has made.

Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
Never shall his promise fail;
God has made his saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.

Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on high his pow’r proclaim;
Heav’n, and earth, and all creation,
Laud and magnify his name.

Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto thee;
Young and old, thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.

All the saints in heav’n adore thee,
We would bow before thy throne;
As thine angels serve before thee,
So on earth thy will be done.

Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah!
Amen, Amen, Amen.

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