Friday, July 29

Patterns of Faith and Love

Hold onto the pattern of right teaching you learned from me. And remember to live in the faith and love you have in Christ Jesus. --2nd Timothy 1:13-14

In our daily Christian walk we need to establish and maintain a pattern of consistency. That pattern involves disciplining ourselves to spend time with God on a regular basis, particularly through prayer and Bible reading. We need to be diligent and committed in our relationship with God because that is how we enrich our faith and deepen our capacity to give and receive love.

When spending time with God, it is important that we not deviate from the teachings of the gospel. This is the right teaching that the apostle Paul speaks of in 2nd Timothy--doctrine gleaned from scripture. We must hold tightly to the truths contained in the Bible and let it serve as our primary source of godly influence. Additionally, there are countless volumes of supplements, commentaries and interpretations of what the Bible says which can be useful in understanding God's word on a deeper level. Nevertheless, the Bible itself needs to be the starting point when we want to learn what God says in regard to his plan for our lives.

In addition to reading the Bible, we are to embody its principles by living in faith and love. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is being sure of what we hope for--a certainty of things unseen. Faith is more than just believing in God; it is believing God. Faith and hope enable us to hold unswervingly to the hope that all of God's promises will be carried out in due time. Our faith reminds us that for generations, God upheld the covenants He made with His people. Because of this, we have certain hope that He will continue to do so for us.

Our faithful response to God should be that we love Him. For Christians, faith and love are very closely related. Through faith, we believe God's loving nature; by loving Him we become more like Him. As I have spent more time deepening my relationship with God and furthering my understanding of His will for my life, I have seen how my faith in Him allows me to experience love in ways I didn't know were possible. Particularly, I see this played out in my marriage. My husband and I experience significant closeness when we are holding to a consistent pattern of spending time with God individually and as a couple.

Developing a personal relationship with God comes from establishing a pattern of communication with Him. When we do that, He shows us more each day how to live in faith and love that we have in Christ Jesus. Some days that may be more difficult than others, but making a habit of it is a good pattern to follow.

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