Human Interest

INTENTIONALLY STRONG FAITH

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In 1992 at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Derek Redmond had an experience that almost anyone can empathize with. As one of the top-rated sprinters in the world, he was highly likely to win a medal. This is something he had been training to accomplish for many years. Having participated in high school track, I can just imagine how much time and effort he had invested to get to this coveted level of excellence. During the 400-meter dash something tragic happened to Derek. He tore a hamstring right in the middle of the race. He went down to the ground in agony and facing certain defeat. His dreams dashed. His body writhing with pain. Something within compelled him to get up and try to finish the race. Someone tried to assist him, but he pressed pass their intervention to do it on his own. He was going forward, but it wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t seem as if he would be able to make it to the finish line. Suddenly, a man broke through security and the crowd onto the track where Derek was limping forward. It was his father. His father wrapped his arm around him and assisted him around the track. As they got close to the finish-line the father let go and allowed him to finish his race with dignity. Although Derek had every right to call it off and give up, he was compelled to continue. He didn’t give up. His story is unique, but not uncommon.

 

   
Have you ever been in a situation that required you to have faith, but under the stress of the circumstance you lost heart and reneged on your original belief? There are times when we need to be more than just on the fringes of our faith, but strong in faith. Scripture defines faith in this way, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). To renege on your faith is to deny or turn away from your original or expected position. Many of us can admit that there were times when we were believing God for something and at point we gave up, lost heart or just plain stopped believing it could happen for us. The feeling of losing heart is often just as difficult as the issue we were trying to resolve in the first place and sometimes worse. I can remember believing God for something and when it seemed as if it was not likely to occur, I caved in to the negative narrative of doubt that was plaguing me. I started believing a negative report. I began to panic and tried begging God for the result I wanted. That didn’t work. You only need to beg people who don’t want to do something for you. I’ve never wanted to be an annoying person or personality for that matter. So, begging didn’t work for me. It made me feel miserable. My desire is to be a man of faith, strong faith. I’m reminded of a scenario in scripture where a man demonstrated incredibly strong faith. Perhaps there is something we can learn from his experience.
In chapter seven of the book of Luke you will find this scenario. “When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in  Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.” (Luke 7:110 NIV). I’m sharing this full passage, because I want you to have enough information to see yourself and your situation in a different light. The centurion’s faith not only caused his servant to be healed, but provided encouragement and enlightenment to his supporters as well. I believe Derek may have had a similar impact on the more than 60,000 people in the stadium that day.
Derek could have rejected the help of his father, but his father’s integrity wouldn’t allow him to do it. Apparently, his dad had proven to him that his intent was always pure, and in his son’s best interest. Jesus must have had a similar reputation with the centurion. He knew that the integrity of Jesus’ intent would be enough to resolve his situation. When difficult situations occur, and they will happen, we can always lean and depend on God to come to our rescue and help us make it through. In my book TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE: 10 Concepts to Consider, I talk about intent. One’s intent speaks to the motive and planned result of actions taken. The father and Jesus in these scenarios, both had the intent to help. They were motivated by love and success was their goal. That doesn’t change with God when it comes to being in your corner. The integrity of God’s Word helps us to be confident in His intentions for our lives and the circumstances we encounter along the way. Derek had faith that his dad’s help would be for his good. The centurion had faith that if Jesus merely spoke his intent, the integrity of even his words would bring about the desired result, healing for his servant. If you are like me, you may often wonder if you have that kind of faith. The kind of faith that compels you to go forward in the face of adversity, being confident that God is right there with you, making sure everything is alright.
Here are a few tips on things you can do to grow the strength of your faith:
1. Increase your Word level. Be intentional in learning more about what scripture has to say about your life and the situations you may encounter. Engage in a structured study plan. There are many resources to help you with finding a good study plan. • You can always follow the International Sunday School Standard Lesson. www.standardlesson.com • Listen to sound preaching from ministers like my pastor, Bishop P. A. Brooks, March of Faith Television broadcast on the Word Network www.nspt.org • Visit a bible believing church in your community. 2. Improve your relationship with the Word The best way to improve your relationship with the Word is through daily devotion. This doesn’t have to be done in a way that mimics church. However, there are a few strategies that may assist you in taking your relationship with God to another level. • Develop your prayer life using the Disciples ’(Lord’s) Prayer as a framework to help you cover all your bases. Jesus said “This, then, is how you should pray”: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
 As you talk to God you don’t have to use these exact words, but you can talk to him about the things in your life that pertain to each one of the phrases contained in the entire prayer. This will help you to cover the important areas of your life that you may not otherwise consider. • Use a good daily devotional guide like the ones from Our Daily Bread www.ourdailybread.org • To get started, you can also use my book, RSVP Receive Salvation and Validate Your Purpose: A 90 Day Devotional Guide to help you jumpstart your devotional life in a quick and easy manner. www.rsvpmovement.com

While there are many ways to develop your relationship with God to increase your faith and make it strong, the most important thing is to first have the intent to do so. We will always face situations that tempt us to abort our missions and change our minds, but when our faith is strong, and we are not easily discouraged, we can accomplish great things in life. We can do so, because of our confidence in the one who walks with us, speaks good things about us, and causes it to happen for us.

I am a speaker, trainer and consultant. *KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Inspiring the Audience to embrace their charge. *WORKSHOP TRAINING: Effectively enhancing the skills of your staff. *CONSULTING SERVICES: Coaching and facilitating your planning and management efforts.

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