Lacking Genuine Faith
(2 Timothy 1:5)
Several customers were waiting in line at a London cheese shop one day when the famous preacher C. H. Spurgeon came in to purchase. Not one to stand around calmly, he became a little fidgety as he stood behind the others and waited his turn. Noticing a fine block of cheese in the shop window, he couldn’t resist touching it, and gently tapped the cheese with his walking stick. To his surprise, the “cheese” made an empty metallic sound – like the ring of a big bread pan. Spurgeon later recounted, “I came to the conclusion that I had found a very well-got-up hypocrite in the window.
People can be like fake cheese – they look like something they aren’t. Many use the name Christian and make a rather pretty display on Sunday morning, yet they have the hollow sound of a hypocrite. A person may look like a Christian but lack genuine faith. When tapped with temptation or spiritual duty, the sham becomes evident. What seemed to be spirituality is a veneer profession – without the substance of possession.
Not so with Timothy. His faith was genuine – so real that thinking of it filled Paul with joy. Satisfaction must have filled Timothy’s heart as he read the apostle Paul’s words (2 Timothy 1:5).
We must continually evaluate our faith and ask ourselves if what we profess will stand up under God’s examination. – Pau R. Van Gorder
Many give Christianity their countenance but not their heart.
July 25, Vol. 1
I’ll never forget the time during college when, after I had finished writing a big paper that was due the next day, I heard a loud commotion in the room across the hall. My neighbor was in a state of panic, throwing stuff around his room looking for his paper. Frustrated, he banged his fist against the closet and shouted, “Thanks a lot, God. You make life one big laugh!”
I might have given him an A+ for theology – at least he knew that God was ultimately in charge – but an F for his response to the problem.
For those of us who get mad at God when life takes a wrong turn, we need a good dose of biblical therapy. So, welcome to “Wall-Bangers Anonymous” – a two-step program toward a positive, God-honoring response to pain.
Step One: Think straight about trouble. It’s not only inevitable, it’s indiscriminate. Trouble comes in all shapes and sizes. “Various trials” (James 1:2) affect our health, our careers, our relationships. Once we understand the facts, we can begin appreciating their significant value in our lives.
Step Two: Trade resistance and resentment for receptivity and rejoicing. “Count it all joy” (v. 2). The joy is not in the presence of pain but in the knowledge that God is using our pain to refine us and make us better, not bitter. – Joe Stowell
If we embrace adversity,
Accepting every pain,
Then we will learn what we should know;
Our grief will turn to gain. – Sper
God chooses what we go through; we choose how we go through it.
- August 1, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread