If You Believe It, Are You Living It? 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Pastor Mark Aune

1 Peter 2:1-7

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

Christianity is not a passive faith and the season of Lent is a prime example of that. Lent is an ancient Christian practice of intentionally focusing on what it means to follow Jesus. A time to examine yourself and your relationship with God.

For some people it may be a spiritual discipline of denying yourself of some thing or some practice as a way to draw closer to God.

For others it may mean adding a spiritual discipline to deepen your relationship with God or your understanding of what God is doing in your life.

Our theme for Lent this year is in a very real sense, what Lent is all about.

If you believe it…are you living it?

I think it is a great question. It is not meant to condemn or guilt anyone but to honestly engage in what it means to live a faith-filled life in Christ.

Living the faith means we reflect on our life in Christ, we evaluate, and we are intentional about what we do every day as Jesus followers.

Sometimes it means we give things up. We stop doing that which creates strife, discord and disharmony in our lives and in our world.

Our reading for tonight puts it this way; so then, stop doing anything to hurt others. Don’t lie anymore, and stop trying to fool people. Don’t be jealous or say bad things about others.

If you were to give up these things, what kind of ripple would that create in your life and in the lives of the people around you?

If you were to give these things up, how might your own understanding of who you are as a Jesus follower change and grow?

Self-examination is hard. It requires honesty and a willingness to fully present yourself to God. When it says in our reading that we are to stop trying to fool people, we need to include ourselves in that admonition.

If you are struggling with something, if you need to be reconciled with someone, if there is an issue that requires honesty on your part, stop trying to fool yourself and do what you need to do for your sake, for healing and wholeness.

When we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return, we are liberated to live in freedom and honesty.

The Lenten discipline can also mean doing something new, something you have never done before. A spiritual practice you are interested in trying but have not started.

  • A new way to strengthen a relationship of importance in your life with a spouse, a child, or a friend.
  • Maybe you are feeling a call to serve and love your neighbor in a way you have never done before.
  • Perhaps now is the time to begin a devotional practice you have been putting off or even just trying to read your bible more.

Listen to that voice and act on it. Let God lead you into new practices that will deepen your relationship with God and your neighbor. This is one way to taste the goodness of the Lord.

We have been speaking a lot about the ripple effect of faith this year. When we ask the question, if you believe it, are you living it, the living it part is the ripple.

Remember, the Lord Jesus is the living stone, he is the one God chose as one of great value. So come to him. You also are like living stones, and God is using you to build a spiritual house.

If your faith is going to have a ripple effect, you have to begin with Jesus. Come to him, that living stone. Stand firmly on Him. Put your trust in Him. Build your house on Him, the living stone, the rock of our salvation.

Once we do this, we begin to discover that we too are living stones. We are living the faith.

We are creating ripples.

As living stones each of us has the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse. Our thoughts, intentions, and actions have a far-reaching ripple effect on everyone around us, both now and in the future.

This year, lent of 2021, amid all of the challenges and changes we have been dealing with, consider what positive ripple effects we can create if everything we say and do, is grounded on the living stone, the rock of our salvation.

Whether it is giving something up or doing something new, keep yourself grounded in Jesus, the living stone. This is the most important Lenten practice of all.

And remember that whatever you choose to do, whether it is giving something up or starting something new, it will create ripples. Signs that you are a living stone.

For that promise and the hope it brings, we say thanks be to God.


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