We started a new confirmation class this last week at Laurel Hill United Methodist Church. The first lesson focuses on the gift of God. What is it? How is it received? How is it best utilized? When we were discussing this we shared how Jesus is not only the giver of the gift but its perfect mediator and expression. Jesus is the Way and the truth and the life are embodied in him: in his baptism, in the wilderness testing of his faith, in his anointing, in his ministry, in his passion, and in his resurrection.
In particular today, think about his wilderness testing. It is there in the face of evil that Jesus professes his faith. It is there we gain a full measure and description of what our faith is meant to be. Three elements stand out that confirm the validity of our faith. The first element is the foundation of our faith- the word of God. “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.” (Matthew 4: 4) There is no other co-substantial basis for faith to arise.
The second element of confirming your faith is its focus. Jesus summed it up this way. “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.” (Matthew 4: 7) How does Satan tempt Jesus to distort his faith and put God to the test? Satan asks Jesus to assume God will suspend the law of gravity for him. We are constantly destroying the focus of our faith when we do the same thing as a person or nation. How do we do this? Aren’t we asking God to suspend the law of economics, the law of sowing and reaping, for the sake of our spending and for the sake of our lifestyles? Don’t we ask God to bless us while their is blood on our hands and stinginess in our hearts? Oh, that we would repent and seek the simple life of obedience to God over putting God and ultimately ourselves to the test.
The third element to confirm is the fruit of our faith – worship. “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’.” (Matthew 4: 10) Take everything else into account, every blessing and benefit of of faith, and the greatest reason for our trust is it puts us in a place of worship.
Can you confirm your faith right now? Is its foundation the word of God? Is its focus obedience? Is its fruit worship? If you can say, “Yes” to these questions then you have confirmed your faith!