Although this podcast on survival-grade faith is self-contained, it’s the second part of a series based on messages I delivered at a women’s conference.
In the first message, we looked at Peter’s denial of Jesus three times before Jesus went to the cross. We also looked at Jesus’ prediction before Peter ever sinned that Peter’s faith would not fail and Peter would turn again (Luke 22:31).
Everything happened just as Jesus said, and Peter went on to fulfill the second part of Jesus’ prophecy — strengthening his brothers — and penning some of our flagship truths about trials (1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:12).
Peter tells us trials are both inevitable and purposeful. They are also “various.” Whether they come as a result of this sin-sick creation, as a wilderness experience preparing us for battle, as divine discipline when the perfect Father loving reproves, or on the anvil as we watch everything about ourselves melted down, hammered out, and chiseled so that we better reflect His image, they come.
Once we’re in a trial or a test, the only way is THROUGH it. The kind of faith that both survives and thrives through trials has some things in common we can glean from Peter’s words and the Hebrews passages about faith and divine discipline, as well as Old Testament examples.
An outline, selected quotes, Scripture, and tweets for the podcast on survival-grade faith are below.
The theme of the conference was “Forward: What happens when ordinary women follow an extraordinary God.”
When God renames His servant, it’s for a purpose. We discussed Peter’s name change by Jesus in the first session. Discover with me the exact timing of another famous servant’s name change and what lessons we can learn from this hero of the faith and God’s response to his failure.
B. Two Truths about Faith
1-Failure is not the enemy of faith
This is most evident in the long list of Old Testament heroes in Hebrews 11. All but a couple of them have some of their greatest failures recorded elsewhere in Scripture for all of creation for all of posterity to read. But think about it. We don’t call this the “Hall of Failure” and the writer doesn’t open the list up with a treatise on sin. No, the opening statement defines faith and then each story is a tribute to faith. That’s why we call it the “Hall of Faith.”
2-Faith is fueled by trials
When Christians come through fiery trials still trusting the Lord, they are assured that their faith is genuine — and that faith is more precious than gold. An untested faith is just theory and theology. Trials turn theory into substance and send theology pulsing through every vein.
The Hebrews heroes, Peter’s story, and Peter’s Spirit-inspired words point us toward this reality: it is NOT about our performance on the test, but about our faith surviving and thriving through to the other side.
C. Two Foundations of Survival-Grade Faith
1-Survival-grade faith develops a 360-degree view of God.
Our faith is only as strong as the object of our faith. Our faith is never about us; it’s always about the God we have faith in. So if our faith is founded on, perfected by, and sustained by God, it’s crucial that going into situations where all we may have left is this faith in God — that our view of God is FULLY informed and formed.
We have to strike a balance between relishing how much God cares for us as individual children and grasping who He is as author of the universe and keeper of all creation. His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. He accomplishes his will however he pleases. Sometimes it’s through mighty deeds and miracles, through seemingly insignificant details and events, and sometimes by allowing trials and sufferings.
A God who is good, a God who is good to you and me, and a God who is good at being God doesn’t need to explain His ways to us.
We don’t need more comprehension, we need more trust.
We don’t need more understanding, we need more faith.
We don’t need more answers, we need different questions.
2-Survival-grade faith trades answers for questions.
It’s an illusion to think answers are the answer. God never did explain the trial to Job and the Hebrews 11 saints didn’t receive the ultimate promise in their lifetime (Heb. 11:39-40).
You are not set aside. You’ve been set apart. If God has pulled you back up on his workbench, that’s because you are a tool still useful to Him. He’s not finished with you. He will do a work in you before He does a work through you, but know this: He is working.
Substitute these questions for answers:
1. How do I make this count and cooperate with God’s work in my life?
2. Who can I comfort because of what I’ve experienced?
There is NOTHING you go through that your good God can’t redeem to bring good into your life and glory for His name. God is the AUTHOR of good. NOBODY does good like God.
God made good out of nothing. God makes good out of sinners. And God can make good out of evil.
Your faith can survive what it cannot explain.
The next message in this series is: “How to go FORWARD from here.”
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