For the past week two words have continuously pulsed through my mind: sincere faith. This phrase was planted as I read the apostle Paul’s encouraging and challenging words to his young understudy Timothy. They were watered by a sermon from Dr. Danny Wood on having faith to persevere through tough times. Their beat continues as I walk the streets of Burlington. God please give me sincere faith.
According to popular folk tales the word sincere comes from the Latin words sine=without and cera=wax, so sincere means “without wax.” As stated in the not always quite correct wikipedia:
According to one popular explanation, dishonest sculptors in Rome or Greece would cover flaws in their work with wax to deceive the viewer; therefore, a sculpture “without wax” would mean honesty in its perfection.
The best way to determine whether the work was without wax was to hold it up to the light. As you can probably imagine a statue or piece of pottery that was cracked, filled with wax, then pieced back together would not stand the test of the elements and time. This insincere sculpture would not last one life-time, much less last long enough to pass on to someone else. We need a God-given sincere faith that moves us forward as we perseveringly pursuing Jesus- something worth passing on to others that come after us (see 1 Timothy 1:5 and 2 Timothy 1:5).
Today I ask God to give me sincere faith- directly from these scriptures:
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. John 4:34-36
*God give me faith to believe people live in our community who are ripe to respond to the message of Jesus.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
*God give me faith to believe the good news, the message of Jesus, is powerful and sufficient for the salvation of everyone who believes.
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers,did not come proclaiming to you the testimonyof God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of menbut in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
*God give me faith that with the message of the cross of Jesus comes Holy Spirit empowered conviction and conversion.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us toa holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. 2 Timothy 1:8-9
*God give me faith that I will be willing to suffer and sacrifice so that the message of Jesus may advance.