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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If I pay attention to a little word

by Brad Houchin
The word “if”, as small as it is, can have a great effect on us. Sometimes that effect can be a good thing, other times not. The word “if” could just be the most important word of our lives....think about it this way...

… if I do not cook this long enough, I could get sick
… if I do not make my mortgage payment, I will lose my house.
… if I do not show up to work each day, I will lose my job.
… if it does not rain soon, the farmers will lose their crops.
… if I do not come up for air, I will drown.
… if she......., then I will.....
… if he would only....., then i would

The list of “if’” sentences can go on and on.
How can this word be more important than: God, Jesus, the Bible and love? Well, I am not saying that it is, I do believe though that without the word “if” the words listed above are only words to us. “If” most often requires an action or response.  

James 2:14-19, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’ You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”
  • How important is the word “if” in this passage of James?
The Bible tells us that even the demons believe in God. It is the “if” that makes the difference in our belief of God.

Romans 10:9,  “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
  • What is God’s promised response to us if we do the “if” of this passage?  
2 Chronicles 7:14, If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
  • Pause for a moment and reflect on the great promise that is in this passage of scripture. I would even encourage you to respond to this passage with prayer.
  • What is God’s promised response to us if we do the “if” of this passage?
A mark of spiritual healthiness is being committed to God’s Word! This commitment is more than reading and studying, it is paying attention to the “ifs” and doing them.

James 1:22-25 22,  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
  • Spend some time looking up the following passages of scripture. What are the “ifs” and what are the responses God promises?

    Colossians 1:21-23; Isaiah 40:31; Matthew 11:28-29; Proverbs 1:33; Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Peter 5:6-10
The word “if” has so much power throughout the Word of God! When we respond to God with the “if” he asks of us, he will respond to us with his great promises. Knowing that, makes it all worth the doing the “if”.

Being Word based is one of the "7 Marks of Spiritual Health" in life and ministry.  The RM team will be writing about all seven, the topic this month is the Word.  Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversation.

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RM’s vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.


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