Christian Living

5 Steps for Living with Authentic Faith

December 13, 2016

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:25

This verse is currently the wallpaper on my phone. Every time I activate the screen it both encourages and convicts. It’s part of the recipe for authentic faith, and it’s not easy.

Living for Jesus is an all or nothing commitment. 

I think to myself: Am I losing my life for His sake? After all, Jesus willingly lost His own life for my sake!

In the eyes of the world I have lost much—especially in abandoning the Ivy-League career path to marry and do ministry alongside my husband. Have I then truly lost my life for Christ? Is that how He measures it?

When it comes to authentic faith, we must examine our heart: 

  • Do I surrender everything—my loved ones, image, success, control, etc.—to Him?
  • Would I do anything for His sake, even saying “no” to what looks or feels good but is sin?
  • Do I fight skirmishes with selfishness through His power,  and seek His glory rather than my own?
  • Do I love His cause and His people?

Remember, it is His grace that saves us. However, our receiving of that grace is revealed by what we are willing to lose and willing to do for His glory! James 2:14-17

Missionary Jim Elliot, who lost his life seeking to minister to natives in Ecuador wisely said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Such wisdom matches what we find in Matthew 16:25. Look at its full context:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27

This message comes straight from Christ’s lips, and it’s a blueprint for having authentic faith.

5 Steps to Living for Christ:

1. Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross

In a parallel passage in Luke 9:23, Jesus says to take up our crosses daily.

What does self-denial look like in your current place in life? How can you better prioritize God and His Kingdom, rather than be stuck in your own?

Maybe it looks like addressing your husband’s needs first, treasuring moments to serve your kids rather than piling up complaints, or jumping on the urge to pray.

The willingness to die to self is born out of thankfulness for Christ’s own loving sacrifice. May we speak like Paul:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

There’s a raw beauty to self-denial. Click To Tweet

2. Remember Who Is Savior

Don’t try to save yourself through worldly pursuits – Jesus already provides the salvation that matters!

He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), and that includes each and every one of us. Admit and confess sin daily, don’t scramble to cover up wrongs that only Christ’s grace can remove.

Humble yourself and rely on the Lord. Follow His Word, for God is trustworthy unlike our desperately ill hearts. Jeremiah 17:9

3. Dismiss the World’s Charms

When we depend on the world for affirmation, long for its fleeting pleasures, or live off self-ambition, our relationship with God withers in the process. Those temporary highs don’t compare to the heavenly inheritance we have in Jesus!

Gaining the world is dangerously overrated.

Selfish pursuits make us lose sight of the blessed freedom there is in Christ, and keep us in bondage to sin.

If we give ourselves entirely to anything apart from God, we have to examine if we are truly with Him. 1 John 2:15-17

4. Grow the Fruit of the Spirit

Christ will come again, and will our deeds have demonstrated our faith? Are we reflecting the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. joy, peace, gentleness, self-control) or still living like we did before knowing Jesus?

Our faith in Jesus comes alive when serve His Kingdom faithfully through ministry in our church, evangelism, and discipleship of others. If we abide in His love, we will bear beautiful fruit!

5. Trust that He is Sufficient

After reflecting on all of this it’s easy to fall into guilt or insecurity about our walk with the Lord. However, God’s grace is sufficient!

As long as we come before Him with trusting and meek hearts, He is faithful to grow us and draw us near to Him.

Losing our life is an everyday process, and with eternal reward. Don’t forget that for those who do lose their life for Jesus, they in fact find it forever.

In a beautiful paradox, true life is found in giving all to Christ, for He is the source of everlasting joy as our Creator, Savior and ultimate King. He is worthy!

In closing, let’s be encouraged by the example of Apostle Paul: Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8

P.S. As you take these active steps of authentic belief, I also exhort you to find spiritual accountability and encouragement by joining a Bible-preaching church!

Meeting with the family of God is a special aspect of the Christian walk, and it provides opportunities to serve, grow, and disciple others for Christ.

    1. Thank you, Gretchen! I know it’s some hard-hitting truth, but I’m so thankful that it draws us closer to Christ. 🙂

  1. This reminds me of what I read in John this morning…chapter 3:28-30…John the Baptist completely deflects any personal recognition and praises Christ, then compares it to being happy for the bride and groom at the wedding. It’s not his wedding, but he’s still so filled with joy for his loved ones; wrapping up with “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Lovely post!

    1. John the Baptist is such a good example! It’s interesting too that Jesus says this right after Peter recognized Him being the Christ…like He’s saying, “You know who I am, now it’s time to lose yourself.” It’s a hard journey, but Peter eventually understands it!

  2. I love the info graph you created. Thank you for this Dani, this is my prayer daily to live with authentic faith. I will be honest and say that number 3 is my struggle. I care too much about gaining the approval of the world, God is helping me, but it is an ongoing struggle.

    1. Yes, the cares of the world – especially approval from others – are so hard to overcome! Thankfully the Holy Spirit helps us to grow even as we struggle. I pray right along with you!

  3. A beautifully worded testament to the pursuit of faith. I especially appreciate the handy graphic! Faith isn’t something that is won and done, these precious reminders are something we can all keep returning to

    1. Thank you, Christa! And yes exactly – belief in Christ is just the beginning! His saving love should inspire us to do much more for His Kingdom.

  4. This is a wonderfully practical guide for what it really means to follow Christ! I loved reading about you today and reading your beautiful words. I can relate to your life as a mom and writer, as I am a full-time mom/freelance journalist with a master’s degree in education. Seven years ago, I left the classroom to pursue parenting instead, and it’s been wonderful. You never know where God will lead you throughout the seasons of life. It’s an exciting adventure. Thanks for your ministry of words! You write truth and you write it with eloquence!

    1. Stacey, your words are such an encouragement and a blessing! Thank you for stopping by my blog and for sharing your testimony! It does appear we have much in common, especially love for Christ. I almost pursued journalism as well, but I’m thankful for where God has me now. 🙂 The Lord’s will is indeed the wonderful, humbling and growing us in the best possible way. God Bless!

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