The Not Quite Perfect Faith Sale

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The Not Quite Perfect Faith Sale

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There was a sales slogan that sticks out to me from many years ago: “The Not Quite Perfect Sale.” The words captivated me. They'd explain further with phrases like: “unbeatable savings on authentic merchandise with the slightest of flaws … most undetectable to the untrained eye.”

Is there a bargain to be found for a Christian faith that falls into the “not quite perfect” category?

Our faith must center on the power of Christ to teach and lead us. Not around our personal power, personal ability or potential. 

Faith is one of those Christian essentials that we each might desire to master but at times might just have demoted to the “not quite perfect faith catalog.”Faith itself is an overwhelming subject to tackle in any short story, so I wanted to focus on just one of the adversaries that Christ said drags down the faith of so many wanting to build a faith-filled relationship with our God: fear.

Christ said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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). Those words sound so simple, but often seem to crumble under pressure. Yet we need to have a faith that assures us that Christ could never lie about our Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.

Fear can be found in many places. Fear is cheap. In times of crises, you might find it lying around on a shelf or even buy it in bulk and save. No matter how you are feeling about your faith at this moment, hold on to what might seem like a not quite perfect faith.

The panic of fear and godly faith work against each other because fear almost always shows up in the middle of a disaster. Thankfully there are biblical examples that show us how to build on a not quite perfect faith. Let’s note how fear can show up in some of the most faithful people of God by looking at one of my heroes, the prophet Elijah.

One of the places in the Bible where we find stories about Elijah is in 1 Kings. There we find a section about Elijah where he prays that it not rain for three years. During part of that drought, Elijah was fed by birds—yes, birds fed him morning and evening. Now that seems like quite a faith builder to me. Later, Elijah, a widow and her son were fed out of a single jar of oil and a bin with flour. The supply never ended, feeding them all until Elijah prayed once again for it to rain years later. Amazing faith building events you suppose?

After all this, Elijah seems quite confident and filled with what appears to be a perfect faith. In one statement to the widow, he told her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first” (1 Kings 17:13 1 Kings 17:13And Elijah said to her, Fear not; go and do as you have said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it to me, and after make for you and for your son.
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It is those words—“do not fear”—that catch my attention when I read this section of 1 Kings. Those words do not sound cheap. They do not sound like the type of words holding any fear in them.

Just as the drought ends in the story, the faith that Elijah had so often demonstrated up until now appeared to become rather... not quite so perfect. He became filled with fear of King Ahab, who is out to have him murdered, running for his life (1 Kings 19:1-2 1 Kings 19:1-2 [1] And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and with how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. [2] Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not your life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
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). At this point, Elijah our hero appears to be totally lacking faith, fear having seemingly destroyed his faith completely—to the point of asking God to take his life: “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’” (1 Kings 19:4 1 Kings 19:4But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
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All of a sudden Elijah’s faith seems as sharp as mashed potatoes! What happened to his faith? Fear.

Has that ever happened to us? We seem to be riding along quite sure that our faith is intact and then—suddenly—the sale is on. Sell the faith for any price; it has imperfections in it.

Elijah did learn more about his own faith

But you and I can learn from him because Elijah’s faith was not perfect; and most likely neither is ours. One thing we each have to learn about fear and faith as seen through Elijah’s story: we have to trust in the One who can deliver us through a “not so perfect faith.”

We have a place to go at times when our faith is overcome by fear. Consider the meaning of these words: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:2 Galatians 2:2And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
American King James Version×

As we consider those words, we come to realize our faith must center on the power of Christ to teach and lead us. Not around our personal power, personal ability or potential. If I begin to trust in my own not so perfect faith, I will eventually fail completely. But as we examine our faith in the face of any fear, remember that Christ and our Father cannot and will not fail.

Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
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The enemies of a godly faith are everywhere and any one of them could melt away the faith we need to build on. That faith may seem quite imperfect at times, but it must not be sold at any price. We must allow our imperfect faith to be strengthened by submitting to the power of Christ to deepen and strengthen the faith we need so that it becomes ever more perfected. No one has perfect faith as we have seen with Elijah, one of the most faithful men noted in our Bible.

Never buy into the “not quite perfect faith sale” mentality. With Christ as the One who loves us, what we must remember is that fear is an enemy of faith. Don’t sell out what you have already built. Learn that with Christ leading us what we have actually bought into is the “faithful sale of a lifetime.”

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