Faith Over Filters

Hebrews 12:1–Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

You are created in the image of God, but you might be letting filters mask that identity. Filters hide what is beneath their surface, and when they cover our lives, filters keep us from living out who God created us to be. We have to be careful what we put in our minds and who we surround ourselves with.

Be intentional about what you allow to influence your life. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” What we see or experience physically in the Earth shouldn’t define who we are. If we’re in Christ, we have an eternal life with our Creator to look forward to! God didn’t create anyone to be defined by what the world says, but by what He says about us.

Hebrews 11 is full of people who lived lives that were full of faith in God, and who didn’t let any filter keep them from discovering their God-given purpose. Noah had never seen rain, and yet he chose to believe God over everything he’d experienced so far in his life. Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children on their own, but they believed that God would keep His promise to them that they would have a baby, and they did.

Moses’ parents disobeyed their government by refusing to kill their newborn, and instead hid him. Moses, born to Jews enslaved in Egypt, was raised in Egyptian royalty. He left a life of comfort to follow the promises of God for His people. And Rahab welcomed Israelite spies into her home, despite the fact that she was both a Gentile and a prostitute. She trusted in God rather than what her culture said was true.

Let these examples encourage you to live a life just as full of faith. God will help us subdue the false identities, the filters, that cover up His plan for our lives.  In Christ, there is no gender, no age, no skin color; God can and will use everyone who is willing to place their trust in Him.

Watch week 1 of my teaching series “No Filters”.

One Reply to “Faith Over Filters”

  1. Removing filters:

    Great sermon tonight. During the sermon you mentioned that we should not believe the lies/filters of the crowds. As soon as you said this, I began to reflect on the story of Zacchaeus. Let’s flip the tale of the short man upside down…

    I believe the story of Zacchaeus is to illustrate for us the same concept that you’re currently preaching. The explanation of Zacchaeus’ story that I’m about to present is tangent to most Christian teachings about Zacchaeus. I believe that most teachings about Zacchaeus is based on the crowd’s filter/label, not on God’s purpose for him.

    The crowd accused Zacchaeus of being a sinner because of his profession and wealth (and possibly his stature). During that time period I bet there were a lot of government officials who were crooked. What if Zacchaeus wasn’t one of them? Romans 13 instructs us to support the civil government and pay taxes. What if Zacchaeus was a Godly man who was fulfilling the role God gave to him?

    There are many references in the bible to fruit and trees. The imagery of Zacchaeus in a fruit tree is fascinating. In the passage, Jesus wades through all of the people judging “the fruit of the town”, walks up to Zacchaeus and picks him out as if he was picking the good fruit from the tree. There are few times that Jesus sits down with people and eats with them. Every other time, Jesus sat down and had a meal, he was surrounded by his disciples. He was lifting people up, not addressing sin. I feel there is significance Jesus visiting Zacchaeus’ house and having a meal with him. There were many people in the town, everyone sins, why choose Zacchaeus?

    Being a rich tax collector alone is not a sin, but can tax collectors serve God’s purpose? I believe they can. The Romans 13 and 1 Corinthians 12:21 (“But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”) What if Jesus met with Zacchaeus to give him strength to resist the filters the rest of the town were trying to attach to Zacchaeus so that he could carry out God’s purpose?
    Now Zacchaeus did say, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19). People may say that this is an admittance of his sin. I feel the statement is proof that he did not sin in the way the townsfolk accused him. Being a rich tax collector, Zacchaeus must have understood math. If he built his wealth upon deceit, he would not have been able to repay everyone he had stolen from four fold. I know there are mistakes that I have made that I am not yet aware of. I believe this statement, by Zacchaeus demonstrates that he believed some of the filters/labels that the townsfolk had placed upon him because Zacchaeus believed he was being judged by Jesus for mistakes that Zacchaeus was not aware of.

    Jesus does not acknowledge Zacchaeus’ deceit, instead he says, ““Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19). What if Jesus was saving a God fearing, successful man from the accusations, filters, and labels being placed upon him by his own townsfolk; the very people Zacchaeus was serving?

    Matthew 5:8 states, “”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” That day, Zacchaeus had the pleasure of seeing God. Oh, by the way. Zacchaeus, in Greek, means Pure and Innocent.

    Just a few of my thoughts on filters.

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