faith

Fake or Faith?

A couple weeks ago, I ran into a young woman struggling in her marriage. She said, “I just gotta fake it until I make it, right?”

I hear that phrase periodically and it doesn’t sit well with me, I’m a girl who treasures authenticity.  I hugged the young woman and said, “How about FAITH it until you make it? God doesn’t want us to be fake.”

“That’s good! I like that.” She said before we parted ways.

One little word can make a big difference in how we see God through our circumstances and approach him. Fake is different than Faith. Faith is not being fake, there is nothing fake about making the choice to focus on God’s greatness.

I used to have a motto when it came to prayer. I would say, “The only ingredient to a successful prayer is sincerity.” My passion for sincerity was in an effort to avoid being like the scribes who prayed for pretense (Luke 20:46-47). They were being fake, they were praying for show. I also noticed others memorizing prayers (like the Lord’s prayer) and reciting them like the pledge of allegiance. In an effort to pull myself and others towards an authentic relationship with God, I emphasized sincerity. I still believe 100% in sincere prayers, but I’ve also noticed the power of adding one extra ingredient: Faith.

Jesus said in Mark 11:22-24, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

I recently made my first Facebook live video on our tendency to “worry-pray.” Instead of praying in faith, we can have the tendency to magnify the problem rather than the problem-solver. I wrote out a faith-declaration about who God is (all based on scripture), as a way of setting my mind on the greatness of God first before I bring him my concerns. When I set my mind on His greatness, my (once) mountain of a problem starts to look more like a speck. It’s not fake, it’s focus.

If our prayers magnify our problem to be bigger than God and His power – our faith is in the wrong thing.

Yesterday, my daughter came to me overwhelmed with homework. As we sat on her bed, I pulled out my faith-declaration and read it to her. Tears fell down her face as she was reminded of our God who is limitless in strength and power when she feels weak. She asked if she could hang a copy up in her bedroom. The privilege of paving the way in motherhood never gets old. I want her to know what real faith is. Fake smiles through gritted-teeth and says, “I can do this.” But faith is different. Faith says, “I can’t do this, but my great God certainly can!”

3 Leadership Wins from the Centurion

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My husband works for a fantastic company. If you want to get promoted, they insist that you invest in a professional (John Maxwell certified) leadership coach. It was no small financial investment for us, but we agree in the principle; if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, you aren’t ready to be a leader. My husband is on his second week of leadership coaching. Naturally, it has our family talking about leadership more than ever. Brandon comes home admitting he has a lot to learn about leadership and I wait eagerly for a word-for-word replay of his sessions (I wish I could be a fly on the wall).

As I was reading my Bible yesterday, I came across the passage about the Centurion in Luke 7. There were verses that stood out to me that I never noticed before, and principles that go right along with what Brandon’s learning through leadership coaching.

 Luke 7:1-10:After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him.  When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him,  for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.”  And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord,do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.  For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.” 

  1. The Centurion Highly Valued His Servant (Luke 7:2)

Sadly, it feels like we live in an age where leaders are more concerned about using people than they are valuing them. Many leaders care about the results but have little regard for the people who work hard to make those results happen. It was refreshing to read that the centurion highly valued a man who was “just a servant.” When the centurion sent the elders of the Jews to request the servants healing, guess what they did? They raved about their leader and bragged about how deserving he was. Perhaps because the centurion was a leader who highly valued his servants, the servants in turn cared about the results he cared about.

I recently read an article titled, “The Hottest New Leadership Trend: Actually Caring.” The article compared the difference between someone who cares vs. someone who acts like they care. People are not buying insincerity anymore — and we’ve all been there. A friend whom you haven’t heard from in 10 years seems excited to reconnect, but once you show up for coffee they try to sell you something or recruit you. It feels like a let-down when the only time you hear from someone is when they want something. But when it’s someone who genuinely cares, giving back to them is a no-brainer.

2.  The Centurion Understood Authority (Luke 7:8)

The Centurion noted that he is both under authority and in authority. He could have just said, “I’m in charge, I know how authority works.” But instead he mentioned that he was also under authority. He understood a principle that Michael Hyatt writes about: “If you want to be a great leader, you must first become a great follower.”

If we skip the step of becoming a great follower and try to jump straight to leader, we won’t develop the character we need to reproduce when we step into leadership. We will become dictators rather than ones who lead by example. We won’t learn what it takes to be loyal, to submit when we disagree, to serve humbly or protect unity. If you aspire a position in leadership and have been frustrated in the waiting season, don’t underestimate the value of learning how to follow well. It might not always feel like it, but it’s the best training ground for leadership. (Read Matthew 23:10-12 on God’s game plan to become the greatest.)

3. The Centurion was Humble but Full of Faith (Luke 7:6-7)

The misconception about humble people is that they are weak. The Centurion admits that he isn’t worthy to have Jesus come under his roof — but at the same time also recognizes that all Jesus has to do is say the word for a miracle to happen. That doesn’t sound like a weak man to me, it sounds like a man who knows where real power comes from.

We can be fully aware of how unworthy we are to receive God’s amazing grace, yet fully confident that miracles can happen in our lives. We can lead boldly, speak confidently, pray audacious prayers, take risks, fiercely pursue dreams, stand up for truth, be unshakable in our values, and believe for the impossible. We don’t have to shrink back to be humble, but we do have to rely on His strength and not our own. Self-reliance breeds pride but God-reliance will keep us continually leading from a humble stance.

 

P.S. I really don’t know what the picture of our family above has to do with leadership or this verse. I just like it. My husband is a great leader of our family…Just go with it.