Children love to pretend. One moment they’re a pirate protecting their proud vessel, which happens to be the backyard swingset, from the attacks of those “scurvy dogs” played by a younger brother or sister. Later, they could be cops and robbers or cowboys or soldiers or firemen. Or they may play dress-up and have tea parties. While fun, it’s all pretend and make-believe. Our next ABC of Faith is sincere faith. By literal definition “sincere” means not play acting. There are three verses that touch on sincere faith. Let’s take each one in turn.
The writer of Hebrews says, “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22, NASB95) In the preceding verses, the writer is drawing a comparison between how the High Priest approached God in the Holy of Holies once a year. While they often drew near with fear and trembling we as followers of Jesus are instructed to draw near with confidence and sincerity.
We should not play act or pretend when approaching God’s throne. We don’t draw near with insincerity born of peer-pressure, tradition, or religion. Neither do we play act to get God’s approval. God cares about our heart, our intentions, and our attitudes. Why do you go to church? Why do morning devotions? Why play Christian music? Are we drawing near out of habit or with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith?
2 Timothy 1:5
Paul had an extended relationship with Timothy. Two of Paul’s encouraging letters to Timothy are included in the Bible. In the second letter Paul says, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” (2 Timothy 1:5, NASB95) Paul’s wasn’t saying that faith is inherited but that Timothy did have excellent examples; a heritage of faith.
I also have a heritage of faith that goes back many generations. The skeptic would say it’s my heritage that causes me to believe. That I was “infected” at an early age. I’m thankful for my heritage and often lean on those roots but my faith is my own. It is perhaps easier in some ways for a first generation believer, there is less to unlearn and fewer traditions to put into their proper place. Whether we come from a multi-generational line of believers in Jesus or are the first of our family what matters is the genuineness of our faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he said, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5, NASB95) If you’ve read our About page you know that this is the guiding verse for Lambchow. This is why I and others publish through this vehicle. So that those who read Lambchow would love from a pure heart, obtain a good conscience, and live a sincere faith.
These are our goals regardless of where you are at on the journey of following Jesus. Our goal is to look past denomination, race, political agenda, and sin addiction, to the simplicity of a sincere honest genuine faith and a growing love for Jesus. The soil that God has planted you in may be far different than mine but the goal is the same. To live a life of sincere integrity that loves God, loves others, and trusts the Holy Spirit at all times. Especially when the dysfunction in myself and others is on display. No play acting, no pretending, no personal agenda, no pretense, no false judgment to make myself feel better. But instead; a life of love that is seeking to plumb the unending vastness of Christ’s love, a tender conscience, and a transparently sincere faith.
What about you? Perhaps it’s time to examine “why” you do what you do, think what you think, and feel what you feel. Are your “righteous” actions from a place of sincere faith or from something else? Is God asking you to dive deeper but fear is holding you back? Perhaps you feel there’s nothing left to learn. A wise person once said something along the lines of “It’s what you learn when you think you know it all that really matters.” That’s the beauty of God’s amazing love, there’s always more to dive into through sincere faith