We love a good story. In the Robertson family, about the time you start learning to tie your shoes is when you start listening to good stories. Later you get your chance to tell a good story. Our stories involve experiences we have gone through, taken from the ordinary things we deal with every day, but often made bigger than life to make them more fun.
There may also be some surprise twists to keep you guessing. But the secret to a really good story is that it will have a point that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
It’s no surprise, then, that we love Jesus’s stories. He called them parables, which means they compare something to something else. Parables aim straight for the heart and can change yours if you let them. Think of a parable as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning from our Faith Commander: Jesus.
In our book, Faith Commander, we’re going to look at five of Jesus’s parables. We’re going to peel them back so you can feel how outrageous they were when Jesus first told them. Then we’re going to dig deep into what they tell us about how to live. Each parable deals with a value that is foundational to the way our family lives: faith, forgiveness, prayer, obedience, and kindness.
Willie and I (Korie) both come from big families, and these five values are some of the main things that hold our families together. We’ll be telling some true stories about the Robertson family to show you how we try to live these values.
If you’ve heard these parables before, we hope you’ll let them hit you fresh. And if you’ve never heard them before, you’re in for a treat.
Not even Si can tell a better story than Jesus.
Faith is the number-one value our family seeks to live by.
Faith isn’t just a church word; you and I use faith many times a day in the most ordinary situations. For instance, Miss Kay loves to cook, and when she cooks she follows a recipe. She has used her recipes over and over, and she has faith that when she puts all the ingredients together, the recipe will work.
Even more, if she gets a new recipe from a friend, the first time she uses it she really has to have faith that the end result will taste good!
Faith simply means trusting that something or someone is true or reliable, and acting on the basis of that trust.
God sometimes works through “recipes” we’re familiar with. When He sends the normal amount of rainfall for our area, things happen the way we expect. When we drop something, we expect it to hit the ground because God’s “recipe” for gravity is reliable. When we’ve seen God do something for us over and over, that familiar knowledge makes our faith strong in that area.
On the other hand, new things often happen to us. The loss of a job. A new baby. Whether we see them as good or bad, unfamiliar events stretch our faith. Can God handle it? Do we want God to be God in this situation, or do we want to write our own recipe?
The other values our family lives by all depend on faith in God – on trusting God to be God in our situation. We can’t be consistently kind and forgiving to broken human beings just by trying hard. No, to be kind and forgiving we need faith that is redonkulously strong, redonkulously trusting, no matter what happens.
Apparently, the size of your faith is less important than its quality and what you’re doing with it. Are you using the faith you have?
In our family, life hasn’t always been easy, so we’ve needed to step out in faith day after day.
Here are some practical things you can do to develop redonkulous faith:
Open your ears.
Listen to what Jesus is saying. Think about the parable. Which kind of soil are you? Use your ears throughout the day to hear how Jesus’s words interplay with your life.
Deal with your distractions.
Take a hard look at what possessions mean to you. Do you find your identity in the things you own? The Robertson family used to be poor, and now we’re rich, but we don’t look to money for our identity, our sense of importance, or our security. Wealth is fleeting. If we found our identity in wealth or fame, then being in a TV show would have torn our family apart. Don’t let your faith and family be torn apart because you’re chasing money.
Painful experiences aren’t evidence that there is no God, or that God isn’t powerful, or wise, or good enough to make life go well. He has purposes in your suffering that we can only guess at. One of those purposes is to help your faith grow.
Has life disappointed you? Has someone hurt you or others you care about? Are you blaming God or have you given up believing in Him? Those are signs of calluses on your soul. You can soften them by forgiving those who have hurt you and by letting go of blaming God.
Address the things that control you.
Calluses can also form on your soul if you simply don’t want God to exist. Think about that. Would it get in your way if there was a God with opinions about how you live your life? If so, it’s convenient to disbelieve in Him.
Make time to worship God.
Faith in God grows when we choose to worship God as God. Worshiping is saying with your whole self, “God, you deserve to be God. I’m not god of my life, and neither is anything else.” If you choose to truly worship with others, your faith will get stronger.
Don’t rely on feelings.
Faith can’t depend on feelings, because feelings come and go. What to do is this: notice it. Give it some air time to talk to you. Think of your feeling as a six-year-old child: you want to listen to it, and then you need to be the faith-filled grown-up who decides what to do. If you’re a good parent, you don’t muzzle the child, but you also don’t let him or her rule the home.
Don’t coast on the faith of other people.
As Willie says, “Our relationship with God is personal. I’ve had many godly role models in life, but I had to choose for myself to put my faith in Jesus. Even though I had great parents who loved God, I could not rely on their faith.” We need other people to support us in faith, but we can’t expect them to carry us while we coast.
Is God part of your DNA by faith? If He isn’t, now is a good time to change that! Like with Phil, it all starts with just a tiny seed of faith that God really is who the Bible says He is.
Watch the Faith Commander Trailer
Watch Session 1 of Faith Commander: Teen Edition
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Excerpted with permission from the Faith Commander by Korie Robertson and Chrys Howard, copyright Zondervan 2014.
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What’s keeping you from putting your full faith and trust in God? What’s keeping you from redonkulous faith? Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you today on our blog!