This sermon is part of the sermon series "Standing Your Ground". See series.
How do you win the World Series? A few decades ago, when the New York Mets were the underdog darlings of the National League, two young pitchers told the world the secret. Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw borrowed a line from a Walt Disney character and said, "Ya gotta believe."
Some clever advertising agency picked up the phrase and has used it to sell peanut butter. The ad says that you can make Peter Pan Peanut Butter "with a whole lot of peanuts and a little bit of magic" and—one more thing—"Ya gotta believe."
There appears to be a consensus in the popular culture that good things come if someone just has enough confidence in the outcome. In order to win a game, make peanut butter, get a job, a good looking boyfriend, or a trip to Hollywood on American Idol, you just really, really need to believe in the results you want. Unfortunately, the idea that we can make really good things happen by the adequacy of our faith gets so much play in our culture that people really begin to believe in such an idea. The idea that adequate faith can trigger God into giving us the best things in life right now gets transferred to the most serious matters of health, career, family, and faith. Even Bible-believing Christians may begin to assume that they can make good things happen through exercising exceptional faith. They may even have been taught this in church.
I have experienced the consequence of equating exceptional faith with getting exactly what you want. I had a job working as an assistant to a commercial photographer. For an outdoor project with a local pool manufacturer we needed two days of good weather to take all the photos necessary. My boss, a Christian, encouraged me to pray with him for clear skies. We prayed, and the ...
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