Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Do You Believe In?

Abraham kept believing even as the childless years passed. Joseph never lost faith when slavery led to prison. Moses kept walking through a wilderness that was not of his own choosing. David sang even when being chased by a king intent on killing him. Jeremiah kept on preaching in spite of the fact that no one seemed to be listening. Mary and Joseph never stopped believing, regardless of what the town gossips might have said. Jesus set his face to Jerusalem even knowing that a cross awaited him there.

Each one of those people faced down greater obstacles than most of us. They endured longer than most of us could imagine. How did they do it? Perhaps more importantly: why did they never give up? The answer is one and the same; they believed that God had something better in store for them. Their lives weren't perfect, with the one most notable exception, but they knew in their hearts that God was the true source of their hope. They believed with more than their heads and saw with more than their eyes. When tough times came their faith carried them through. Their faith impacted their heart, and that kind of faith overcomes circumstances.

If I might be so bold, I believe that most of us, in fact, all of us, play games with God. We are all for faith when faith is about material blessings or bigger ministries or attention and adulation. But biblical faith is not built on or about those things. Faith is about God, period. Faith has its foundation in His character. Salvation is built upon His love and grace. There is no part of faith that exists apart from God. That knowledge should cause us to reevaluate everything about what we call faith in our day and age. The comfort and ease of being a Christian in North America in 2014 has led us not to a deeper more vibrant faith. Faith in our time has become a means to an end for many in our churches.

But faith is not some magic potion, some panacea that clouds our vision and better judgment. To be blunt, faith is hard work. Our natural inclination is to solve our own problems, to "fix" whatever is broken. Faith goes against that way of thinking. Faith requires that we look beyond ourselves in the realization that we are not the be all and end all. We are challenged to acknowledge that God is greater than we are, and we don't like that. Trusting God is an easy thing to talk about but a very different thing to practice.

Faith is the confidence that God will keep His word, regardless of circumstances, regardless of feelings, regardless of what anyone else might say. This confidence is not without struggle, but it does have history on its side. Those who possess this kind of faith have earned it. They remember how God has kept his word, they have seen God move in their lives and in the lives of others.

What they have seen in others has created in them a desire to have that same kind of relationship. They have made a relationship with God a priority in their lives and build everything upon that relationship. These people have never given up on God and have been careful to give the credit to whom the credit is due. They have taken to heart the truth that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2); that He will never abandon us (Heb. 13:5); and that He will complete His work in us (Php. 1:6). These promises have kept them walking, singing and following whether thy understand the circumstances or not. That kind of faith is rare in this world.

What is faith to you? If your faith holds no influence over your thoughts and actions then chances are you don't have faith in anything to begin with.

Just something to think about.

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