What is faith? And what does it really look like? This is a question I’ve been wrestling with lately. As a Christian, we hear this word all the time. It’s pretty darn essential to the Christian life. We know what it is. At least in our head we do. But having faith in theory looks a lot different from having practical faith.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.”
What does that mean for our every day lives? The big and small decisions? Oftentimes, we find out what something is by discovering what it isn’t. And I have a pretty good idea of what it isn’t.
It’s Not Having All The Answers.
Everybody nods their head in agreement to this. “Duh!,” we say! Of course, we’ll never have all the answers. But does our behavior toward others reflect this? Do we make others feel like they have to have all the answers? Oftentimes, we don’t know what the next step is. And that’s okay. Faith is taking that first step, without knowing what the second step is. But of course, we’re told to “have a plan.”… “Be smart!”… “Don’t do anything irrational!” But, maybe faith is irrational at times? Scratch that. It IS irrational at times. It doesn’t always make sense. To others. Or even to us.
Faith Isn’t Always Logical.
Or popular. It can be labeled as crazy. Or stupid. Misguided. Naive. Thoughtless. Unreasonable. Faith can cause people to mistake you as a fool. Or to doubt you. Been there? I have. I heard someone say one time that, “faith is the willingness to look foolish.” I like that! And the Bible is littered with examples of people who looked foolish as they faithfully acted in obedience to what God was calling them to do.
- Noah started building the ark way before the rain came. I bet he looked pretty foolish building that ark in the desert.
- What about David? Do you think he looked foolish attacking Goliath with a slingshot?
- Then there’s Sarah. I’m sure some thought Sarah “was off her rocker” thinking she was pregnant at 90.
- Benaiah looked like a freakin’ lunatic chasing that lion.
And then there’s our King… Jesus!
- He was arrested.
- Spit on.
- Scourged to within an inch of his life.
- Paraded through the streets, almost unrecognizable from the beatings, desperately trying to carry the crushing weight of a heavy cross.
- Then his feet and hands were ruthlessly nailed to that same cross.
Jesus looked pretty foolish hanging half naked with a sign above his head that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
Maybe being called a fool ain’t so bad?!?! After all, we might have to take a real hard look in the mirror, and at our faith, if our lives look just like everybody else’s.
Dr. Glen Reid says that,
“We must quit bowing down to prudence!
Faith isn’t logical or illogical.; it’s theological.
Faith isn’t prudent or imprudent; it’s valiant!
Faith isn’t always having a back up plan. Sometimes it is. But, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, it’s about going against what’s commonly encouraged. Sometimes, faith is staying put. Right where you are. And other times it’s taking that leap. Throwing caution to the wind. Jumping without knowing what’s on the other side. Or where you’re going to land.
How Do We So Often Miss This?
As a follower of Jesus, I try to follow Him. Where He’s calling me. To do what He’s calling me to do. But, it isn’t always clear. So, as I’ll often do, I seek Him. And get counsel from other Christians. Here’s what usually happens. Most people feel obligated to give me their opinion. Most don’t ask me, “What is Jesus telling you Wells?” And the majority of the time, I’m encouraged to do the “sensible” thing. To follow the crowd. To adhere to a more worldly perspective.
Why is this? Why are we always giving safe, status-quo, “smart,” counsel to others? Jesus surely didn’t call us to a life of safety. A life that makes sense to the world. As followers of Jesus, we all have to ask ourselves, “Does my life reflect a faith that trusts in the Creator who flung the stars in the sky?“… “Does my life reflect a trust in the One who gives us our every breathe?”
Sadly, mine often doesn’t!
Walk By Faith.
“Play it safe” … “Don’t take risks“… “You better be saving and planning for retirement“… “Make sure you always have a back up plan“… “Be careful with sharing Jesus to your coworkers!“… “Make sure you put your kids in a “safe” reputable school!” … “Better not live in that neighborhood!“… “Don’t cause trouble. Just try to fit in!” But, maybe our faith should get us into trouble? I think it should! Because Jesus didn’t come to make us safe. He didn’t come to give us cushy lives! He came to make us dangerous.
The advice in and of itself isn’t bad. It’s great to watch out for our kids safety. And hope that our kids get in great schools. Saving is awesome! But, sometimes, Jesus has other plans for our lives. Plans calling us to step out in faith, to…
- Move and live in an under-served community.
- Put our kids in the local public school in that under-served community.
- Give when we can’t, trusting that He’ll provide.
- Leave our current job without knowing what’s next.
- Accept the lower paying job.
- Move halfway across the world to share the Good News of Jesus.
- Talk to the homeless man on the corner.
- Associate with the drunk, prostitute, Muslim or outcast.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we Walk by FAITH, not by sight.”
What Will You Choose?
Don’t let the wisdom or guidance of others deter you from what Jesus is calling you to do. Listen to His voice! His Word. Above all others! Even your parents. Your best friends. Pastor. Mentor. Or spouse.
Yes, of course, Jesus uses others to speak into our lives. But, He also speaks directly to us.
I’m NOT advocating for the lone wolf Christian mentality. I’m advocating that we live a bold and courageous life of FAITH! That we live a life that reflects our King!
So… will you choose to live by faith? Or will you choose to listen to all the other ‘voices’ competing for our allegiance?
We must choose FAITH! At the end of our lives, we’ll be thankful we did!
Be bold. Be brave. Keep the FAITH!