I’ve noticed lately that there is great focus placed on faith. Not that it’s become something popular lately, however I’ve noticed more the lack of understanding of what faith actually is and how it works, what’s the purpose of it and how important is it? I’d like to address the thoughts of the modern church concerning faith and then I’d like to address what faith actually is; as usual most of modern Christianity has positively no idea what faith actually is and how it should be used.
So let’s look at this word, Faith; What exactly is it? People equate faith as to something like standing in an elevator and having faith that it will pick you up and take you where you want it to go, that it’s something like the wind that you cannot see but you know that it’s there, Something that we just trust in for no apparent reason like a child who trusts in anything and everything because they simply don’t know any better. Now hold the pitchforks and think about what I’m saying before getting worked up. Trusting in God requires all of these elements, the trust that things are going to work out, the feeling with no explanation, the trust for no reason other than trusting; However faith itself is an extremely powerful weapon against our enemy when used effectively. Faith itself is trust. But the issue with trust is you can trust something only because you don’t know any better, or you can trust something because you’ve been to war with it and you know it’s capabilities and how to use it. Two very different mindsets. Unfortunately faith is often born from ignorance, and this is neither effective or fruitful for a Christian.
Consider this if you are married; do you trust your friends because you know from trials and troubles that they will be there for you or do you just assume that? Would you say that knowing they are trustworthy or assuming it is better? Have you ever trusted something and find out that it’s not trustworthy? Have you ever trusted in someone and find out later that they are not trustworthy? If I trust a step-ladder and about two steps up find out that it’s not trustworthy how stupid would I be for pulling that thing out and using it again next time I need something that’s out of reach? When we teach people and live our life in a sense that we can just ignorantly trust God to pull through for us we are setting ourselves and others up for failure. Not that God isn’t trustworthy, but sometimes God has no reason to follow through on something that you’ve cooked up for him. Prosperity preachers are a great example. Send me 70 dollars of seed money and have faith that God will see your offering and he will bless you richly! Except after the excitement wears off you’re $70 lighter and feel like God cheated you. Tell me how that is God being distrustful.
However let’s take the example of a marriage. I trust my wife, not because I should but because she’s been to battle with me. We’ve found ourselves at the wrong end of the stick and on our knees, together, repenting to God for our mistakes. We’ve found ourselves, together, digging out of the hole. We’ve found ourselves, together, depending on the other to pull us up and keep us on the path. That’s not a trust that’s come from an assumption, or from ignorance. It’s a trust that’s come from having to work together and knowing that no matter how bad it gets they’re not leaving me. Imagine then having that kind of faith in God.
I know many Christians who have been to war, have been in the trenches and know what it takes to defend their Christianity from attacks of the Devil and have no problem in sharing their battles, showing their scars and sharing their faith. I also know many professing Christians who have absolutely no idea that faith is a two-way street. Asking God to provide for the bills, buying a lottery ticket and full expecting the Lord to supply their financial needs. This is nothing short of, well, stupid. God has no reason to jump at our command and yet so many people will share that “Claim it and it’s yours!” trash that the modern church pushes across airwaves on a daily basis. Consider the new convert, coming sincerely to church for life guidance, being told to give 50 bucks to plant seeds and is sold a lie that the Lord will provide for them; Going home trusting in the Lord to provide at any moment and spends the whole evening checking the mail, their email and their bank account. Come bed time they are confused but still trusting, and when they wake up the next morning they fully believe that there will be a check with their name on it just waiting at the door. When the excitement fades and the reality hits they are left with the thought of “Well God can’t be trusted”. My friends, this is a lie that is destroying true spirituality and is bringing in this washed up, weak, junk Christianity that’s worth as much as the garbage on the corner.
True, real, substantial faith comes from learning to trust in God. This requires two things: Walking on expectations from God based on promises that are founded in scripture, not some well dressed, black-haired, 14 inch long smile of perfect white teeth; and from tribulation and trouble in our Christian walk. Think about it, we don’t know we can trust anything until we know that even in the bad times it’s dependable. Yes, Christian friend, this means that we should accept that fact that troubles and trials are part of the Christian walk. If you don’t have problems you probably have problems. Steel doesn’t become hard from laying in the bed, it has to go through the fire. Faith doesn’t come from the clock, it comes from the trial. Trust only comes after the opportunity for the thing I trust in has a chance to let me down.
My daughter will believe anything I say right now. I’ll admit that my mean streak hits more often than really it should. I’ll tell her to go get her shoes on and she’ll whine and cry and drag about before ever getting around to it, but if I say “Well we’ll see you later we’re going on to church” and start to walk out the door she’ll scream “STOP!!” and rush to throw her shoes on as quick as she can. However I know the day will come that I’ll say that and she’ll test me to see if I’m serious, and I of course will not just leave her at the house (Especially if it’s a church night parents, get your kids to church! Quit letting them make that decision for crying out loud!). She’ll see after that test that I was never going to leave her at the house. After that I’ll have to find some new cunning way to coax her into getting her shoes on and finding her jacket. Likewise, someday, we’ll have to trust that God is there for us and he has our back. This is not the completion of faith, rather the beginning.
Consider this, our entire salvation requires this faith, from the beginning. Romans 10:9 says:
-That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Seriously, we have to trust in God before we can even be saved, and we have no idea how to even do that. Remember, trust only comes after the trial. Don’t be surprised when unexpected bills show up. Don’t be surprised when stress comes in life. Don’t get mad that things aren’t easy, it’s part of being a Christian. It’s so foolish that you profess faith in Christ until the issues arise; and the opportunity to use that professed faith has come and the first thing you do is run out on it. That’s not God being un-trustworthy (that’s not a word but you get what I’m saying) rather it’s you breaking the trust that God placed in you. Stop being willfully ignorant and let God show himself to you over and over again. One of the last things that God said to his people before 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament can be found in Malachi in which he says “Prove me now”. He’s openly calling for people to put him to the test on HIS promises. He told them to restore the tithe and put him to the test and see if he wouldn’t provide abundantly. Guess what happened, nothing. Not because God broke his promise, but because his people didn’t restore his tithe. So they wondered in silence for 4 centuries until God fulfilled his promise (See how this is happening) he made long before that he would send his own Son to save the people from themselves. Don’t be a fool with your faith, rather take the Lord up on his promise to us; That we can follow his word, trust in him and if he’s promised it to us, he will provide it to us. Not before the trial, but after.
Remember, Trust only comes after the opportunity for that which I am placing my trust in, has the opportunity to let me down.
God bless; as always I’m willing to teach, talk and give freely of the ministry that the Lord has blessed me with. If you ever need help, guidance or simply someone to listen I’m here.