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August 14, 2017, 9:36 AM

Faith...


This is a tough one to nail down. Meaning: kindness was simple -- be kind. Goodness, the same -- be good. But faithfulness - have faith... In what? God, yes. But the question was asked in class yesterday (08/13) "What exactly does faith in God really look like?" 

For many, it means going to church. Period. Faithful in attendance. Surely God will notice how I've adjusted my schedule to meet his, right? 

For others it means including daily study and prayer on top of dutiful attendance. Surely God will notice how I approach him on a daily basis, right? 

I am NOT decrying attendance or daily habitual reflection in the Bible and prayer. Those are essential pieces to being a Christ-follower. But they are not displays of faith. They are displays of habit, scheduling, and a tenacious desire to please God by doing things he wants us to do. Those habits may even include such radical things like giving weekly, serving in a classroom or ministry, or finding service opportunities during the week that help the marginalized and destitute. While all are good things... none of them really require faith. They require scheduling, planning, sometimes elbow grease. 

Faith is a deeper, more foundational element that changes our character, not just our schedules. Reading your Bible every day, if done out of habit or a felt need to do something godly on a daily basis, may have little to no impact on your life other than familiarity with scripture. In the same vein, prayer can be rote, or habitually asking for help as opposed to asking for a deeper connection with God. 

When you have faith in something, it shapes your behaviors, decisions, and hopes. Not just a few minutes/hours a week. There is a tenacity to the faithful that circumstance, storm, or hardship cannot shake. Faith changes the way choices are made. Faith adjusts lifestyles. Faith moves the mountains, it does not just build an easier path around them. 

I recall a story a good college friend told me about his time in Papua New Guinea as a teenager. A mountain tribe was dying, desperate for supplies, relief, and the new found hope they discovered in Christ through scripture. No one could reach them based on the terrain. One person, during a tribal council discussing the need to relocate and abandon their location held for generations, brought up Matthew 17:20 and asked the leaders to pray for the mountain to move instead of the tribe. They did just that. One shovel-full at a time, they moved a mountain. Creating a landing strip for a small plane to reach them, the tribe connected with the world and with the Gospel. Because of faith. True story. 

What mountains have we been content walking around, or abandoning all together? 

Matthew 14: 14 - 21 

14 At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, 15“Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” 17Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well. 19Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”
20“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

2 Corinthians 5:7  For we live by faith, not by sight. 

 


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