from Don: “Here’s one that is not exactly biographical…
I was laying in bed thinking about a Bible study I was part of today…when it all came to me in a flash. I had to get up and jot some notes. Then I laid back down and was almost asleep when a brief hailstorm hit…and then I was just laying there in bed … laying there in bed … might just as well get up and type it.“
As a believer I have always had the nagging feeling that I was doing faith wrong. Of course, if you knew this person who has a life-long burden of guilt for everything, you would expect me to say that.
I have so much “guilt” that when someone I know dies … I sometimes feel better … since there is one less person to remember what I did or said, you know?
Recently I found that my nagging feeling about FAITH was essentially correct, but not for the expected reasons. Rather, my shortcomings on this topic were NOT my fault (sigh of relief!)
Faith has been presented as “easy,” almost uneventful. “Open the door to your heart,” one presenter intones. How stressful is that? I open doors every day. It is a nothing (not that I have any skill for building or installing doors).
Another says, “Pray this little prayer, telling Jesus you are sorry…” Well! … That’s easy, ‘cause I really am sorry … for almost everything! Again, easy-peasy.
Then I began reading the New Testament with this question: “What is faith?” Instantly I saw what had been missing. Ephesians 4:28 speaks about those who were thieves before they came to Christ. The writer tells them to “steal no more.” There is no asterisk (“* unless your family is starving,” for instance.) They are told to live a life they were not living before. Instead of stealing they are to work with their own hands AND find ways to give away some of their earned resources to those who have less.
In Acts 6:8 we begin reading about Stephen who is full of faith. He is so full of faith in Jesus that he did “great wonders and miracles among the people.” Then he was brought before a hostile counsel where he was falsely accused. Instead of being quiet about his faith he spoke forcefully about it. Enraged, they stoned him to death. His faith was seriously important to him … more important than life itself.
In Matthew 4:18-20 Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to “Follow Me.” They owned a fishing business. They did not even stow their nets, but “straightway left their nets, and followed him.” Jesus had the authority to demand instant obedience, and they obeyed without question.
Faith isn’t easy or uneventful. Faith is about BECOMING and DOING what you weren’t BECOMING or DOING before when you were in charge of your own life. It is a total change … and Jesus is in total control. Faith is presenting yourself (including your guilt, or thievery, or whatever) to Jesus the Savior and giving him ownership of you. Faith is more important than your life because it replaces your life with a better one with a better future. It is trusting that the way of Jesus is the RIGHT way and the BEST way and … the ONLY way. Any other way is merely your own way.