but my righteous one will live by faith,
and my whole being won’t be pleased with anyone who shrinks back.
But we aren’t the sort of people who timidly draw back and end up being destroyed. We’re the sort of people who have faith so that our whole beings are preserved. Hebrews 10:38-39 (CEB)
The other day, I read a powerful editorial written by women’s leader Beth Moore regarding the upcoming Presidential election. The title of the piece was “The Scandal of Election 2016”. If you have five or ten minutes, read it. It is a convicting condemnation on the state of our faith as American Jesus followers, as well as a persuasive call to come back to our faith in the God of Salvation and Resurrection.
Moore states that we, as Christians, have “misplaced our faith.” She goes on to write that:
“We have become not only like the world but like the world at its social-worst: lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive…ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)”
As Christians, we have stopped following Jesus and, instead, have followed the world. Somewhere along the line, we’ve lost our faith. We’ve forgotten that God is the creator of the world, Alpha and Omega, the one who reigns victorious over death. We have allowed the world to strip us of our faith and have replaced that faith with anger, fear, absolutism and cynicism.
I don’t know about you, but I am in real need of a faith-check. If I’m being honest, on a scale of one to ten my faith level is probably hovering between a three and four. You have no idea how much it pains me to put that in writing, but it’s true. I have allowed my knowledge of the world to chip away at my faith in God.
In the crushing weight of the world’s problems, faith seems childishly naive, perhaps even unintelligent. How can faith restore the lives of the people of Haiti? How can faith heal the racism in our country? How can faith bring peace to an increasingly destructive world?
Well, my friends, that’s up to us. You see, when Jesus commissioned the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20 CEB) he was calling them to be his hands and feet.
Jesus modeled the work he intended the disciples to do. He went into poor communities and fed the hungry. He sat with people who were unwelcome in the church and offered them God’s love and compassion. He took time to teach those society deemed unworthy of an education–women, children and menial laborers. He touched those who were sick and unclean and healed them.
In short, Jesus served others.
The Great Commission is not a thing of the past. Jesus didn’t intend for his work to die with the eleven disciples standing on a Galilean hillside. Rather, the disciples were to go out and commission others to continue Jesus’ work. As followers of Jesus, that is our commission, too.
Instead of shrinking back from faith, we are called to embrace it. Regardless of how we “feel”, what people think of us or whether or not we can quantify our efforts, our job is to go out and serve others in the name of Jesus.
The author of Hebrews goes on to write that faith “is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.” By faith the men and women of God “conquered kingdoms, brought about justice, realized promises, shut the mouths of lions, put out raging fires, escaped from the edge of the sword, found strength in weakness, were mighty in war, and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead by resurrection.”(Hebrews 11:33-35 CEB)
It seems to me that if I want my faith to be a ten, then I need to stop focusing on everything that is wrong with the world and get myself to where Jesus is working. I need to take stock of those gifts and abilities God has placed within me and find ways to use them for the benefit of others.
The truth is, the more we step out in faith, the more our faith will grow. Faith leads to faith.
This week, do a faith check within yourself. Where do you stand right now in your belief? Are you overwhelmed by the world? Are you angry, stressed, or fearful? Do you find that you are cynical of belief? Does it seem like God has abandoned us?
Look again. Step away from your anger, your fear, your worry or even your cynicism. Take a step toward Jesus by reaching outside of yourself to do one thing that brings light, love or peace to someone else. Then, check your faith again. Is it growing?
Blessings and Peace,