How battle tested is your faith? You say you have faith, but is it experiential or merely emotional? Has what you proclaim about your faith come under the fire of real life circumstances? To be a fisher of men means you actually have to go fishing. A self-proclaimed fisherman can buy the best bass boat and equip it with the latest gear and equipment. However, if he never puts the boat in the water and never casts a line, then can he be called a fisherman?
Let yourself cast the gospel line of Jesus Christ to gather men unto Him, and let’s see how strong your faith is. With the holiday season quickly approaching, the chance to witness to unsaved family members is ripe with prospect. However, it is wrought with the potential for ridicule and rejection. Oh David, do we have to ruin Christmas with all that Jesus stuff?
When I’m being beaten down, will my faith be real or will it prove to be mere words? When calamity strikes my life, will my faith carry the day and allow me to see God work, or will my flesh take over and grab the wheel? The shortest verse in the Bible is found in John 11:35; “Jesus wept.” However, one of the most penetrating verses in the New Testament comes just five verses later:
“Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’” (John 11:40)
Martha has just informed Jesus that her brother Lazarus’ body had probably already started decomposing because he’d been dead four days. Apparently in Martha’s mind, this obvious fact had escaped Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t rebuke her for trying to remind Him of the obvious. Jesus reminds Martha of what He had taught all of them about faith. They were not to have faith in their faith. They were to have faith in God. Remember well the lesson of the withered fig tree:
“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’ So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’” (Mark 11:20-24)
No doubt Martha and the rest of Lazarus’ family and friends prayed for a miracle. When they saw Jesus, I wonder if any of them thought, the Messiah can bring Lazarus back to life? Or had they like Martha succumbed to the belief that Jesus was too late? Imagine our Lord’s delight had just one of His disciples said, “The Lord will raise Lazarus from the dead.” Now that type of faith does not guarantee results, at least not in the way the peddlers of Christ would have you believe. However, this type of faith brings one into a real relationship with the Lord in ways only faith can produce. Oswald Chambers explains:
Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture heroically on Jesus Christ’s statements when the facts of your common-sense life shout – “It’s a lie?” Every time my program of belief is clear to my own mind, I come across something that contradicts it. Let me say I believe God will supply all my need, and then let me run dry, with no outlook, and see whether I will go through the trial of faith, or whether I will sink back to something lower.
Biblical faith is not an emotion, however for too many Christians that is exactly upon which they base their faith. They feel faithful and they feel as though their faith is strong, but suddenly calamity strikes and you discover your faith is a house of cards. Learn well again the Biblical definition of faith:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
We almost always get the first part of that definition just fine. It is the second part where we fall apart because we see with earthly eyes. “The evidence of things not seen” is a contradiction that violates our common sense. But if you take a moment to analyze this, if you have all the evidence for the things that you hope for, then do you actually have faith?
The answer to that question is hopefully obvious to all.
We can choose to live the defeated life of a phony faith or we can set out on a heroic venture of faith in God.
Dear Jesus, let it begin with me.
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers