I often sit and wonder if we have become a people that no longer experience faith. Let me clarify. Today, when we think about faith, we often think about it as a system of religion and what we believe. For example, my 'faith' is rooted in Christianity. When we see someone growing in religious knowledge was say, 'They are growing in their faith.' I myself have sat down with students and asked questions like, 'What does your faith look like?' implying that there is a way that 'faithful living' looks when it's properly lived out.
I'm not saying any of these avenues are wrong, but I do think they redefine faith a bit.
This past Sunday, we started a new series at our church. We have committed to reading through the book of Genesis, going chapter by chapter, and sometimes verse by verse, investigating God's story from the beginning. We have come to the point in His story where we make the shift from how God uses events to tell His story, to using people to tell His story. So, this weekend, in Genesis 11, we met Abram, later named Abraham, by God.
Abraham is one of the greatest of men to have walked the earth. Called by God, into an eternal promise, Abraham is an example of what it looks like to live in faith. We learn this by reading Hebrews 11, the Hall of Fame of Faith. In just a few verses we see specific events in Abraham's life where he must move forward in total faith. You might say it's 'crazy' faith. God repeatedly put Abraham in situations that I think push against logic and sensible thinking. To get up and move to an unknown place, not knowing where we are going? To be promised to become a nation, much less to have a son when your wife is old and barren? To when you finally have the son, you're asked to sacrifice him? These are not the ways of normal thinking. Reality and logic would argue greatly against these requests.
And yet, Abraham proves, over and over again that sometimes, faith makes you do some crazy things.
So, do we live by faith? Think about it. In our time of knowledge and understanding, when the goal in life is to obtain an education, secure a reliable job, buy a nice house, diversify your portfolio, save for the rainy day, and enjoy the end of days in retirement, have we lost what it looks like to live by faith? With the push to be self aware, self reliable, and self sustaining, have we forgotten that are greater need of self is actually to be dependent on the Creator?
For instance, Abraham, as we will see this week in Genesis chapter 12, is asked to leave what he knows and take his family to place he didn't know. On top of that, he had no idea where he was going! But he went. He packed up the family, and the went.
If God said to us, "Pack up your family, get in the mini-van and start driving and I'll let you know when to stop." Would you do it?" Chances are we wouldn't. And if we did, we would first analyze, argue, research, ask a half a dozen friends for their thoughts, try to map it all out, build lists of things we needed to do before we left... No Abraham just went.
You see, I'm not sure we know what it really looks like to live by faith anymore. To really hear the word of God and respond in complete obedience. And yet we say things like, 'Step out and faith...' or 'Take a leap of faith...' but do we really mean it?
The reality is, we've become a little to comfortable with how we're living life now. On most days we are secure knowing that we have jobs, we have a home, we have food in the fridge, and as long as everything is good, we're okay living our current lives of faith. But to begin a conversation about walking away from it all...well that's just crazy.
When I think about the church in the book of Acts, I see a group of men and women, so in love with Jesus and what He did for them, that they do anything the can, give up everything they can all to live and love the way Jesus did. And for those who tried to fake it, those who tried to live by faith while tried to keep on foot in the security of the world, well they died. It was CRAZY!
If God said to us, "Pack up your family, get in the mini-van and start driving and I'll let you know when to stop." Would you do it?"
But that is what I think faith is; it's doing the crazy things that we're sometimes asked to do.
I admire and respect my friends the Fowlers. Just a couple of years ago, God called them to move their family to Panama to disciple new believers. With 3 young boys, the call would take the entire family away from all they knew; family, friends, comforts, and the security of the familiar. Crazy. Today, they are serving in Panama.
You see, faith is doing the crazy.
What would it look like if we lived our lives in faith? Not our version of faith, but the kind of faith we see in the Bible. Faith that moved people. Faith that changed people. Faith that caused the church to do really crazy things. Faith that brought us to a dependency on God. Faith that led us to the crazy so we could see God do some amazing things. Whether it's in our churches or our student ministries or just in our own commitments with God,what would it look like to live a crazy faith?