Is there a difference between “American” faith and “Biblical” faith? Our society tends to Americanize everything – to the point that what we preach is only relevant to Americans.
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.” Hebrews 11:1, NLT. “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” Hebrews 11:1-2, The Message.
Faith is “used” for a variety reasons these days. Ultimately, our faith is to please God and is not a tool to be used for ourselves or to bring attention to ourselves. Hebrews 11:6 states, “It is impossible to please God without faith.” Each one of us has been given a measure of faith…
Living a life of purpose unto God is never about ourselves. Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life starts off with this sentence, “It’s not about you.” This life we live by faith does not have me and you as the central focus. It has always been and always will be about God… The author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
I keep a piece of paper with this quote on it in one of my Bible’s. I don’t recall where I heard it but it was meaningful to me at the time. “Faith does not get you around trouble… it gets you through it…”
A crucified life is a faith-filled life. A life of sacrifice. I life of giving of yourself so that others may live. It’s carrying the mark of being a follower of Jesus. Again, Galatians 2:20 rings loudly, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(NJKV).
I’ve always thought – as a body of believers – we have put too much attention on the blessings that come from following Christ over the cost -thus making the blessings our central focus and not Christ. (I guess that sells more books…).
I know several men right now who are in the midst of a storm. They are each in a dangerous place right now in following God. They are at places where strong and deep decisions are being made. It’s not a fun place to be… yet exciting. I have walked that road and there is no doubt that I will return. One of the men I know made this statement the other day, “It’s better to go with God in the storm than to be without him in the calm.” Erwin McManus writes, “If the safest place to be is in the center of the will of God, then why is the biblical word for witness actually the word for martyr?”
So this guy comes up to me – His face red like a rose on a thorn bush – like all the colors of a royal flush and he’s peeling off those dollar bills – slapping them down – 100, 200… and I can see those fighter planes – I can see those fighter planes – Across the mud huts where the children sleep, through the valleys and the quiet city streets – we take the staircase to the first floor – we turn the key and slowly unlock the door – A man breathes into a saxophone and through the walls we hear the city groan – Outside it’s America… outside it’s America…. I feel a long way from the hills of San Salvador where the sky is ripped open – the rain pouring through a gapping wound – pounding the women and children – pounding the women and children…. And run into the arms of America. Bono, “Bullet the Blue Sky” Live version from Rattle and Hum.
Too often we run for safety and too quickly remove ourselves from the difficult road we are walking. Too often we blind ourselves from the troubles of others and run from their troubled road to travel our “safe” paved roads.
Faith is not about what we receive but rather what we give away.