Faith has to be connected to something – an object. Every human being operates by faith everyday; I may believe intellectually that a chair will hold me, but I faithe in the chair when I sit.
Faith is based on the nearest thing to a certainty. Then we leap. “Most chairs have held me. Therefore this one will.” We don’t yet know this one will hold us, not until we sit on it. But we leap. Such faith we don’t even have to think about, because it becomes a spontaneous, subconscious assumption. We learn this faith in many areas as children if we grow up in a safe and loving environment. If not, we end up assailed by many fears, insecurities, a sense of inadequacy.
God in Christ gives us an anchor for faith, a chair that will never break, a foundation that will never crumble. That is why “The people of God shall be strong and do exploits.” That gives us the ability to step out in faith in everyday situations and do the impossible and unexpected.
Unfortunately most of us don’t live in that kind of Christ-reliance in all areas of our lives, myself included. But that’s really what the life of being progressively conformed to Christ’s image is all about. Faith is a growing thing. We get good at it by doing it.
This is one reason we can’t judge by a person’s behavior. We have no idea how they grew up. We have no concept of their fears, the terror, the lies that have penetrated their soul. We cannot know what strong faith they may already possess because we are likely unaware of what they’ve already overcome.
When renovating a house, furniture is taken out, carpeting is torn up, walls are broken down, entire rooms demolished. We look at one of God’s human houses and say, “What a mess this guy is. He needs to read more, pray more, give more. He needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit. If he was, he wouldn’t look like such a mess.” In other words, “He needs to have it all together, like me.” By judging we prescribe our own medicine – Law, self-effort, and works – rather than trusting in God’s working in and on the man, and speaking encouraging truth in love. We miss the fact that God is doing major surgery through the man’s troubles, struggles, and even his sins (this is not to blame God for sin, but that He uses everything in a believer’s life for His own love-purposes).
But God works on a man how He chooses, and doesn’t really give a rip what people think about it.
What he is looking for is for us step out in faith in what He says in the Word.
Here’s what he says about the Christ-indwelt person:
“You are holy.” What does it look like to put our full weight in that chair?
“You are loved.” How does that show in our attitude when we stand on that Rock?
“If any man is in Christ, he is (not ‘will be’) a new creation.” What does it look like to be a totally new person, I mean, if we really believed it? Would it show, like our faith in a chair results in the chair holding us?
We can’t flip-flop this and “try to behave” without first replacing our unbelief. I can beat on my vacuum cleaner all day to get it to behave according to the manufacturer’s specs, but it’s not going to happen until I plug it in and turn it on.
Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he’s not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin’ on audiences around the world, he’s taking care of his donkey named “Trash” and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.