Come Join the Adventure!
There is much talk in Christian circles today on this subject of Faith; but what exactly is Faith?
It must be important because in Hebrews 11:6 we are told that without it, without Faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE for any of us to please God.
Faith is not JUST positive thinking; however I do believe that being positive is a part of what faith is, or rather it is one of benefits of living in faith.
However positive thinking by itself is just believing in yourself; and there are even churches that teach “Positive Thinking,” as though it were the same as faith; and if I’m not mistaken I believe the term “Positive Thinking” even gained its popularity from a book written by a minister, called the Power of Positive Thinking; but I repeat the fact that one is a positive thinker does not necessarily mean that he or she is a person of “Faith.”
I won’t argue with you, because there is lots of evidence to show that people who follow this teaching in life, for at least some of them anyway, it has paid off for them, as they are very successful, as the world counts success; and truly where I live, here in Southern California, there are many such examples
By success I mean they have made a lot of money and have gained many material things as a result of their worldly success; but again that by itself is NOT what faith is.
Certainly being positive in life is a part of what faith is, but there is so much more to having true faith, than what most have acknowledged, even those in the church.
Maybe some of you have seen this bumper sticker before, “He Who Dies with The Most Toys Wins,” and certainly there are many who live their life this way, as though having earned lots of money and owning lots of things is the end all and be all of life, as if having lots of things is all there is.
However the truth be told, and really it is only those few who have actually gotten a hold of that golden carrot of success in life who can tell you this, and while all the rest of the world is still reaching for it, it is only those who have actually attained it who can tell you, if they will be honest (and I know because I have heard this many times) that in the end, just having lots of things and money is not very fulfilling at all. Those few who have made it will tell you that they are still looking for that something out there that will truly satisfy them and fulfill their life.
Some are thinking that maybe it will be that next “Carrot” that they are reaching for, be it another business, another company to own, and another few million dollars in the bank, maybe that will do it?.
Now I have to say this too, because we all have problems in life, the rich and the poor alike, and there are certainly some things that having lots of money can minimize the impact of those problems; and to be honest, I have to say that I’d rather have the money, then not, because being broke is no fun either, and that condition comes with lots of other problems that most of us would rather not have.
On the other hand, money by itself will not buy back your health, once you’ve lost it; and it wouldn’t make up for the lost of a loved one who has died, possibly a spouse or child (which I can only imagine has to be the worst). I think most of the world would even agree with me about that.,
I can also say that when it’s all over and done with, and when you are lying on your deathbed, it’s definitely NOT the material things of life that you are thinking of at that point.
You are not thinking “if only I had made more money or had gain more toys in my life.”
Definitely NO, not at all, and that’s where the rubber meets the road for all of us eventually.
Listen to what God tells us in His Word about that one who has lived his or her life this way, as described on that bumper sticker:
16 Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’
18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘
20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
The fact is, as we are told in the Bible, that it is appointed to every man once to die, and then to face the judgment of God (see Hebrews 9:27), where EVERY person will have to stand one day and give an account of their life, and the Bible says that it is ONLY those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ who will be spared what the Bible calls the “White Throne Judgment” (Revelation 20:11-15).
For these people who have accepted Jesus propitious work on Calvary, and have done so by faith, who have also made Him Lord and Savior of their life, the Bible says that they will stand before the “Throne of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10), where the Bible says they will receive rewards for the service they have offered God and to others in their life.
Well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that it is better to be in this latter group, than to be in the first!
For those who have chosen NOT to live their lives for Christ, those who have either ignored or rejected His message of Salvation and Reconciliation, they will face this White Throne Judgment alone and by themselves, with no one to intercede for them.
This is where “being rich towards God” pays off in spades, because unless you have God’s forgiveness in your life, having accepted His awesome gift of grace (which is unmerited favor) that God has given you through faith in His only begotten Son, who is Jesus the Christ (Messiah), then you will go out into eternity lost forever, having rejected your only Salvation.
God will not force upon you in eternity what you have rejected or have ignored all of your life; and if you have either rejected or have ignored God’s plan for reconciliation back into His family, by having rejected the Gospel’s message, then it will be your decision to face eternity on your own, without benefit of a Saviour.
For many people it is only at the end of their life that they finally realize what the truly important things are, when they are lying on their deathbed, after having spent their entire life chasing after that golden carrot, and the truth is most will never even get it, not even close; but when they find themselves now facing eternity, this is when they finally realize that certain opportunities are lost and are now gone forever; things like having more time to spend with loved ones, and with their children; or being a better husband or wife, father or mother; and having spent their life investing themselves in others; and living it for God… these are the things that in the end are important.
So then, getting back to my original question, what exactly is FAITH and how does it differ from just belief?
Somebody sent me this story today that got me thinking along these lines, and I think I’ll pass it along; because I think it describes what the difference is between Faith and Belief perfectly.
Believing and depending are not the same thing:
Years ago there was a very famous tight rope walker named Blondin. He would often amaze people by walking on a wire over incredible heights.
On one of these occasions, he was performing his act over Niagara Falls. A huge crowd was watching as Blondin moved confidently out over the churning waterfall and back. Turning to his onlookers, Blondin asked, “Who thinks I can push a wheel barrel across this wire?”
They all shouted, “Yes, we believe you can!”. And so he did. On returning, he asked again, “Do you believe I can push a man across in this wheel barrel?”
Again the crowd shouted in great confidence, “Yes!”
Then Blondin said, “Which one of you will get in?”
That is the difference between believing and depending. It was easy for the people to say, “We believe you can do it!” But it’s quite another thing to climb into the wheel barrel and depend on him to do it.
Where are you, in your Faith today; or is what you are calling FAITH only belief?
Are you in the crowd shouting, “God can do it?” Or are you in the wheel barrel praying, “God, I’m depending on You.”
The depending prayer and our absolute reliance on God can and often is very scary, but it’s also the most rewarding way to live.
Let’s all hop in God’s wheel barrow, and live the adventure!
How can you tell if you are just believing in prayer, or really depending on prayer?
Consider these questions as someone who is in God’s wheel barrow.
- Do I feel vulnerable? Being in a wheel barrow on a tight rope is a scary deal, even if God is the one who’s pushing.
- Do I have an alternative? Once you are out on the wire, there is no other way, you don’t have a plan “B”.
- Am I willing to accept whatever answer God gives me? – A wheel barrow passenger has no rights, he does whatever the driver says.
- Am I carefully listening for His answer, or instructions? – You bet you are! Your life depends on hearing anything He says.
- Am I tuning out all other distractions so I can focus on Him? Absolutely, the roaring water, the cheering crowd, all fade away as you train your ear on the Master’s voice.
- Do I have hope that God can make a way? Of, course! You would never get into the wheel barrow unless you had faith that He could get you across.
The dictionary description for “depend” is, “To rely, to place trust or confidence.”
King David, in the Old Testament, was someone who fits this description. Over and over again he relied on, “the God of heaven” while facing hopeless difficulties.
As a young boy he had to confront a lion and bear to protect his sheep. Each of these struggles prepared him for greater challenges.
He was offered armor by Saul and he refused it and decided rather to believe in God and take Him at His word. His faith and his commitment (his dependency) was only in God, that God cause him to defeat his enemy. If not certainly David would have been dead!
David took a stand and he depended on God to be true to His word and He was.
David killed Goliath with one stone and he had 5 more in the bag to kill Goliath’s brothers if they showed up.
Dependency on God’s promises guarantees results in our favor every time.
And in the end this is what really matters: