Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Faith does not equal believe

If you are a Bible reader, and, you are wondering why Jesus seemed to think we could live miraculous lives as he lived. The way Jesus spoke and lived, made walking on water seem like nothing. Just have faith and do not doubt! If you are like me and you are scratching your heard, thinking, something doesn’t add up, then this book is for you. In our language we like to use the word “faith” all over the place. “I have faith in you,” says the mother as she tries to encourage her son to walk boldly into whatever it is he fears. “Don’t you have faith in me?” says the husband to the hesitant wife, as he prepares to travel for work again. “Just have faith!” is what we say when we want someone to believe for the best. We use the word faith to describe the religion that we choose to believe. When Jesus uses the word that we translate into faith, I thought he meant simply to believe. He seems to be telling us that we could have the ability to live beyond the physical boundaries of this world--to see and understand a different dimension—to step into belief that Jesus himself has come to live in us and be a part of our being. That we have been given His Name, his identity. I grew up with a sort of blurry concept of the word, ‘faith’. What did Jesus mean, when he said “faith”? in Luke 17:6 “The Lord answered, "If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,' and it would obey you!” Has anyone out there seen any trees obeying your command? Jesus life seems more like a fantasy fiction novel than a reality. Many that use the word, “faith,” are simply meaning believe. (i.e. “I put my faith in Jesus) I don’t think the majority of us who claim Christ as Lord understand what it means to live like Jesus really is Lord, our King or our boss—with complete faith. I found the word ‘faith’ and the word ‘covenant’ sometimes overlap in the different translation of the Scriptures to English. Broadening our understand of faith from simply meaning ‘believe’, to an essential part of a committed relationship. Try using the word faith, as the most integral part of a covenant, or contract. We must have faith to have a covenant. We must have a covenant to have faith. My favorite example of this is drawn from a Seinfeld episode, when George hits a pigeon on the road with his girlfriend in the car. She warns him, “George, watch out for those pigeons.” And George confidently replies, “Oh, they will get out of the way,” right before he plows into the pigeons, feathers flying everywhere. As George is explain to Seinfeild later, how crazy the girlfriend is for thinking he is horrible. George exclaims, “It’s not my fault! Don’t we have a deal with the pigeons?” Seinfeld says, “Right! They get out of the way of our car, and we look the other way when they defecate on the statues.” George has faith in the social deal that humans have with the birds. He had so much faith, that he didn’t even slow the car down. Birds are supposed to get out of the way! When we have any contract, legal or not, we have a general assumption of good faith, expecting both sides to keep up with their part. A conversation recorded in Matthew 17:20-21, when the disciples couldn’t heal a young man, "You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." And again, in Mathew 21:18-22 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. 20The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” 21Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” Let us also inspect other uses of the word, faith. Faithfulness! I can’t say that when I go to prayer in faith, believing that God would do as he said he would do (whatever I ask in Jesus name), that I even considered my part in the equation, my faithfulness to the covenant. Conversely, a lack of faith would be unfaithfulness. Let me be clear! Our salvation if free, Jesus said as much, but did he say following him would be free and easy? No! He said the opposite. He said it would be hard, that people would hate us. Are we living in a faithful committed relationship with God?

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