Faith is still cool. I believe that.
Look around and you will see its remnants everywhere. See the way someone will honor a deceased loved one with their name and dates on their car or in a tattoo. Look at people’s tattoos. People don’t tattoo facts on their arms, but words and images they believe in. Watch the player give credit “to the man upstairs” pointing upward with his fingers before he steps on home plate. You may remember LL Cool J at the Grammy’s after reflecting on the death of Whitney Houston offering a prayer.
People still believe and belief is still cool. While the church has wrung its hands over the way people have assembled their beliefs like a visit to the salad bar, our culture has drifted away from the church as a place to nurture their faith. We can dissect the “why’s” about that another time, we should be encouraged that “belief” isn’t the problem when it comes to helping people find their way back to God. People want to believe and, understanding that people have a God-shaped hole inside of them that they are desperately looking to fill, we know that people can’t not believe. The real question is “what” do they believe?
I believe that when people pick up the plastic disposable Tupperware and approach the salad bar of life to assemble a faith, they are looking for two things that all of us are looking for:
1. Something secure they can hold onto when things are difficult and
2. Something greater than the culture that can give their life meaning.
For the Christian, faith touches both things and is:
“the rock on which we stand upon and the rock from which we take our next step”
It is both foundational, bigger than us, truer than us and at the same time, it is dynamic and is at work shaping our lives every day? How can this be? It is because our faith isn’t in a collection of words, but it is in a person who is alive and active. Just like any person you know, there are true things about that person that are true whether you want to believe it or not but also, they are dynamic and the way they act affect the way you act.
In Jesus, we have one that is always the same and there are true things that will always be true about Him. One of the apostles wrote this simple line towards the end of the New Testament that highlights the stability of these truths and our commitment to them:
“…I felt that I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once and for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)
This means that there are true things about God that have been handed down to us and that gives us something objective, strong and outside of ourselves that tethers us in the challenges of life and protects us from the winds of temptation and sentimentality that lead people without this to hit the spiritual salad bar. We do not need to assemble something for ourselves. Jesus has presented himself clear to us in Him we have a faith that can rest.
But also, we have a faith that is dynamic. Because faith goes both ways. Jesus entrusts his faith in us as we are central to his purpose for the world. “We are His workmanship, created for good works in Christ that he has prepared in advance for us to do.” His purpose of healing this world rests in us. He is very active in it, but we too should be active. Our faith not only grounds us on a rock, but it leads us to step from that stone to the next stepping stone. Faith calls us forward.
To be a Christian isn’t to subscribe to a certain set of beliefs and certain ethical convictions. To be a Christian is to follow, to follow someone who is alive and active and is at work in this world, in our lives, and in our relationships.
Our faith in Him is the rock on which we stand and the rock from which we step…forward.
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