So, though I haven't been posting, I have been learning. Contrary to some of my other non-writing seasons, I am still learning. Actually, God has really been working on my heart when it comes to faith. I've never really thought lots and lots about faith. Well, I mean, I have but not like seriously dwelled on it until this year. And now, it just seems like God is saying, "Faith, Ashley! FAITH! Hey, don't forget about faith!" I'm left saying, "Okay, faith....got it! Why is this so important?" I'm a little ashamed. These almost feel like baby questions to ask. I shoulda been thinking about this one a long time ago. But, honestly, I'm glad it's happening now. The situations and circumstances in my life right now are being handled better because I'm learning daily about faith.
Before, I thought that faith was this like awesome gift that only certain, really daring, super awesome and conservative (sorry about the stereotype) Christians had. For some reason, I had this pre-conceived idea that faith was typical of "radical" Christians who knew their family history, had flowing beards, and spoke in tongues all the time. But God has been showing me that that idea is completely, one hundred percent incorrect. Hey, I guess I don't know everything?!
Okay, web search of faith's definition....Aha! "complete trust or confidence in something."
Well, according to that definition, I have to have faith everyday in little and large things. I have faith that the tires on my car won't randomly fly off when I'm driving. I have faith that I won't get shot by raving fans at Chick-fil-A. I have faith that I'm not going to die from post-surgery infection. I know we've all heard the chair example, but it's worth repeating. The chair that I'm sitting in right now. It looked pretty sturdy and I have faith that it will hold me up. But, if I were to look at the chair and say, "I have faith that chair would hold me." But then, I refuse to sit in it because I don't trust it....could we call the latter example faith?
See, this is where I think Christians just don't get it. This is where Christians miss the mark. They say, "We serve a big God and He can do whatever He wants, anytime He wants; He holds the whole wolrd in His hands. Nothing is too big for Him." Well, that's all fine and good. Say that all day long! But, until you actually ACT like you think God holds the world in His hands, how can we assume you actually have faith? How can you claim to trust, but not act on it? I trust my mother to care for me. I have faith that she won't harm me. If I didn't, I might sleep with my door locked. If I didn't trust her to keep my secrets, I wouldn't tell them to her.
See, we say we believe, that we have faith but we aren't ACTING like it. People of faith expect God to do big things. People of faith don't wait until "conditions improve" to do what God has called them to do. People of faith don't shrink away from opportunity. People of faith don't set up a church and wait for lost souls to find them. People of faith SEEK lost souls. They pray constantly. They get excited about miracles. They see God's hand even when they don't see a light at the end of the tunnel. (See the book "In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day" by Mark Batternson for some more in-depth explanation of these ideas. Really, the book inspired this post.)
See where this is going? PEOPLE OF FAITH ACT ON GOD'S PROMISES. They understand what God has said and lives their lives accordingly. Friends, if you read and listen to the Word of God, it will change your life. If you listen, you will be charged with faith. For knowing more about God, more about His will, and His heart will sufficiently prepare you to do great things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The bigger our understand about God, the smaller and more insignificant our understanding of the world.
Hebrews 11. The faith chapter. We've all heard it. I was tempted to use the first verse, but everyone has heard it a thousand times. Sometimes, we forget to look at the whole chapter in its entirety, so the last verses get forgotten. Please read this...don't skip like I do sometimes. Read it! Paul just got done listing all these Bible people who accomplished great things through faith. He continues...
"And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.GUYS! Did you catch that list of stuff they did in the first paragraph? Stopping lions, quenching fire, escapes, battles, strength, dead to life...
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us."
My dream. Right here. If Paul were to be writing this book 10 years from now, what would he write about our Christianity? Would it be, "By faith...Ashley...?"
Would he write:
"And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Susan and Kevin and Jennifer and Corey, also of Zach and Patricia and the church: who through faith furthered the Kingdom, were persecuted for Christ's name, switched careers, changed the course of history, prayed with fervency, brought the Word to tribes, constructed churches, were father to the fatherless, gave to the poor, fought for souls, loved the unlovable, denied themselves, took chances, and did the unexpected?"
What would he write about us? What type of reputation are we making for ourselves? Is it one of faith? Or are we waiting on forever? Why are we living life not expecting the Lord to do much with our lives? We serve a God where "much" doesn't exist. He is so infinite that all is equal to Him (Batterson, 31).
And yes, if we live our lives in faith, we might be torn to pieces, stoned, crucified up-side-down, and sawn in half. But to a person with faith, what is fear?