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JR. Forasteros - Oct 6, 2013
From Series: "BOLD"
Let's face it: following Jesus in 21st Century America is pretty easy. Choosing to be a faithful picture of God for our friends, families and coworkers doesn't cost us much. But we have brothers and sisters all over the globe who have given up everything for Jesus - their homes, their families, even their lives. What can we learn from their bold faith? How can their stories inspire us to follow Jesus more faithfully? Join us in October and November as we ask, What's keeping me from a BOLD life?
More From "BOLD"
Watch this video of Pi Chui’s story.
Faith is a tricky thing for us. We tend to treat faith as a results-oriented process. When we’re at our best, we’ll trust pretty naturally. That goes for people, and for God. We’ll give ‘em a chance.
And if everything goes well, if our faith is rewarded, so to speak, then we continue to have faith. But if we’re let down, if things don’t work out the way we’d hoped or expected, we put up walls. We back off from faith. In the quite places in our souls, we question God’s goodness, wonder if faith in God is actually a wise life-choice.
We have a saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
We mean: If you take advantage of my good faith, that’s on you. But if you wound me, and I keep trusting you, even after you’ve proven yourself unfaithful, then that’s on me. It’s not wise to be faithful in the face of faithlessness.
At its core, this is Results-Oriented Faith. It means our faith is justified by the outcome. The Ends justify the Means. IF I step out in faith and God shows up, then my faith is justified. But if God leaves me hanging, doesn’t deliver what I expect, then faith isn’t justified. It’s foolish.
This sort of faith is defined by its outcome. We can’t tell whether faith is good or not, wise or not, until after it’s all said and done.
This isn’t the sort of Faith we find in the Scriptures. It’s not the sort of faith we find in stories like Pi Chui’s.
Most scholars think this book we call Hebrews was actually a sermon written in the first few decades after Jesus’ resurrection. It was preached to a group of new Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. They were losing jobs, friends and credibility because they’d left their old ways of life to follow Jesus.
And now some of them, under the pressure of that persecution, were slipping back into old habits, back into their old lives. So this sermon is all about encouraging them to stay strong, to be bold in their faith. And here in chapter 11, the preacher specifically addresses faith:
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. — Hebrews 11:1
I love this definition of faith. It’s one of my favorite passages in all of scripture: Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. By definition, we can’t hope for things we already have. We only hope for what’s ahead, in the future. Do you see how different this is from the Results-Oriented Faith? [definitely a timeline] Whereas our typical definition of faith waits for the results to judge, the Scriptures challenge us to a faith in God that says, I’m so confident that I’m going to live as though God’s promises are true before I see the results.