So I call myself a person of faith. Christian faith, to be precise. I am a Jesus-follower. If you are reading this today, then it is likely that you also follow Jesus. Yet, do we hold the title of “person of faith” legitimately? We know that we were saved by faith but, beyond that, do we actually live by faith? Do I commit to things that stretch me out of myself and into a complete reliance upon a God who rarely supplies details about all that He ordains for me? Some who would easily assume (and declare to others) that they are people of faith actually work hard at not having to live by faith. They keep things nice, neat and tidy. I could become a person like this rather easily, I think.
I could serve from a foundation of convenience – squeezing in service when its convenience and label it as sacrifice.
I could seek to connect with people my own age, my own race, who have my own temperament and call it fellowship.
I could give regularly but never to the point where I feel the pinch and deny myself, and I could tell myself that this is generosity.
I could be inflexible in my methods of advancing the Gospel, and exalt that refusal to consider a different approach as me just being true to my roots.
I could do all the admirable things that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 13 and call it commitment to ministry, even if I do not stop to see if there is Love that he says is the priority.
I could stay in the same place for a really long time and assume it is faithfulness, and never consider that it might be apathy or fear of change.
A person of faith could hold that title in word while not having the courage to examine his or her own heart to see if it is actually being lived out. God might might be beginning to stir things up, and our first impulse is to regain control and settle things down. Controlling our circumstances then eclipses faith-fueled following of Jesus as our foremost inner commitment. Safety and predictability can become highly held virtues for people who have the title of Christian without not the lifestyle of faith which backs it up. These folks don’t mind carrying a cross… as long as it is cushioned, contoured and customized to rest on their shoulders comfortably and not change their pre-planned route that they walk.
When we do not live by proactive day-to-day faith, our sense of responsibility is always exalted within us while the call to risk is demoted to an activity for the undisciplined or the fanatic. It is possible for us who assume we are people of faith to construct a life that actually requires no faith at all. I am concerned of that brand of hypocrisy finding my life. There are moments when I wonder if it already has. This would lead to an outward semblance of piety and religion, but result in an absence of any authentic spiritual substance. God would be watching me do my thing according to my own understanding. I would be measured, calculating and committed…but not abandoned to Him. I would end up trusting in me – my abilities, my resources, my intellect and my skill. Then, I would go to church on Sunday and sing, “To God Be The Glory!” Of course, as all good Christians must, I would give verbal credit to God because that’s what religious people do. But that’s not faith. That’s humanism. That’s posturing. That would be me at my best, not me at my brokenness. Forgive me if these thoughts are a little too close to being morbid introspection, but I really believe that I will give an account to Jesus for how I live. I don’t want to wait until I am no longer living to realize the potential danger that my bold declaration of faith is not aligning itself with how I actually live out my days. If I don’t consider that possibility now, by the time I leave earth it will be too late.
So I am thinking about it today. You might wish to do the same.
As a person of faith (not just saving faith), I am recognizing that God actually expects me to step out intentionally into the unknown when He calls me. To be saved is not synonymous with living safely. God wants me to tremble a little at my life. It is supposed to be bigger than me; not slightly bigger but much bigger than me so that I am never in doubt of my constant need for Him. He meets my trembles with sweeping moves which bring joy, power and intensity to a life that is to remain wholly dependent upon Him. That’s what I am looking for. That’s what I am longing for. That’s what we are made for.
More importantly, that is the thing for which He saved me. To be a person of faith – I think I will be that guy today.