I was talking with a friend recently and he was describing a friend of ours as a “man of faith.” I thought about that description and agreed, it was true. But the more I thought about it the more I realized we are all people of faith. Christians have faith in God. Muslims have faith in Allah. Miami has faith in Lebron. Children have faith in their parents. Even an athiest has faith…in himself. Everyone has faith in someone or something. Everyday we place our trust somewhere; people, chairs, vehicles, banks, dead-bolt locks, etc. The question is not whether we have faith. The real question is where do we place it?
God simplifies the discussion of faith. From His perspective, you either have faith in Him (the Creator) or faith in His creation. There is no middle ground. Throughout the Bible, God calls His people to trust Him. Throughout the Bible, they don’t.
Last summer my five year old and I were enjoying some time in the pool. While he was standing on the side, I asked him to jump to me in the four foot section. He refused. I told him he was safe. He refused. I told him that I would catch him. He refused. I told him I would not let his head go under. He refused. I told him that the little girl over there does it all the time. He refused. I told him I would give him $1.00. He refused. I told him it would be fun. He refused. NOTHING I tried would convince him to do it. Though he would not articulate it like this, it was obvious why he did not jump. He simply did not trust me. I was very frustrated, since I know my abilities. I was also kind of hurt. And then it hit me. Every day, we communicate the same thing to God.
- When we don’t tithe, we are telling Him we do not trust Him with our finances.
- When we date people we shouldn’t, we are telling Him we do not trust Him with our relationships.
- When we take revenge, we are telling Him we do not trust Him to handle the situation.
- When we steal, we are telling Him we do not trust Him to provide.
- When we indulge in our addictive behaviors, we are telling Him that we do not trust Him to handle our problems.
Throughout the Bible, God is constantly challenging us to trust Him. Twice Jesus is recorded as being moved by our faith.
- In the first passage (Matthew 8), Jesus witnesses the faith of a Roman Centurion and is stunned by what He sees. A Roman Centurion would NOT be someone anyone in Palestine would call a “man of faith.” And yet, he was. Instead of his faith being placed in Caesar, this centurion trusted Christ to heal his servant. And Jesus noticed. He always notices when our faith is placed in the right direction. “Now when Jesus heard (the centurion’s faith), He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.” (Apparently the faith of this pagan centurion was greater than the faith of His disciples Peter, James & John. That would make me marvel too.)
- In Mark 6, Jesus is spending time in His hometown of Nazareth. While He was there, a discussion breaks out over His true identity. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James?”, they asked. “Where did this man get these things“, they wondered. Yes, He was a man. But He was also God and those closest to Him couldn’t see it. We are told that Jesus did not perform any miracles there. As was His custom, He would never do a miracle for people who did not trust Him. After all, He was not a dog and pony show. He would not “throw His pearls before swine.” Before He left HIS backyard, “He wondered at their unbelief.”
When God looks at my life, would my faith make Him marvel or just make Him wonder? There are some areas of my life that I trust God alot. If I am honest, there are other areas where I don’t trust Him at all. It’s ludicrous, if you think about it. I stand on the edge of His pool and I refuse to jump in. I cling to all my worthless excuses as if they are legitimate. I know He is able to catch me. I know He has my best interests in mind. I know that I won’t drown. I know I would enjoy “life more abundantly” (John 10:10) if I took that leap of faith. But I don’t. I stand by the edge, even for years, wondering what would it be like to swim in His ocean of faith.
Where are you in relation to His pool? Are you on the side of the pool as well? What is He calling you to do? Break up with that boyfriend? Quit your job? Start that business? Make that phone call? Write that letter? Forgive that person? Love that man? Embrace your past? Move to that state? Marry that girl? Give that money? Go on that mission trip? Downsize your house? Pray that prayer? Go to seminary? Quit that habit? Join that church?
Put simply, we either trust Him or we don’t. He can marvel at our faith or wonder why we won’t trust Him. There is no middle ground. We are either standing on the edge or we are swimming in the pool. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being dry.
In my Bible, I have the following poem taped on the inside cover. It is a constant reminder to me to trust God with my future:
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than the light and safer than the known!” So I went forth and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night.” – M. Louise Haskins
If you were to count every verse in the Bible and determine the exact middle verse – it would be this one: Psalm 118:8. At the very center of His word, this is God’s message to us:
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”