Words of Healing “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” – Jesus (Matt 24:35).

19Apr/131

Faith: It Might Not Be What You Think

Two men, Adam and Fred, wake up one morning.  As they wake up, they immediately recall that this is the day they are going to fly to England.  Adam is so excited to go flying that he can't wait to get there.  Fred, on the other hand is anxious, afraid, and thinks, "if men were born to fly, we'd have wings." Adam, on the other hand, has absolute faith that flying to England is not a problem. So, they both head out of their homes and head to New York to begin their journey. Fred gets there and has to force each step he takes onto the plane. When the plane takes off, he closes his eyes and says a prayer. Adam on the other hand excitedly rides the elevator up the Empire State Building and without a second thought or any wavering of his faith, jumps...

...Which one made it to England, the one with lots of faith, or the one with barely enough faith to get on the plane?

Faith does not depend on the amount of faith of the person but on the [what] that person is putting their faith in. Putting your faith in your own arms to fly you to England is foolish, but putting your faith in a Boeing 747 is not foolish. So, the only question is not how much faith do you have, but what have you put your faith in?

Personally, I have put my faith in Christ. Surprisingly, the few instances in my life where I could say that something supernatural happened is NOT the reason that I continue to put my faith in Christ. All supernatural occurrences could ultimately be considered either some form of temporary psychosis or an unlikely coincidence, and by my nature, I am extremely skeptical. Instead, my faith is in Christ because of the OLD Testament. The Jews also have the Old Testament (though naturally they don't call it that), and since the Jews do NOT believe in Christ but have the same scriptures, that assures me that my Christian predecessors haven't been able to write their own version. We also have documents dating back to well before Christ was born, which is another assurance. And Yet...when I read the Old Testament I can't help but see a painting of Christ being masterfully brushed onto the page of the Old Testament. If it were not for the assurances that the Old Testament hasn't been messed with, I would find it hard to believe that someone didn't go back and write the stories after Christ's death. From Abraham offering up his one and only son and becoming the friend of God, to The Passover which Christ coincidentally happened to die during, to the depiction of the crucifixion before crucifixion was ever even conceived in Psalm 22...and I'm barely scratching the surface...these are just a couple of the larger brush strokes that lead me to see Christ being depicted so clearly in the Old Testament.

Belief in the Bible does not make it any more or less true, but if we find it to be true, we should put our faith in it. If we find it to be false, we should discard it alongside the stories of Santa. You cannot test most of the claims of the Bible in a laboratory, for the key issues are in the realm of metaphysics. There is no scientific test for deity. However, you can test the claims of the Bible against reality and see if it corresponds with reality and provides a "coherent set of solutions" (Ravi Zacharias), and my belief in the Bible is based on that evidence.

There ARE things in the Bible that bother me. There ARE some things that don't appear to line up. There ARE times where I question my faith--again and again, in fact. I have no interest in believing something just for the sake of belief itself. That would be idiotic. However, 99.9% of the things that bother me about the Bible are very non-consequential passages and usually revolve around nuances of words. The rest of the Bible lines up uncannily despite its MANY authors and so clearly points me to Christ that I cannot ignore it. So, I rest on this...just because someone doesn't completely understand the laws of aerodynamics doesn't mean that the plane won't fly. Likewise, not completely understanding all of the things that the Bible states and not being able to put all of the pieces together does not invalidate it.

Ultimately, even if it were not for the Old Testament, I think that I might still come to the conclusion that this person called Jesus, the Christ, is someone that should not be ignored. There is just something about Him. Historically, Jesus has set himself apart from all other philosophers and leaders, and I cannot put it better than Napoleon did. Here is an excerpt from a book regarding a quote by Napoleon:

Napoleon expressed the following thoughts while he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena. There, the conqueror of civilized Europe had time to reflect on the measure of his accomplishments. He called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, "Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?" The count declined to respond. Napoleon countered:

"Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. . . . I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man. . . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me . . . but to do this is was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man's creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ."

Whatever else one may say in response, it is difficult to explain this away as mere eloquence. In fact, it was to counter mere eloquence and such artificial power that Napoleon said what he did. With unbelievable insight, he saw how Jesus Christ conquered. It was not by force, but by winning the heart.

- from Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias, 2000, W. Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee...quoting from Henry Parry Liddon, Liddon's Bampton Lectures 1866 (London: Rivingtons, 1869), 148.

Faith should be examined. Faith should be tested against reality. You should have solid reasons before you put your faith in something. You do not want to jump off a building without a parachute. However, neither do you want to ignore the question just because the world is crowded with a plethora of conflicting ideas. Let's say that I have 3 friends. One is telling me that the US is going to be bombed and I should get out of the country. One is telling me that the whole world is going to flood and I should build a boat. The other is telling me that an ice age is about to hit and I need to build a bunker deep in the earth. If these 3 friends are sane, I would ask them what their basis for belief is and then make a decision on the plausibility of these scenarios based on their evidence. If I actually believed one of them, I would act accordingly.

If there is a God, then the decisions we make regarding God potentially have eternal consequences, so there is no more important question to answer than the question of faith. Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that nobody could come to the Father except through Him. That is a logical, reasonable claim, which is Either true, Or false. Either He's a Liar, or a Lunatic, or He actually is the God He claimed to be. Believe in Him or not, but I think it is foolish to simply ignore Him.

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  1. Love to read your writings. This is good.


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