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THE PROBLEM OF FAITH

February 5, 2012

Well, I’m back.  Sorry for the delay in blog posts.  I moved.  Moving from one house to another is always a challenge—no internet access for some time—everything changing—disorder and chaos and stress.  One thing I learned from the experience: I have too much stuff.  In that respect it is healthy to move…once in a while, if for no other reason than to learn you have collected too much useless junk—to reprioritize your life and assess your needs.  In any case, my schedule is back on track and I will be posting new blogs on a regular basis, starting right… now.

 

The Problem of Faith

 

Many people who call themselves Christians do not believe in Christ at all.  Their train is not on His rails.  They do not live what they say they believe, because in reality they don’t believe it.  Not really…

 

In 1923, a man stood up in the isle, grabbed the steward, put his gun to the steward’s head and said, “Take me to Detroit.  I demand you take me to Detroit.”  The steward calmly replied, “Sir, we are on a train—we go where the rails go—if they take us to Detroit, we can go to Detroit, but these rails go to Chicago and there is nothing that gun can do about that.”

 

"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” ~ James 1:4-8

 

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe — and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.  Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. ~ James 2:17-26

 

But, you say… “I do believe!”  What do you believe?  Really?

 

You say, “I believe in the power of Christ.  I may not be living up to those beliefs, but I do believe.”

 

That means then, that your true beliefs must be wrong.  What do I mean by that?  How is that possible?

 

Consider this… You say that you may not be living up to your beliefs, but by definition, this is impossible.  The truth is, we always live up to … or down to … our beliefs.  Beliefs are the rails which govern our lives.  Our trains roll on them whether we like it or not.  If your train is not rolling on the set of rails which you claim are yours, it’s because you have diverted your train to another set of rails.  Period.

 

This new set of rails become and are your true core beliefs now, not the rails you left—or the rails you profess belong to you—or the rails you wish you were rolling on—or used to roll on.
Unless you first understand this, you can never find out how to truly believe and be set free.

 

Our scripture says in essence, if you say you believe, but do not follow — then you do not indeed believe at all… Therein exposes the greatest misconception in Christianity today.  The philosophy we seem to have is that what you once believed, you will always believe.  That is simply not true. As we diminish our standards, we are actually changing our belief-system.  Another misconception is that to profess is the same as to believe.  That a profession made twenty years ago somehow trumps what you really believe and follow today.  That is also false.  We are not what we profess to be just because we once believed it — or ‘grew up’ in it or once embraced it or want to be it.  The truth is, we are what we do!  And we DO WHAT WE BELIEVE!

 

Deal with that truth for a minute.  That is the reality of who you are.  In actuality, many people who call themselves Christians do not believe in Christ at all.  Their train is not on His rails.  They do not live what they say they believe, because in reality they don’t believe it.  Not really.  To believe in Christ is to follow him — to be His apprentice with full intention of living as he lived.

 

An Apprentice comes from the Latin word meaning to seize; or apprehend.  An Apprentice is one that is bound by legal agreement to work for another in return for instruction in that trade, art, or business.  An Apprentice is one who is learning a trade or occupation (Jesus commanded us as He ascended to ‘occupy until I come’).  An Apprentice is a beginner; a learner.

 

The very definition of a disciple is a “disciplined learner” — An active adherent of a movement or philosophy.  Both give us a picture that if we truly believe what Jesus believes and teaches, then we will walk in his footsteps.  Casting all else aside for the ‘sake of the treasure’.  Right?

 

There is nothing more you can learn or be taught until you face this truth about yourself.  You cannot surrender what you do not possess.  You cannot truly surrender yourself unless you possess yourself.  The first thing you must possess is this truth about yourself — the truth that perhaps you have allowed your beliefs to drift.  This truth must reach beyond your ears and your memory and sink into your spirit or nothing else will matter… and nothing will change.  The spiritual life is first of all life.  It is something to be lived.  But like all other life, it too, can grow sick and die when neglected; when not properly cared for or prioritized — or uprooted from its proper place.  Perhaps some of you have been uprooted, perhaps you haven’t believed what you have professed to believe, perhaps you have simply wished to believe it without all the effort that actually believing it takes.

 

"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” ~ James 1:4-8

 

Be bold in your faith.  Cowardice keeps a man double minded, hesitating between two worlds. True faith abandons one option for the other.  Hesitation is the death of faith.  A train can only roll on one set of rails at a time.  Which rails are you on? — Because that is your true destination.

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