Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Cure For Insecurity - Faith

"101212 San Francisco 0158b Parking" by eric.kornblum

Victorious faith is always proved by its actions, not by its claims.
-- Dr. David Humphreys

Faith is a key term in this epistle. It can be argued that faith is a key term throughout all of the epistles. It can also be argued that faith is a key element in the entirety of Christendom and God’s relations with man. Faith is the catalyst of every religion and world-view that has ever surfaced on this planet. Everyone has faith in something.

I can make this claim because I have a clear definition of faith. Faith, as defined by C. S. Lewis in his foundational work Mere Christianity, is the art of holding on to things that your reason has once accepted. Everyone on earth has a world-view, religious or not, that was accepted by a particular person’s intellect at some point in time. And the conviction to hold on to that mental assent, even when varying opinions arise, is what we call faith.

For example, I remember being awakened one morning by my parents at an ungodly hour. They were fully dressed and wide awake. I wanted to continue in my slumber. But it only took a few magic words to get me out of my funk.

Do you want to go to Disney World?
I could not believe my ears. What? Disney?
Yes, we are going to take you to Disney World!
When? I asked, fully aware that the sun was still asleep, When are we going to Disney?
Right now, was the response, unless you would rather sleep.

Needless to say, I did not choose to sleep. I darted out of bed, brushed my teeth and threw on the clothes my mother had set out for me. I hopped in the car in amazement that we were going to Disney right then.

We dropped my sister off with my Grandmother and hit the Turnpike. I fell back asleep within the hour and woke up at the magical gates of Walt Disney World.

We rode rides. We took goofy pictures in new Goofy hats. We shared drinks and meals and ice creams with Mickey ears. We joked and laughed and hugged. It was an amazing day that made an incredible impression on my life.

The impression? My parents love me.

What was my rationale? They were excited to spend the day with me. They woke up early to get the day started, they dropped off my sister so they could be alone with me, they paid money to enter the park, they paid money to feed me, they paid money for silly trinkets for me, we hugged one another and the list goes on. All of Gary Chapman’s love languages were shared with me. I spent almost an entire 24-hour day under the direct affections of both my parents.

That last sentence is a blessing in and of itself, and it solidified the statement, My parents love me. There is no denying that as a fact, especially after our special day together.

But let’s say the next week my parents did the same exact thing again--for my sister. They woke her up and took her to the Magic Kingdom and spent the day and their money with her. Let’s suppose that I was the one left behind with my grandmother to wait 20 hours for them to return.

It would be natural to have feelings of abandonment and loneliness in this situation. I could imagine wondering why they left me there and why we couldn’t all go together. Perhaps doubts would arise in the back of my mind about my father’s love for me or whether my mother truly enjoys my company. Maybe the natural jealousies of sibling rivalry will well up in my soul, causing me to compare my worthiness to my sister. Such emotions are reasonable and understandable. This is the way life works, things happen which shake us and challenge what we believe.

But I know that my parents love me. Faith says, I don’t care how you feel today, I know that what was true yesterday remains true today. Faith is a stubborn mule who does not relent no matter who is pushing or pulling him around.

Paul mentions Faith, Faithfulness, Belief and Diligence numerous times in his letter to Titus. However, Paul does not offer much teaching on faith. Faith is assumed because he is writing to a believer. In the same way, we can assume that the true believer in today’s world should also be marked by the ability to withstand the elements of this world by holding on to the reasonable things that we once accepted.

Now, by this definition of faith we can rightly assume that while all have faith, not all faith is equally sound. One can rationalize a faulty premise and build their faith on skewed facts. They may continue to hold on to that belief even when stronger evidence proves true.

The Christian’s faith is not something that is imagined by himself. His faith is founded in something outside of himself. Titus 1:9 gives us a hint at what the Christian’s faith is grounded in as Paul instructed Titus what to look for when appointing Elders:

               Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught,

Therefore, the Christian has faith in the word of God which is what we are taught. We trust that the ancient scriptures are faithful as they have stood the test of time and remain relevant. We believe that the Bible contains the correct instructions to cultivate a healthy relationship with God. We hold fast to the account of God’s dealings with humanity and learn of His character. Through the Bible we have confidence that God is a being that is invested in the affairs of this world. We know that He loves His creation, not only because of what He says about it--and He says that He loves the world many times--we know about His love by His actions.

If we have faith in God because of His actions, then it stands to reason that we show our faith through our actions. That is what Paul essentially says in Titus 3:8:

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Notice that faith is a prerequisite for the maintenance of good works. Notice also that there seems to be no debate whether or not faith leads to action. When faith takes precedence in the Christian’s life, you will notice it through plain observation of the way he lives. The Christian is willing to take risks for other people because he is confident in his God’s provision.

We have experiential knowledge of God’s goodness, we know His character will not change when life gives us lemons. As a result, we should extend little samples of God’s sweetness to those around us.

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Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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