We all have faith. But in what do we have faith in? Our personal abilities to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps? Our family? Our friends? Our ideals about life? Our faith must be invested in something that is solid. The object of my faith is Jesus Christ. He is the one who is God in human flesh, who had 456 specific prophetic facts to describe his birth, life and death before they came to be. These prophecies were given 700-1400 years before he lived. The odds are impossible of one person fulfilling all these, the evidence for his life are overwhelming, the evidence of his resurrection are overwhelming. All these things have been recorded in 66 different books by 40 different authors over a period of 1600 years on three continents that agree on Jesus and there is historical and archaeological evidence for what is recorded in the Bible, which is still the top selling book every year.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-12
I know I can’t get to heaven on my own or forgive my own sins or save myself. I place my faith in someone who can has lots of evidence for who they say they are. Jesus.
2. Make an Informed Decision
We have much evidence for the Christian faith. We can make an informed decision. For example:
Let’s say I asked you to take a guess about something in my pocket. Then I put my hand in my pocket and took something out. If you took a guess, what would you guess?
A coin? Chapstick? a toothpick? A business card?
How do you know its not an elephant?
You would make an educated guess to the best of your ability. You would fairly sure it has to be something that will fit in a pocket and that is normally in a pocket. This is an informed decision.
Then if I told you, “It’s a dollar.” You can choose to believe or not.
I am telling you it’s true but you have not seen it. That’s faith. Hebrews says faith is the evidence of things not seen.”
If I choose to reward your faith, I open my hand to reveal the dollar. Now its no longer faith its knowledge.
Sometimes people think that faith is knowing something is true beyond a shadow of a doubt whatsoever. God has not subjected himself to that kind of proof. Instead we have to rely on convincing evidence and make an informed decision.
Faith believes in something without having all the complete information. [Hebrews 11:1] defines faith this way…
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV) Hebrew 11:1 That is how the Bible defines faith.
- Go Where Faith is
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” Hebrews 10:25
If you want to grow a garden, you wouldn’t go to the North Pole would you? You’d go where a garden will flourish. If you’re going to “do faith” then you’re probably not going to go join an atheist support group either? You’re going to want to spend more time around people who you respect for their life, their mind, their character, and their faith. Get around people whom you can learn from. Watch their life. Like the people in Acts 2:44,
44And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had.”
They did life together…they learned from one another and they leaned on one another for support. The Ridge could be that place for you.
When our kids get sick, we often wonder who they caught it from, because sickness gets passed around. Even though faith is not literally contagious like that, we benefit when we hang around people with a strong faith. They tend to anchor us, reassure us and give us new confidence. They probably don’t have a strong faith by accident.
These are probably people who have instituted in their lives some spiritual practices and disciplines that have helped strengthen their faith over time. We can learn from that. This is why Growth Groups are so important! It’s a place where you can get into a group and learn from more mature believers and how they have built a strong faith.
- Consume Faith Building Materials
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
In other words, read the Bible. Find some books that can build up your faith. Books that build strong motivation for faith, that clarify the nature of God, that examines the evidence of Christianity that deal intelligently with the critic of faith, etc.
5. Step Out in Faith
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:9
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29
Jesus is saying that you need to do more than gain knowledge about faith, but you need to experience knowledge about faith. Do what faith does. FAITH IS A VERB
It’s like riding a bicycle. My older children Kaleb and Noel have learned how to ride a bike. We didn’t have them read books and watch videos on how to ride a bike. They went outside, got on their bike and began to learn, experientially. They had to get the feel of it. They fell down. Noel once learned a valuable lesson about brakes. Noel took her bike to the top of our driveway and got going down pretty fast but didn’t know how to use the brakes and ran into Niki’s parked car. But each time Kaleb or Noel fell down, they learned something new about staying on the bike and riding it. Faith works much the same way. It’s about action, it’s about experimenting and gaining experiential knowledge. You can believe all you want, but at some point you’re going to have to sit on faith, put your hands on the handle bars, feel the grips in your hands and start pedaling. And you will discover what myself and millions of others across the world have discovered…
CHRISTIANITY ISN’T TRUE BECAUSE IT WORKS, IT WORKS BECAUSE IT’S TRUE!
*I want to unapologetically say that it is so much more fun, riding the bike than reading about it, or watching a video about it! Some of you have been auditing Christianity for a while, it’s time to get on the bike! It’s time to go to the soup kitchen, to go on a mission trip to Trinidad or Guatemala or elp in the children’s classes. You have been gifted, and equipped enough. Step out in faith. Yes it will be scary. Just ask our ministry leaders. None of them had prior experience in what they’re doing. I remember them saying, “I sense God is calling me to do this, but I’m very scared.” “I don’t feel ready or experienced enough” One of our Growth Group leaders who is so effective, I encouraged her to lead a group and it seemed to go against every fiber of her fear, but now that she is sailing, with wind in hair, she’ll say, “It’s exciting to be used by God and to see him work, I don’t know why I ever waited so long!”
My faith is stronger and deeper now than it was 10 years ago. But I’ve got bumps and scrapes that I’ve experienced along the way. I still struggle with doubts. There are still questions that I have unanswered, but I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything.
Take the steps necessary to develop your faith journey. Today, it may be the day to say, I have thought about Jesus long enough, I don’t have all the answers but I have enough to make an informed decision. Today you can receive Christ by inviting him in your life, simple prayer like, “Jesus thank you for loving me, for dying on the cross for me, for who you are, I place my trust in you, I don’t have everything figured out, but in time it will be revealed, I trust you in faith, help me to step out in faith, and live the life you have for me.” Amen