November 14, 2012

Do We Really Need Strong Faith?

I recently heard a pastor share an analogy about faith that has given me much to ponder. Consider a frozen pond. If you walk out on it with great confidence and the ice is thin, the ice will not sustain your weight no matter how much you believe it will.  If you walk out on it with great hesitancy and the ice is thick, the ice will easily sustain your weight no matter how little you believe it will.  The strength of the ice is far more important than the strength of your belief in it.

It doesn't matter how strong our faith is if we're placing it in a weak god.

The god presented in many churches today is a weak, watered down version of the God of the Bible.

We've weakened Him in our emotional "worship" songs that have reduced Him to an object of our affection (often without ever making mention of His Name).  When my husband lost his job, we didn't need a god who was content to let us recline against him, feel him breathe and hear his heartbeat.1 We needed a God who would strengthen and help us, and cause us to stand upheld by His righteous, omnipotent hand.2

We've weakened Him with sermons that focus on our efforts rather that God's. Many pastors are so busy telling us how to live for God, they forget to tell us why we should. My attempts to obey God's Word will will fall terribly short if I don't have a clear understanding of who God is.

We've weakened Him by our lack of knowledge of Him. He's not a fire-insurance policy. He is the Holy Lord.

I, I am the Lord,
    and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
    when there was no strange god among you;
    and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
Also henceforth I am he;
    there is none who can deliver from my hand;
    I work, and who can turn it back?”
~Isaiah 43:11-13 (ESV)

The gospel reveals eternal realities about God that we would sometimes rather not face. We prefer to sit back, enjoy our cliches, and picture God as a Father who might help us, all the while ignoring God as a Judge who might damn us. Maybe this is why we fill our lives with the constant drivel of entertainment in our culture - and in the church. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him.

We've weakened Him by convincing ourselves that He is here to serve our purposes, rather than us serving His.  We have forgotten about the One who laid aside His rights in order that God's plan might be accomplished.  If there was ever a man who deserved to have His own way, it was Christ. Yet, He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:6).

It's time believers stop settling for a weak god. If we truly worship, know, and serve the God of the Bible, our faith need only be as big as a mustard seed.

1"The More I Seek You", written by Kari Jobe
2"How Firm a Foundation", written by John Keith


Diana Lovegrove said...

Love this, Melissa! Amen, sister. And as we truly come to worship, know and serve the God of the Bible, the Holy "I AM", we will come to know the fear of the Lord. And the fear of the Lord will inspire faith in the Lord - as Noah built the ark by faith in "holy fear" (Heb 11:7). God bless you!

Persis said...

Oh Melissa, I used to listen to that song by Kari Jobe when my ex- left. Boy did that mess me up. I needed the God of the Bible not a celestial boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

A great encouragement for those who are misled by their pastors etc. that they just need to have enough faith.

Leslie said...

Excellent post! At the same time, though, I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to sing those tender relationship type songs. I don't think they should be the only songs we sing, in fact, I prefer the robust theological hymns in corporate worship, but sometimes, especially in my private worship, I like to sing the sweet, tender songs, too.