February 9, 2015

I certainly do not have enough faith.  I do not have enough faith to move mountains or to move a grain of rice.  The only way I could move a grain of rice is with a fork or something.  My faith has stayed the size of a mustard seed.  I have not planted my seed of faith in the fertile soil of God’s power.  Why is it so frightening to release my grip and hand my life over to God?  I suspect that I am not the only person who has this struggle.  I suspect that the same reasoning or logic or fear is blocking all of us who have not gone all in with God.  We do not want to appear like a lunatic.

Think about Peter and John.  They have just witnessed the ascension of Jesus as He took His rightful place at the right hand of His Father, and have experienced the coming of the promised Helper, the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost.  They are going to the temple everyday, worshiping Jesus and preaching about Him.  Now you have healed a crippled man who is dancing around the temple praising God, and the church leaders are angry.  They are called before the leaders and told to stop preaching about Jesus, but they refuse saying they would rather obey God than obey men.  They are eventually beaten and thrown into jail.  They leave the jail, praising God that He found them worthy to suffer persecution for the sake of Jesus.

Denial would perhaps be my first reaction.  I might take a stand and hold firm, but the beating would make me angry at the men and resentful towards God for allowing me to suffer.  A lot of people today get down on God if they experience financial strains and stress.  That is what people consider suffering in today’s church in America.  We need to admit that a lot of are weak in our faith.  We appear strong in our faith, and we talk a good game as well, when things are going great and we have the financial means to not worry.  But when stress comes our faith is the first to go.

I want you to consider what you would think of Paul if he came into a meeting with you and some people at church in your house.  Would you sit there listening attentively as he talked all night about the topics he wrote in the book of Romans?  Would you keep looking at your watch or the clock on the wall or take out your cell phone and check for status updates on Facebook or tweet out wondering if this guy would ever stop talking?  If you were in the third row from the back, lip-syncing the words to the worship song, and you can hear Paul singing in a loud voice so badly off key but not caring, would your first thought be that that guy must be soft in the head?  If you saw him in the lobby, boisterously joyful and encouraging people, would you be drawn to him or skirt around him as you head for the exit?

We have tempered our faith in this country.  We have a nice little mason jar or keepsake box that we store it in.  We think those who are so expressive of their joy found in Christ outside of the worship service are nuts.  During worship, that’s perfectly normal but that is where it stays.  No expression of faith can be seen once we leave the church building.  We are afraid of what people would think of us if we boldly expressed our faith in Jesus anywhere else except with those who think the same.  We don’t want to be thought of as being naïve, stupid or crazy, never mind people actually saying that to us.  We want to fit in but if we belong to Christ we never will because we no longer are citizens of this world.

I pray that my faith can and will grow.  I want to experience the power that the Apostles experienced.  I want to believe the promise of Jesus when He told His disciples that would do all that they had witnessed Him do during His ministry, but they would do more.  I don’t want to hinder the power of the Holy Spirit because my faith is weak.  I want the power of the Spirit to be manifest in me and miracles to be done through me for the glory of my Savior.  I want to thought of and called a lunatic for the sake of my Lord.

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