1 Thing We About Faith We Often Forget: Faith Hacking #4

We constantly stumble over the word—faith. How do we know we have it? What does it mean to lose it?

But really, faith is weirder than we think. And there is one thing we often misunderstand about faith.

We are almost done with our Faith Hacking series. Previously we covered…

  1. Making room for the God who comes.
  2. Understanding that the gospel who is a person.
  3. Discovering that salvation is entrance into a new family.

Now it’s time to tackle the idea of faith.

So, what is the one thing we forget about faith?

What Faith is Not

In my teaching and preaching I often define a word by what it isn’t.

Faith is not

  • An Idea: not just something we think about.
  • An Emotion not just something we feel.

Faith is not an intellectual or emotional state. It is not what we think about God. It is not believing God exists. It is not what we feel about God, that we sense God loves us in our hearts—or that we don’t.

Ideas and emotions aren’t bad. I affirm God existence. And I think it would be a good idea for you to affirm it also.  I affirm the love of God. And I would love for you to feel the comfort and acceptance of God too.

But when we say faith, that is not what the Bible generally means.

Faith is much more robust than merely an idea or an emotion.

Faith is Allegiance?

Faith—in the ancient world, which includes the Bible—meant something much closer to allegiance or loyalty.

But loyalty and allegiance are weird words—they have a bad wrap these day.

Allegiance is something we probably don’t think much about. Except something like “I pledge allegiance to…”

And loyalty—especially when it is demanded—seems manipulative and controlling.

Isn’t it just military dictators or tyrants who demand loyalty?  Don’t cult leaders who demand total allegiance?  Isn’t it just Darth Vader and the evil Emperor who demand unthinking loyalty and allegiance?

Faith in the Bible

But faith as loyalty or allegiance is very common in the Bible.

In the Old Testament God repeatedly tells Israel not to look to Egypt or Babylon for help against their enemies.  God is supposed to be Israel’s help in times of trouble.

Israel is supposed to have faith in God.  Their allegiance is with God, not Egypt. Their loyalty is with God, not Babylon.

 

And what does that mean practically?

It means Israel’s help comes from the LORD, not Babylon. Their deliverance comes from God, not the horses and chariots of the Egyptian war machine.

 

Faith answers these basic questions:

  • Who do you look to for help, assistance, or deliverance? That is the one you have faith in.
  • Who do you call on in times of trouble? That is where your allegiance and loyalty today.
  • Who do you call on for reinforcements? That is where your loyalty is.

Life is War Zone

You see, our lives are not so much a calm place where God wonders about our thoughts and feeling about whether God exists.

ACTUALLY, life is a war zone full of hazards and dangers, full of spiritual forces out to destroy us, AND WE ARE DYING OUT HERE.

And God promises to rescue us. And God IS rescuing us,  leading us to safety, to salvation.  And the way out of this war zone is to stay close to Jesus, to stay on narrow path that leads to life.

And the question is, Will you give your trust, your allegiance, your loyalty to God, to the one getting us through this?

Or will you, when trials and suffering and sorrows come, will you abandon him for something else. Will you put your trust and loyalty somewhere else?

Faith Hack: Allegiance to God

In this war zone of life, the genuineness of your faith going to be tested. Will you stay loyal to Jesus or not?

Jesus has the power to save us. Jesus is willing to protect us. Jesus is leading us to life in a new family. Will be given him our allegiance?

Will we trust him?
Will we cling to him?
Will we call to God for help?
Will we place our faith in God?

How would your relationship to God change knowing that faith is not a feeling or an idea?

How would your faith as loyalty and allegiance change how you perceive the ups and downs of life? What is God calling you to right now?

Don’t miss the last “faith hack” on holiness coming out the next couple of days (the first three were on God, the gospel, and salvation). Subscribe and receive a free gift about how God’s glory is intimately connected to God’s love for us.


 If this post has been helpful or thought provoking, please consider sharing it.

Haunted House or War Zone: Does God Test Our Faith?

Now that we are saved, why aren’t things awesome all the time?  Why isn’t life one continuous ascent into the perfect life with God?

And why are we told that God is testing us?

As 1 Peter 1:6 says,

In this [salvation] you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Why would God test faith like that?

Answering this question properly all depends on how we image these tests. It depends on whether we think of life as in a haunted house or a war zone.

Is God Scaring us or Leading Us?

Ready to Jump Out

Our youngest son loves to scare people when they enter the house.  He will hide behind a doorway or some furniture, lying in wait.  And then he pounces. Sometimes he scares us. Sometimes not. Sometimes we see him getting into place. Sometimes we don’t.

It’s in all good fun.

Except when we think of God acting like this?

Sometimes we image our Christian lives as if God is lying in wait, ready to spring out and test us. We think that God is actively testing us, laying out traps to see if we will fall away or lose our faith.

Sometimes we think God is testing us to see if we really, Really, REALLY believe.  And if we fail the test then God is going to…well, who knows what will happen.

The Haunted House of Faith

Sometimes we can image our life of faith like a haunted house.  God is actively trying to scare us, jumping out unexpectedly and tripping us up.

But—as the idea goes—if we can get through without freaking out too much then we will be saved.   If we prove to God that we won’t doubt or run away then we will be saved.

But his image of God actively testing us is horrible—and inaccurate. This view of God lurking behind doors to test us distorts who really God is and how God is accomplishing salvation for us.

Ready to Rescue

Life is not an artificially created haunted house where we need to steel our nerves against any surprises.

Rather, life is better thought as a war zone.

We live in a war zone full of hazards and dangers.  And it is filled roaming spiritual forces seeking to destroy us.

But God, in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, has promised to rescue us from this war zone.  Not only is this promised, but God IS rescuing us and saving us as the one who has come to us and is leading us to safety.

And the only way out of this war zone is to stay close to Jesus, to stay on the straight and narrow path that will leads to life.

The Loyalty in the War Zone

And the question is this, Will you give your trust, your allegiance, your loyalty to Jesus who is rescuing us, who leading us through this war zone?

Or will you, when trials and suffering and sorrows come, will you abandon him for something else? Will you put your trust and loyalty somewhere else when the attack comes?

In this war zone of life, the genuineness of our faith will be tested. But not because God is creating ways to scare us. But because this war zone is already scary enough, and we have continual opportunities to break loyalty with Jesus.

Jesus has the power to save and rescue us. And Jesus is willing to protect us. Jesus is leading us to life.  Will we trust him? Will we place our faith in him?

The Testing of Faith

God is not testing our faith.
But our faith will be tested.

Our faith–allegiance in Jesus is the beginning of our rescue. And our faith–allegiance to Jesus will lead us safely home.

If this post has been helpful or thought provoking, please consider sharing it. And please subscribe. Thanks.