BARE-BONES FAITH

I’ve been noticing more and more lately, particularly upon seeing reactions to my controversial videos, that we Christians, and humans in general, have a constant need to attach ourselves to something, or someone, to such an extent that separation from it seems like a threat to our faith, our happiness, and even our very existence.

Our God sometimes works to detach us from these things, and perhaps even from everything that’s familiar and comfortable to us, in order for us to come to the hard realization that all we really need is Him. He isn’t just a part of our life, neither does He want to be: He is our life. The ultimate expression of this extraction is in our loss of health, and then in our death.

The most insidious attachment to the believer is in the area of theology, beliefs and pet doctrines. To give one example, I as a young believer held passionately to the conviction that the rapture of the Church was going to whisk me away to heaven, long before I had to suffer any hardship; before my nation deteriorated morally and spiritually, and before my wonderful mum or dad passed away. I don’t see it that way now, now that I’ve seen my mother and father pass away, and now that I’ve experienced some suffering of my own, along with the suffering of those I know and love, and along with the deterioration of my nation.

Worst of all, I preached and defended my position vehemently and relentlessly. The pre-tribulation rapture-whether it’s wrong or right-had become what I placed my hope and faith in. Instead, my hope should have been entirely in Jesus Christ: the One who owns me, who died for me, and who is able to raise my mortal body and give me eternal llife.

Argue with me if you like: that’s your right and privelege, and even your duty. Let’s be Bereans together, and see whether these things are so. But…don’t be so sensitive that you get angry if I don’t agree with you. Even if I were to disagree about the fundamentals of the faith, it would be wrong to lose your cool, to be “offended”, to get angry, to shun me, or, as one person has seen fit to do, call me a false prophet over my understanding of the rapture.

The fundamentals of the faith are laid out by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. Christ-that is, the Son of God-died for our sins, on the cross. He was buried, and on the third day, he rose from the dead, appeared to his disciples alive and in glorified flesh, and then ascended to the right hand of the Father. These things are what we believe and apply to our hearts and in our lifestyles, in order to be “saved”. But were I to disagree with any of these things, it is not, repeat not, your obligation, or even within your Christian duty, to get angry and defensive. If I have a different opinion obout spiritual gifts, you can calmly call me wrong, mistaken, worldly, unbiblical, unspiritual, or whatever you want, but you cannot, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ; a child of God, begin to insult and attack me.

We all get attached to something or someone to our detriment. It may be a preacher who’s exploiting people. It may be a pet doctrine which is not a fundamental and is open to debate, and for the lack of which no-one will be barred from heaven. It may be a political party, or a music artist, or a denomination: all healthy things to associate with and enjoy, and yet which can be most definitely unhealthy and harmful, if, when someone attempts to open our eyes to their falseness or their corrosive nature, we throw a tantrum like a three-year old child, and cling to our love with slashing nails and gnashing teeth.

We all need to grow up, to be mature in our relationships with others, and to be confident enough in the Truth of God’s word, that we know what we know without guarding it with anger, venom and bile.

How would we react if we lost everything we had? What would happen to our faith if the one thing or habit or person we had most joy, hope and faith in were to disappear, or be shown to be fake or be flawed and faulty? This is a question we should all ask ourselves, because there probably will be a time in each of our lives when this situation will present itself. If all were lost, would we lose our faith in and our love for Jesus Christ? Is our faith in Jesus real, or are we just fair-weather believers, waiting for God to make us affluent, or to make us healthy, or to bring us a mate, or a better mate? If all were lost, would we still love Jesus?

We could look at the example of Job, who, after his children had all been killed, and his house destroyed, and when his wife chose to mock and to nag what remained of him, he still declared:

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).

If you read the book of Job, you find that God, along with the one who is envious of God;s power and position, set out to test Job to find out exactly how important God really was to Job. Was he in it for the money, the blessing, and the prestige, or was it God himself that Job loved and revered? Did he recognize God’s sovereignty? Did he realize that his life, and all he had, was given to him by God, who created all things, and who ultimately owns all things?

If all our dreams and hopes in life come to nothing, would we turn our back on our God, or would we realize that though we have nothing, we still have the Prize? By “prize” I mean the greatest gift, pleasure and possession we could ever, ever dream of: Jesus Christ.

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