By Lance Cordle
Recently I reached into a closet to get some trash bags. I was in sort of a hurry, so I did not bother to turn on enough light to see the bags. I remembered that I had previously placed them on the top shelf of the closet, so I reached upward for them. To my surprise, they were not there. I knew that I had put them there, so I began to feel about for them, and finally felt them down at the bottom of the shelf, where they had fallen. Confident that I had placed them on the top shelf, I logically believed that they had fallen. Instead of turning on the light, in faith I reached down and picked them up.
My actions in regard to the closet demonstrate trust in myself and past actions. We use trust (faith) daily, by believing in people and things. But, somehow, people want to make faith itself divine when they speak of believing in God. Sometimes people speak of “leaning on” their faith to get them through a crisis. At other times, someone may speak of their “brand” of faith—In an obituary, the deceased may be described as being “of the __________ faith.” (Insert denomination or religion).
It seems to me that the act of believing is made to be the powerful force rather than the object of the faith. In all my life, I should lean on God, through faith..
Let me see if I can explain myself a little more clearly. Take Abraham, for example. In Hebrews 11:8, it is said, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.” But on what basis did Abraham go out? Was it an illogical trust? Was it blind faith in a being he had no dealings with previously? I submit to you that it was neither. In fact, though all of Hebrews 11 deals with deeds done through faith, the object of, and the facilitator of the mighty deeds was God himself. Faith was the avenue by which God was allowed to work in the lives of those listed in that great chapter. Without God, they were nothing. They could have trusted in someone else—and failed.
When I choose to trust, my trust (faith) is only as good as the object of that trust. My actions are based upon my understanding and interaction with the object before I place my trust in it. Some like to describe faith as being illogical or as a better “felt-than-told” experience. However, just as we allow ourselves to test things on earth, God has sent forth revelation in written form that can be documented (Matthew 4:4, 7, 11). He also sent his son at a particular time in history (Galatians 4:4), the act itself, which can be verified by history.
Though faith is a beautiful word and provokes powerful images, we must understand that our faith is only as good as the object of it (Proverbs 3:5, 6). It is not an end in itself. Faith in faith is empty.
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com