Kari and I read Hebrews 11 this morning, simply because it was the next chapter in our study together, and it’s amazing how closely it followed what we had talked about. It’s a big part of what is so awesome to me about God’s timing, because if you didn’t already guess, Hebrews 11 is more famously known as the Faith Chapter. 🙂
If you asked my boy, he’d never remember the exact day. We do, of course. We took his picture, wrote in his bible, and it was a reason to celebrate. But to him, it happened, and it doesn’t matter if he can remember the exact hour of the day or what the sunset looked like. Do you think that matters to Christ? C’mon. My boy made a decision to believe, and God honored it. That doesn’t mean that because he got saved that he’s golden. It’s not like he has a monopoly on life, some kind of Get Out of Jail Free card. There is still the consequence of temptations, his actions, his sin. That’s why the bible says to daily crucify that nature, to follow Him. Following him means that we are on a path. We can fall away, go whatever direction that we want, and I really believe we can throw away the gift that was given and be just as lost as if we were never found. That’s the sweet and sour of having the free will to choose for ourselves. But God doesn’t forget our promises. We do. Putting on the armor daily, being transformed by the renewing of the mind, these verses are about daily actions that produce fruit, that keep us drawing nearer to Jesus instead of falling further away. Whether we live to see the reward of that on Earth or not, we will reap it in eternity. To those of you out there with questions, searching for answers: What you are doing, seeking Him and the truth, having questions and digging for the answers, it’s not wrong. It’s something you are supposed to do. You’ve got to know what you stand for. You’ve got to be ready to give an account.
(Heb 11:6) It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
It’s a daily walk, even when we can’t see. Some of the most well known Christians never saw the fruits of their faith, or had the answers written out for them. In fact I can pretty much guarantee that what they experienced in their lives probably didn’t make any sense at all. Stephen was stoned for standing up for his faith. He had no idea that one of the men that would watch him die would go on to become Paul, the writer of almost half of the New Testament. Fox’s Book of Martyrs is filled with Christians who were persecuted even to death … They are a testament in and of themselves. They couldn’t have known that the record of their faith would give generations the courage to stand for their own.
Faith is first, and I really believe that God meets us in that action. None of us are ever going to have it all figured out. What fun would that be to have all the answers, to know the ending before you even read the first chapter? C.S. Lewis wrote a book about being Surprised by Joy. The title says it all. The joy is finding Jesus and His signature in the most unexpected of circumstances, realizing His workmanship where we least expect it… What more refreshing way to discover this gift than to open a little piece of it every morning.
I remember the anticipation, a few nights before Christmas, when my brother and I would sneak to the tree, armed with a razor blade and Scotch tape, ready to perform delicate surgery on every present under the tree. We’d open them up just enough to see the gift, then quickly cover our tracks and re-wrap them, hiding the evidence of any fore-knowledge with a new, fresh peice of tape. That way mom and dad wouldn’t have a clue… yes, we were sooooo sneaky. To me, that’s what happens when we forget what following Christ should feel like. Every day there’s a new chance to be amazed. Only we’ve childishly covered up and removed any evidence of that joy.
If I wake up one morning and I’m not interested, or I’m too smart to be surprised, it won’t be because I just grew up, it will only be that I’ve forgotten the cost of that gift, the price that was paid and how precious it really is.