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Between Reason And Faith


The Greek word "pisteuo" is translated as "to believe or to have faith" in the New Testament.  For example, "For God so loved the world that whosoever believes "  The word "believes" is translated from the present active Greek participle "pisteuo".  If you understand the meaning of "pisteuo" and how it's used in the New Testament you'll know that John 3:16 tells us that whosoever becomes one who actively trusts his life to Jesus is one who will inherit eternal life.  This is in sharp contrast to the commonly mistaken notion that whosoever mentally believes or simply acknowledges the existence of a historic Jesus inherits eternal life.       


To have faith, or to believe, is more than recognizing the existence of Jesus.  Faith is also not a commodity that you can get more of.  You can't pull a bit of faith off a heavenly shelf in hopes of getting what you've claimed and feel you deserve.  As a matter of fact, Romans 12:3 tells us that genuine faith in Jesus can't be obtained without Jesus giving us the ability to have faith.  In other words, we're so depraved that we can't trust our lives to Jesus without His help. 


Faith is trust, as in trusting Jesus with your life.  It's a passive position wherein we rest in the assurance that what we've entrusted Jesus with, He'll take care of as He sees fit, not as we see fit.  Faith is flopping yourself down into the arms of Jesus and letting Him take control.  That sounds easy, but if you're honest, you'll admit that it's not as easy as it sounds.            


At the other end of the spectrum from faith is reason.  Inherent in every human being from creation is the God given ability to reason issues through.  Although human reasoning apart from the Holy Spirit's influence is flawed, with His influence it's vital to life.  For example, reasoning Biblical issues through educates us in the ways of God.      


Attempting to find a balance between faith and reason isn't always easy.  Some people throw caution to the wind and do all sorts of weird things in the name of faith in Jesus.  Others do nothing because they're paralyzed by an inability to give reason a rest.  As with most things in life, the truth of any given matter lies in between two extremes, and in this case, between faith and reason. 


Finding that place where both faith and reason co-exist in a balanced harmony is important as we walk through the tunnel of life as Christians.  To your right in this tunnel is the wall of reason.  To your left is the wall of faith.  Straight ahead are countless obstacles that challenge your ability to keep this balanced harmony.  The Apostle Peter understood these challenging obstacles to be trials that test our trust in Jesus. (1 Peter 1:6 9)  I might add that they also test our ability to soundly reason things through.  


If we claim to trust in Jesus, then, in order to confirm, strengthen, and deepen, our trust, Jesus allows unsettling situations to block our path in the tunnel of life.  These obstacles lie at the edge of our ability to trust and to reason and are meant to expand our borders of both.  So reluctantly we hold onto Jesus for dear life and take the first step head long into the obstacle.  We may stumble at times as we face reality.  In our attempt to find balanced harmony we may bounce our heads off the wall of reason and we may bounce our hearts off the wall of faith.  We may just bounce from wall to wall, from faith to reason and back again.  When it's all said and done, we'll trust Jesus more than ever, and our God given ability to reason will be sharpened.          


On a personal level, some serious obstacles have prevented my wife and I over the last few months from strolling peacefully through our tunnel of life.  They include the prolonged illness of my wife, a major loss of income, a car accident that wrote off our van, and more.  It would have been nice if these obstacles would have come one at a time with a quiet spot in between, but they haven't.  They're all jammed together, causing us to deal with them all at once.      


As I attempt to maneuver my way through these trials I find myself bouncing from wall to wall, from faith to reason and back from reason to faith.  I can't neglect my God given ability to reason my way through these issues.  Although some may question this, Jesus did give me a brain and I'm sure He expects me to use it.  Still, there are times when my intellect is stretched to its limit.  After bouncing my head off the wall of reason one too many times, I ricochet off the wall of faith.  One day I trust.  The next day I reason.  Finding a place of rest where faith and reason co-exist in a balanced harmony is hard to find at times, but when it's found, and when it's all said and done, with my God given ability to reason intact, I trust Jesus more than ever.   


Neither faith nor the ability to reason just drop out of the sky and into our lives.  Both are worked into our lives through trials that prevent us from strolling peacefully through the tunnel of life.  As hard as this is at times, this is how we mature in the Lord.  At this point many turn around in search of an easier tunnel to stroll through.    


I'm reminded of the three Jewish guys in Daniel 6.  They had great faith that God would save them from being burned to a crisp in a furnace of fire.  God did rescue them and they did continue to live productive lives here on earth.  I'm also reminded of Stephen in Acts 7.  He had great faith too, but God didn't rescue him as He rescued the three Jewish guys.  As the rocks were being hurled at his head, Stephen fell to his knees and died a painful death.  It's not that Jesus left Stephen to die in a pool of blood.  The text states that Jesus stood up from His throne in heaven, and with arms wide open, welcomed Stephen into His presence, and I bet you with a huge hug.  I mention this to point out that Jesus might not rescue us from the trials as we hope or expect.  He will, however, rescue us in the way He sees fit.  If we trust Jesus with our lives, we must trust Him to do what He knows is best.  May His will be done.   


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