About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Facing Reality With Faith


Sometimes life's reality moments sneak up on us without warning.  Some are a pleasant surprise.  Others are unsettling and stressful.  When an unwanted reality-check strikes a blow to your life, how do you respond?  Does faith help?  What really is faith anyway?


Our English words "faith" or "believe" that you read in the New Testament are translated from the Greek noun "pistis" or verb "pisteuo."  These words mean trust, as in "I trust my life with Jesus."  Like many Biblical words and concepts, our western-world religious culture has devalued, dumbed-down, or redefined the meaning of faith. 


If you claim to have faith in Jesus, you claim to trust Him.  You not only trust Jesus for your salvation, for heaven, for forgiveness, or for healing.  You trust your entire life with Him.  When, therefore, unwelcomed reality wakes you from the routine of life, which it will sooner or later, you trust Jesus no matter what transpires.  The three Jewish men seen in Daniel 3:17 and 18 said it best.


"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."


The words "but even if He does not" in these men's confession of faith tell us that they not only trusted God to rescue them from the flames of death, they trusted Him even if He stood back and watched them die.  Their undying faith in the face of death would have been their greatest witness for the God they served.     


The Apostle Paul faced a similar reality.  I believe his most powerful witness for his Lord was his demonstration of trust in Jesus as the Roman soldier sliced Paul's head from his shoulders.  That must have impacted the soldier as he pulled the bloody sword from Paul's lifeless body.  Such expressions of faith among persecuted Christians throughout the first three centuries were common.  They believed their trust in Jesus in the midst of an unsettling reality was their ultimate witness for Him.   


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who exhibited courageous faith as he was being executed by Hitler's regime.  The doctor overseeing Bonhoeffer's execution noted that he had never seen anyone die in such a state of peacefulness.  Bonhoeffer's trust in Jesus in the face of his unwelcomed reality was a powerful witness to those who saw him die in faith.       


This is not meant to be depressing.  It is meant to drive us deeper into the faith we claim to possess.  Genuine faith produces a genuine reality that rises above the unwanted reality-checks of life.  Our demonstration of faith in the midst of unwelcomed reality is our ultimate witness for our Lord and Saviour.  It might well lead someone to Jesus, and isn't that what we want?   


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