[re]Defining Faith: Worlds Collide

Since my first post on “[re]Defining Faith” covered what I have been referring to as “the faith equation” (belief + action = faith), I thought it might be good to go back to the beginning and focus on the first step of entering into faith: belief.

Belief:
1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

(Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)


Belief independent of action is not faith; action independent of belief is not faith. True belief leading to action becomes faith. Faith is not something that a person automatically enters into, it is something that is grown into… or as scripture says… it is something that you work out ‘with much fear and trembling.’ American Christianity tends to focus more on outside appearance and positive actions rather than a solid foundation of belief. Unfortunately, this “Drive-Thru window” model is extremely unhealthy to practice and very unbiblical (probably one of the reasons so many abandon Christianity due to ‘hypocrisy’). It’s like putting on a suit without bathing… you might look nice, but anyone who gets close to you can smell that you’re dirty. Discipleship is the healthy way to foster a solid belief, remember we’re not a kingdom of one. Plus, discipleship is the cure to the disease of out-of-context doctrines/beliefs and transfers knowledge rather than ‘lone-wolfing’ it. Discipleship is the school for belief, a person cannot have a solid faith without the foundation of belief.

How does one come to the realization of God that we label ‘belief?’ There are two different explanations for this in scripture: (1) Being born into, raised, then continuing in the faith  (2) Abandoning a secular life and following Jesus. Since number one is pretty self-explanatory, I’ll focus on an example of the second statement “abandoning a secular life and following Jesus.”

The third definition of belief listed above best exemplifies what happens when a person comes face to face with the reality of Jesus’ truth:

3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

When a person comes face to face with the realization that there is a power or truth greater than his own, I call this a moment when “Worlds Collide.” Your world collides with that of God’s and you are only left with two options, follow his will or continue with your own. This moment affects everyone in a different manner, but there is a commonality: change.

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), he broke all the rules. He was speaking to a person from an ethnic background that was not considered equal with his own. It was also against custom for a teacher to directly associate with a woman in public… especially this woman. She had quite the reputation in her town. After the initial exchange, she realized she was standing face to face with her savior. Her reaction to this exemplifies the type of change that takes place when God’s world collides with our own and we choose God’s, her life changed. Her life changed so drastically that the town people came out to meet this Jesus who had such a profound impact on this woman’s life.

There are many examples throughout scripture of individuals whose life was changed, because of their realization of God through Jesus’ teaching and life. Another person was Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Zacchaeus was a high-ranking official in Jericho and had made much of his money by cheating people. It caused quite a stir when Jesus announced he would be staying with him. Over dinner that evening Zacchaeus’ life was changed. Jesus’ message of the kingdom that uses the excess/talent of one person to meet the needs of another (as John the Baptist prophesied) resounded with Zacchaeus. How did he respond to Jesus’ teachings? He gave half of his possessions to the poor and with his remaining half, he compensated those from whom he’d cheated four times the amount he took.

The statement below best sums up the transformation that takes place when a person becomes a follower of Jesus:

“Being a follower of Christ is not about doing good deeds, it’s about the radical transformation from a self-centered values system to a Christ-centered values system.”

-Denis Roy (New Day Church)

When a person begins to follow Jesus, his entire mindset is changed from a “me” centered worldview to a concern for others and God… the revelation that “I” am not the center of the universe.

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