Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; (Heb. 12:1-2)
It takes guts, courage, and resilience to be a Christian…who is Spirit-led in their life-plan and calling…through the worldly unconventionality of a God-composed adventure of faith (Jn. 16:13).
The stereotypical judgment by some people that Christians are by nature weak…because they think we lean upon God and use Him as a crutch to get through the storms and challenges of life…is an inaccurate assessment …a faulty impression…based upon the starting viewpoint of skeptical unbelief regarding the existence of God…but more importantly also based upon an incorrect understanding of biblical faith (Heb. 11:1).
The idea that following the God of the Bible into an adventure of faith…is a sign of weakness…could not be farther from the actual truth.
Even the most benign of Christian callings will have events and circumstances that contain some measure of difficulty and challenge…because one of the goals of an adventure of faith is for new covenant believers to personally get to know God from the least to the greatest (Jer. 31:34)…in the process our own way falling into the ground to die like a seed…in order to spring up as a tree or plant that produces good fruit (Jn. 12:24).
This is another way of describing picking up our cross to follow Jesus (Mk. 8:34).
For people who have read the Bible…the narrative stories of faith…being highly complex and detailed life-scripts from Abraham to Paul…consist of the most intense and challenging sets of circumstances in human experience…often balanced and teetering on the edge of the precipice of life-threatening events.
I cannot think of a single narrative story in the Bible…that has the people of faith following a care-free life of ease…without encountering divinely orchestrated difficulties and challenges having an end-point purpose in mind.
There is an old proverb that says: “a ship in a harbor is safe, but ships were not made for harbors.”
The whole point of a God-composed adventure of faith life-script…is to take the Old Testament Jewish man or woman…and the New Testament Christian…into a well-designed yet risk-filled series of events and circumstances…to create the humanly unattainable context for a personal relationship between people and God…to actualize into reality.
In that scenario…by intentional design…there is no option other than to rely upon God within our journey of faith. That is the underlying aim…the whole purpose…the essence of a God-composed journey of faith life-script.
A biblical-quality journey of faith…in the living God…and the diametric opposite of autonomous individualism…the hallmark of humanism…do not mix.
To enter into a journey of faith following God…by practical necessity and by definition…human self-sovereignty has to be jettisoned overboard (Heb. 11:6).
This is the context wherein the Christian danger zone of faith exists…and it is not by any stretch of the imagination a zone of human weakness, fear (2 Tim. 1:7), or an unhealthy reliance upon the leadership skills of God (Prov. 3:5-6).
Skeptical unbelief cannot enter into a journey of faith following the God of the Bible…nor accurately opine on the strength or weakness of the Christian reliance upon God…because this judgment comes from a place of ignorance…a total lack of experience in the matter.
How else…by what other means…could God reveal Himself to people on a personal, individualized basis…than to compose supernatural life-scripts that have the risk of catastrophic failure on some level or other…that upon fulfillment and successful completion…completely removes all doubt as to His existence and capacity as God…yet with the possible opposite conclusion…utterly destroying faith and hope should He fail to come through on the reliability and trustworthiness of the outcomes of His callings, mission-plans, and promises?
The perilous wide-open seas…the varied adventures of faith to far-flung destinations outside of the safety of the harbor…that God takes people out into to courageously navigate through…is simply a different environment…a different reality…from remaining safely and securely inside the worldly conventional harbor of self-sovereignty and autonomous individualism…determining our own goals and outcomes as the sole captain of our ship…mapping-out the course of our lives.
Following God into an adventure of faith requires more courage…more fortitude…more elevated character…not less…in comparison to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…because enabling us to know God personally requires the insertion of His higher ways and thoughts into our lives
By necessity…a journey of faith rearranges the vertical order of positions between people and God…with God as the new leader of the expedition…and us now as subordinate followers…which is anathema to the pride of humanism…is contrary to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Heb. 11:16).
A journey of faith…as patterned for us in the Bible…presupposes a divine set-up of the context of risk-filled events and circumstances…in which faith in God can first be established…and then strengthened throughout our lifetimes.
This is not a formula for weakness…the incorrectly supposed weakness of not being able to stand alone…within autonomous individualism…in our own strength to weather and overcome the storms of life.
The theme of this book is that the storms of life…are precisely engineered by God to produce a divinely intentioned work of character reformation in our lives…while at the same time blessing the lives of other people…sometimes in large numbers…but always in loving, unselfish service…which defines a strength of character all its own.
The false contention by some people that relying upon God demonstrates weakness of character…misses the point entirely…because a personal relationship with God cannot exist without placing faith and reliance upon God.
Obviously…if the God of the Bible does not exist…then fabricating a man-invented God that creates a fictional set of religious rituals, dogmas, and principles to base our hope and faith in…would be the ultimate faulty crutch to lean upon…for the needed backbone to face the storms of life.
If this was the reality…then skeptics, unbelievers, and atheists would have a plausible complaint against the Christian life.
But the fundamental problem with the assertion that placing faith in the God of the Bible is weak…is that the biblical narrative stories of faith are so far outside of the calm safety of the harbor of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that these biblical narrative stories of faith could not possibly be the product of humanistic literary fiction.
The biblical narrative stories of faith cannot be the product of human invented religion.
The adventures of faith following God…according to His imaginative life-scripts as recorded in the Bible…do not take us anywhere within worldly conventional expectations and aspirations.
If the biblical narrative stories of faith followed the norms of conventional thinking…to seek and to aim for material wealth, prestige, political power, economic security, and self-fulfillment at any cost while violating integrity, fairness, empathy for other people, and honor…then they could be suspected of being the product of human literary invention.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33)…is a radical reprioritizing of our focus that now includes the previously unknown, novel, and foreign concept…prior to accepting Christ…of placing faith and trust in God as we walk through life with Him.
Discovering and developing faith in God is a formula for an entirely different life-approach…where again…God takes people out into the wide-open seas of a first-hand investigation into an understanding of the knowledge of good and evil (Jn. 16:13)…that is otherwise not accessible through a worldly conventional journey of self.
The redemptive plan of God is to create new spiritual hearts within the people who will accept and trust Him (Jn. 3:1-16)…then lead them safely out of the expectations and aspirations…outside of the harbor of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
The “race that is set before us”…following an individually personalized life-script composed and managed by Jesus Christ the Creator of the universe…takes us to the real, genuine, brave new world…a divinely innovative world of actualized faith in the living God…previewed and patterned for us today in the biblical narrative stories of faith in the Old and New Testaments.