Have You been living on the faith of others?
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” -2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)
Recently the front man for a well-known Christian band confessed publicly that he doesn’t believe in God anymore. By his own admission, he was raised in a Christian home and did all the things that would be attached to following Jesus. But now he’s announced to the world that he’s not a believer.
His declaration follows a string of such renunciations to hit the news. Among the questions we ask ourselves in the wake are these: Did he lose his salvation? Was he ever saved? Or is he simply going through a time of questioning?
Clearly, only God knows the answer to that.
It does highlight an urgent clarion call to everyone who claims to be a Christian:
Be sure you know what you believe.
In the Gospels of the New Testament, the Lord Jesus described the types of people upon whom the seed of the Good News would fall. One was the person upon whose heart the seed fell as upon a roadside. This heart was hard and beaten down, and the seed could not take root. The second person was the one who had little depth of soil, and the plant sprung up but couldn’t take root. The third was the person whose life was so full of the weeds of sin and worry that the seed was choked out and died. One person, however, had the depth and receptive heart in which the seed of life could take hold and flourish.
“The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” -Matthew 13:20-21 (NASB)
A couple of months ago, I read about how to grow new celery from the base of an old bunch. I followed the directions, placing the stump in a shallow dish of water. Sure enough, I soon saw a new bunch of tender green growth. I planted the base in soil and watched with satisfaction as the new growth continued. I couldn’t wait for the harvest.
Then one day, the new growth began to wilt. I checked the soil, and it wasn’t dry. It continued to wilt until it completely died. I pulled it up out of the soil and discovered that it had no roots. It had only lived as long as the original stump was there. But as the stump died, the new plant had no way to survive.
A plant with no roots looks just like a rooted plant for a while. It takes the elements of time and testing to reveal whether it will wither or grow to produce fruit. The Lord uses these elements to test and reveal the validity of our beliefs.
As we negotiate a strange and uncertain world, it is crucial that we make sure the confession of our faith. We are gifted with this day, and this day only, to make things right with God. Tomorrow we may be victims of a pandemic or other earth-shaking event. Tomorrow, any of us could be standing before God.
Today is the day to check out your root system. Do you know what you believe? Is your faith one that is rooted in Jesus Christ, or have you been living on the faith of others? If the world should fall, will you stand?
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
-Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)