Saturday, June 11, 2016

Journey to Anthem: The Faith Factor

"We are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers."

It is now less than 2 months until I move to Anthem, Arizona. I am overwhelmingly excited to be starting a new chapter in my life out west, and am eager to see how God uses Crosslife Church to bring hope and restoration to our city through Christ. 

When the discussion first began over a year ago, there were certainly many doubts in my mind regarding the whole process. Where would I live? What kind of a job would I have with the church? Would I be able to find new violin students in Anthem? 

The list goes on....

In a surprising twist though, these doubts are still in my mind. I still don't have an apartment lined up, my job situation is up in the air, I have not been approached yet about any sort of music work.

But somehow, none of these questions keep me up at night. I have NO answers, yet I have never been more certain of anything in my life as I am of the fact that God wants me to go West.

For a while I thought that this meant that my faith was growing... and of course in my pride I would pat myself on the back and marvel at how much I was maturing as a Christian.

But no no no no no. This is NOT at all what was going on in my Spirit. In fact, those moments of seemingly great faith NEVER correlated with a "God moment."

I started to notice a pattern. When I had the biggest moments of doubt, THAT was when God chose to show Himself. It was never when I felt like my faith was the strongest, but in the moments of weakness that God provided. 

This is a pattern I have noticed throughout scripture. 

In Matthew 17 we read an account where the disciples were attempting to drive out a demon from a boy, but were unsuccessful. (Jesus of course did so with no problem.)

"Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” “Because of your little faith,” He told them. “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:19-20

Notice what Jesus NOT saying. 

He is NOT telling them that they were not trying hard enough, or that they weren't doing enough, or concentrating enough. 

He IS telling them that their faith is misplaced. Even the TINIEST amount of faith in Jesus comes with GREAT power, because Jesus has INFINITE power at his disposal. Colossians 1:15-20 describes the Jesus this way:

"He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by Him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him. 
He is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together. 
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have
first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross- 
whether things on earth or things in heaven."

Do you follow the point here? When I was young I just assumed that Jesus wanted me to have more faith in Him - and so I tried to build that up, somehow, which is really hard for a man to do on his own (impossible, even). 

Imagine the relief I feel now, knowing that the amount of faith that I have is not the question, it is the Object of my faith - Christ! Even if my faith is small, He remains mighty. The same One that created all things and has redeemed all things by his death and resurrection is asking me to TRUST HIM. 

Jesus just wants me. He wants me to stop striving, stop worrying, stop trying to prove myself, stop trying to provide for myself apart from Him. 

The Object of our faith is FAR more important than the amount of faith that we possess. 

I always got frustrated how the characters on the tv program LOST would always talk about "You just have to have faith, Jack" or "I'm just going to have faith that this works" without ever mentioning what their faith was in. Having faith for the sake of itself is pointless. BUT, if we are placing our faith in a GOOD God who knows every detail of our lives and desires to be in a relationship with him, then we truly can have assurance of our faith. 

"Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen." 
- Hebrews 11:1

Imagine how pointless it would be to have a great amount of faith in my own ability to work things out for my own good, or how fruitless it would be to have faith that things were going to work out simply because I thought it... No matter how awesome a person I may be, I will NEVER have that kind of power. 

So, at the end of the day, my faith is growing yes, but not because I have done anything - but because the reality of what I hope for is found in Christ - and I have PROOF through his resurrection that He is who He says He is, and His power is limitless. 

That is something we can rest in.