1 John 5:4
I like Mr John Zebedee, dude of a temper and volatility so notable that Jesus nicknamed him and his brother James as ‘Boanerges’, Sons of Thunder.
He was vain enough to mention pointedly that he sat with his head on Jesus’ chest at The Last Supper, loyal enough to have stayed at the Cross, lucky enough to have witness the Transfiguration, strong enough to have endured being boiled in oil for his faith, and cool enough to have shown no effect.
Do I have the courage to be deep fried for my God? In my bones, I think not.
So what empowered this man to go this far? What was the engine with him that ensured he fought the good fight?
When this gentleman speaks of faith, he has earned our consideration in spades.
We all have great faith. Most of us have most of our faith in nonbelief and disbelief. It sustains us. It informs us. It takes us through.
Some of us have plenty of faiths. All kinds of faiths. Lucky clothes, colours and calculations. Lucky days and people. Signs, omen s and talismans. Shooting stars and dandelion feathers. Eyelashes on fists. Horoscopes, astorology, palmisty and psychics. Wow, the crap we set the course of our life by.
Faith in the universe of true faith in a true God for a true reason and a true hope. Faith is exhausting. We have to think through it. We have to remember the landmarks. To remember we have to commit to memory. We have to STUDY it. We have to practise it. Faith will engage the marrow in your bones and ask, demand and insist. Faith can be as painful as it is palliative. Faith kept John’s nerve when boiling in oil, and faith kept his course steady after the hot oil had proved ineffective. He doesn’t mention it anywhere. I see his faith enjoying the miracle, and he did not bother to stand out and bleat a teatimony. It was his private joy, such was his faith.
We fake faith. Occupying ourselves with Christian pleasantries is so much easier. And so much more fun … sing and clap and dance and airkiss. It is so much easier to belch a Praise The Lord or burp an AMEN! So much easier to make cooing sounds, distribute warm hugs and visits. All of which is wonderful when you are easing a new brother or sister into your Church, but how many of us realise that it is bordering on betrayal when that composes most of your Christian life for years on end.
Jesus did not die on the Cross so that you and I could be social milquetoasts. Saccharine behaviour does not a Christian make. There are millions, indeed hundreds of millions of people who are not Christians yet they are wonderfully behaved people, living by a robust moral code, pillars of their home and society, a credit to their workplace ….. and they do not have FAITH.
Do I have faith? Does it guide “every breath I take every move I make”. Do I live as if God is telling me “I am watching you”?
In John 16:33, the Saviour says, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Do we radiate that overcom-ness? Do we believe that the lifeforce in us is the lifeforce that has “overcome the world”?