Everyone remembers that classic scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indy has arrived at a divide between where he stands and his final clue. But as he looks across the canyon there doesn’t appear to be a way across. “It’s too far to jump” He says. And it is. It’s an impossible distance. So he closes his eyes, sticks one foot out and starts to lean forward into the canyon. But his foot catches on something. That’s when he is able to see the bridge that was always there.
It’s hard to beat classic movies like Indiana Jones. Of course, the effects leave you wanting a little bit in todays world, but they’re still pretty good.
Today we’re asking the question: Do you feel like you lack faith? Do you wish you had more faith? If I told you that there was a way for you to build your faith and get more faith as a result of doing something, would you do it?
While what I’m going to suggest to you today is a way to build your faith, I don’t want to overpromise. However, I do believe it is a huge missing component in our discussions about faith.
Most of the time we talk about faith as a feeling. It’s this mysterious feeling we have to muster up within our hearts so that God’s power can move among us. When it comes to that, I’m no expert. But, as much as faith is a feeling, it’s also a function.
In 1 John 5:4-5 we read this: “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Remember, the world is the system that is opposed to God. The world is under the control of the antichrist, the devil who seeks to undermine God at every turn. The world is the salty sea that we are immersed in, the sea that puts us at risk for corrosion and rust if we surrender to its forces. It’s something God alone can protect us from. But only when we are abiding in Him.
Who is it that overcomes the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the son of God. What is the victory that overcomes the world? Our Faith.
If you grew up in the church you may remember singing the hymn: “faith is the victory”. The chorus of that hymn was taken from these verses: “Faith is the victory, faith is the victory. O glorious victory that overcomes the world.” Unfortunately, the rest of the hymn talks more about battle and warfare than it talks about what John said surrounding that verse. The kind of faith that overcomes the world is what we have been talking about in this series.
It’s the faith that believes and confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. And it’s the faith that sacrificially loves one another.
A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued:
“Is anyone up there?”
“I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?”
“Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer.”
“That’s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch.”
A moment of pause, then: “Is anyone else up there?”
The problem is, when it comes to faith, we often want another way. We want to experience the power of God without having to fulfill the requirements of His one command. It’s just one command, love one another as I have loved you, but as it turns out, it can be a pretty challenging command.
We find ourselves hanging from a cliff asking for someone else or any other way. Instead of trusting the giver of the command to know where we will land when we obey, we ask if there are any other ideas.
A.W. Tozer said: “The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin.” There is no such thing a faith without reciprocal obedience. If our faith doesn’t move us to action, we don’t have faith.
If I say I have faith that a bridge will support me, but I won’t walk across that bridge, do I have faith? No. At what point do I have faith in the bridge? When I walk across it. That’s when Indy had faith. James says the same thing, “Faith without works is dead.” What were the works James was talking about? Loving one another, caring for orphans and widows.
Do you want more faith? The way to have more faith is to love one another more. It sounds silly, but the way to grow our faith is by exercising it. Just like a muscle the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. When we were children, learning how to walk, we didn’t do so well. It wasn’t such a big deal because we were smaller and closer to the ground, so it didn’t hurt too bad when we fell.
When we are young in our faith and we go to start walking it out, we’re like toddlers. We wobble. But it’s such a crucial time for us. It’s when we build the muscles of our faith. If we wait to learn how to walk until we’ve “grown up”, it’s harder to learn how to walk and more likely to hurt when we fall.
So, wherever we are, right now is the time to start living out our faith. Now is the time to put it into practice. We’ve waited too long. It’s not going to be easy, but over time we will build up our muscles and before we know it, we’ll look on the outside the way we feel on the inside – a new creation.