Faith and common sense work together

Have you ever sat in a chair that couldn’t hold your weight? There’s nothing like that terror as the legs wobble beneath you, and you freeze, paralyzed with uncertainty, because if you move at all, it might collapse and hurt you. At the very least, you’ll look like an idiot. My friends, welcome to faith.

That’s an encouraging thought, right? Faith is like a cheap plastic chair that you aren’t sure will hold your weight until you sit in it. That’s what it feels like sometimes, and honestly there is some truth to that concept.

If you rest your whole weight on a chair that’s too flimsy to support you, it’ll collapse beneath you. That’s just the way gravity works. That’s also the way cheap plastic works too. And to a certain extent, you won’t know if it will hold you until you try sitting in it.

God doesn’t ask for blind faith

Yes, sitting in a plastic chair takes faith. But faith doesn’t have to be blind, and anyone who tells you differently doesn’t really know what he believes in.

Do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit.... There are many false prophets in the world. - 1 John 4:1Personally, I know there’s a lot of me to hold up, so I usually test a chair before I sit in it.

That’s not a lack of faith. That’s just common sense.

And I think that’s where a lot of folks gets confused, because faith and common sense don’t have to be at odds with each other.

Even the Bible says that we’re supposed to think about what we believe and why we believe it (1 John 4:1). Jesus never commanded us to turn our brains off. In fact, He said the opposite. (1 Peter 5:8)

Now, does that mean we’ll understand everything?

Instead of answering, let me ask another question. Do you understand everything anyway?

Faith isn’t an exclusively religious concept. Everyone has faith in some form or another, whether we’re talking about relationships or job positions or the integrity of a plastic chair’s design.

Most of the important questions of life can’t be answered without faith. Granted, maybe your faith is in science, but science can’t explain everything either, which is why some supposed sciences are accepted on faith. (And if you’ve been paying attention to the scientific community over the years, you’d notice that science continually proves the Bible is true. But that’s another blog post.)

The point is, you don’t have to sacrifice common sense to have faith.

You don't have to sacrifice common sense to have faith. - A.C. WilliamsIf a cheap plastic chair doesn’t look like it’s going to support you, don’t sit in it. If a pastor on YouTube is promising success and prosperity if you donate to his organization, you don’t have to do it if you don’t think he’s on the level. If a charity demonstrates a lack of ability to monitor their accounting, you aren’t required by faith to give your money to them.

Don’t turn your brain off. God doesn’t ask you to be blind. He’s gone to painstaking lengths to prove who He is through His Word and through the experiences of people who’ve followed Him.

So ask Him questions. Ask His followers questions. Examine Him. Get to know who He is for yourself, not just the picture that other people paint. He’s waiting for you.

Try it His way and see what happens. You might be surprise how common-sensical following Jesus actually is.

Faith isn’t blind if you know who you’re trusting

Christ-followers talk about faith a lot. It’s one of the most basic, most essential tenets of following Jesus. We have faith that the Bible is 100% true. We have faith that Jesus is who He said He is. We have faith that God will keep all His promises. We have faith that living the way God says is right will result in blessings in our lives. And the list goes on and on.

But somewhere along the line, faith earned a reputation for being blind. It’s not, and it never has been. Blind faith is naivete, lazy, foolish, and dangerous. God demands that we have faith, yes, but not without providing copious evidence that what He’s asking us to believe is true.

There’s faith and there’s recklessness. Some people think it’s the same, but it’s not. Being reckless is spending money you don’t have and expecting God to replace it. It’s living irresponsibly and expecting God to pick up the pieces for you. Reckless living means you don’t think. You just feel. And while there’s an element of feeling in faith, faith should always always be based on the solid bedrock of Scripture.

A3FFD863B6Today’s verses are Hebrews 3:7-11.

“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled,
when they tested me in the wilderness.
There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
So I was angry with them, and I said,
‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

Faith doesn’t test God. Granted, there’s a verse about tithing and giving to the church where God invites you to test Him (Malachi 3:10). That if you give sacrificially to God’s work, God will bless you abundantly. But there’s no verse in Scripture inviting you to test God’s mercy with driving drunk or even driving buzzed. There’s no verse in Scripture that says it’s okay to immerse yourself in debt and expect God to help you pay it off.

When Satan came to tempt Jesus, I think Christ’s response should guide our actions when it comes to taking unnecessary, reckless risks. Because if Jesus wouldn’t test God by throwing Himself into danger and expecting God to save Him, we shouldn’t either.

But what is faith then if it isn’t blind?

I know many people who have made choices that seem reckless. I have friends who’ve left a comfortable American life to live in third-world nations with corrupt governments. Some live there alone. Others are raising a family in that environment. And many people I know hear about them and comment on how dangerous they are. It sounds reckless. It sounds like blind faith, leaping into a dangerous situation and trusting God to get you out of it. But it’s not. It’s very different.

First of all, faith is knowing who God is and what He expects from His children. He expects us to follow Him, to agree with Him, to say that what He says is right. But the second part of faith is action. It’s doing what God says to do, going where He says to go, living how He says to live. And that is different for each and every Christ-follower.

For some, God directs them to leave their homes and travel through dangerous countries telling others about Jesus, but if God has told them to go, they’re safer in those dangerous lands than they would be at home. For others, God has told them to walk away from their jobs and live a life devoted to Him and to ministry and to others, and if God wants them to do that, He’ll provide a better way of a life for them than if they made six-figure salaries.

I guess, what it comes down to is that it’s not what you do for God that matters. It’s why you do it.

Faith isn’t blind if you know who you’re trusting. If you’re following God with your whole heart, He won’t lead you into a situation He can’t get you out of. And even though your actions may seem crazy to everyone else, if God is leading you, you need to follow.

If you live recklessly expecting God to put your life back together when you’re done having fun, you’ll regret it. God will help you, but it won’t be easy. If you give your life to God now and He leads you to do something the world calls reckless, that’s a completely different story. It may not turn out how you expect, but you can trust God will provide because that’s what He’s promised to do.