What Faith Looks Like | Part 1: Trust Fall Fails
April 19, 2021
April 19, 2021
I have grown to love texting with GIFs. There is a botched trust fall GIF that has become one of one my favorites, or at least one of my most commonly used.
I love this GIF so much for a variety of reasons. It’s clearly taking place in a church, probably in front of a lot of other people, and the irony of the failure and the “Hope” sign in the background is just too rich.
Trust falls, though, when properly executed, are often used as an illustration for what faith really is. Today, in our text, we want to come to a better understanding of what true faith really is.
Before we get to the true substance of this text and its definition of faith, I found it enormously helpful to try and define some of the things that faith is NOT. So let’s do that first, because I think doing so will expose some of the false beliefs we might have about faith, and therefore make room for a true understanding of faith that can take root.
What Faith is Not
First, faith is not confidence in God to bless you in such a way that makes your earthly life easy and comfortable. We are often tempted to reason that because God is good all the time, He can only produce good things in life that we experience in a good way. The temptation is to believe that our lives have one aim—a life of ease as defined by us.
Now, we all know that God wishes to bless us, but this vision of faith that our lives are supposed to be easy comes crashing down on the rocks of reality. A life of faith is not a life of ease. It’s something else.
Second, faith is not mere agreement with certain truths. I think in our day, when relativism runs rampant, this is less of a temptation. But still, some of us might be tempted to reduce faith to a mere agreement in certain truths. When you become a member at this church, you do agree, after all, with a “statement of FAITH.” So there are certainly truth statements that we “faith” in or “believe” in … and when we are faced with crises in our life, one of the things we must do is speak these truths to ourselves in order to bolster our faith. But the fact that we have to speak truths to bolster faith inherently means that there is more to faith than just truths that we believe.
Third, faith is not a blind leap into the unknown. You’ll remember the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which Indiana has to work his way through various ancient obstacles to get to the Holy Grail, and one of those was a blind step of faith out over a cliff. He closed his eyes and put his whole weight into a step out over an abyss. The riddle that encouraged this action equated that step with “faith.”
Sometimes, when we talk about “just having faith,” we are saying, “You’ve just got to act contrary to all that you know to be true and trust that things are going to work out the way you want them to.”
To be sure, there certainly can be elements of the supernatural when it comes to faith, and there are certainly elements of faith that make it run contrary to wisdom. But we certainly don’t want to conclude that faith is the antithesis of science or reality grounded in facts. Faith is not merely a blind leap into the unknown.
Lastly, faith is not mere devotion to any god one chooses. This definition of faith suggests that a particular set of beliefs is of less importance, if not unimportant. What matters the most is sincerity. What matters is a commitment. And that sincere commitment is what transforms the individual into a more purposeful, virtuous, or loving person. In other words, faith is synonymous with spirituality. You could be a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a New Age Medicine Woman … be very sincere and committed … and be a person of deep faith.
Do any of these cut you just a bit? Sting a little? A lot?
Or maybe the Lord has now put someone in your mind that would define faith one of these ways, and you are now burdened for them?
Good. Because none of these approaches to faith—faith as God’s goodness to you, faith as creed, faith as a blind leap, and faith as sincere devotion—does justice to the true portrait of authentic Christian faith as presented in Hebrews 10 and 11. Next time, we’ll look at what faith IS.
Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.