As the tightrope walker picks up his balancing pole and ventures out onto a rope stretched high above the valley below, what characteristics does he or she exhibit when they take that first step?
- Trust - That the rope is strong enough and that his abilities are good enough.
- Faith - He exhibits faith in the rope manufacturer, the pole manufacturer and even his shoe manufacturer.
- Hope - Hope that a sudden wind gust doesn't come up and blow him off the rope.
- Courage - It takes someone very confident in their abilities to risk their life for no apparent reason.
They are similar in another way too. If the rope or the ice breaks, if the soldier makes on false step there is every possibility that they could die.
What of the Christian then? By definition the Christian has placed his faith and trust in Christ. He has hope for a future beyond this world. But do we have courage?
In God's Word, every time an angel appears, we are told to "fear not." Guess what? Every time an angel appears the people in the story are always afraid. That's just the way we are.
At this week's Bible study we were reading through the fourth chapter of Romans. At the end of the chapter we read this:
"13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." - Romans 4:13-25
We can have hope, we can say we trust in God, we can even have strength in whatever we believe in but I believe it is our faith in God that matters most. Abraham's faith gave him hope, his faith made it possible to trust God and it was Abraham's faith that made him a strong leader - the leader of nations.
Do you remember Peter when he saw Jesus walking across the water. Peter took a step of faith and actually walked on the water himself. But soon self-doubt and distractions weakened Peter's faith and he began to sink. That is what I think is wrong with many Christians today, including myself.
When I first came to believe there were many things I wanted to do for God. I thought about going to seminary to become a youth pastor. I thought about quitting my job so I could write a book. I thought about spending as much time as I could trying to reach people for Christ. Yet, when decision time came I began to sing like Peter, with the first crashing wave. Where was MY faith?
If I am worried what my wife will think, if I am worried where my next paycheck will come from, if I am worried about how I am going to make the house payment or pay the electric bill, where is my faith? It's nowhere, man. I have already fallen off the tightrope without even taking a step. What kind of Christian am I? Not a very good one I am afraid.
Our faith in Christ is so vital! We can't afford to second guess or doubt when He calls us. We must be like Samuel when we hear God speaking into our lives.
"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." - 1 Samuel 3:9
Let us be a people who are always ready to answer . . . and act. May our faith be as strong as Abraham's, never doubting, even though things seemed impossible. Our trust, our hope, our faith and our strength is in The Lord. Let us not be afraid to take that step of faith when we are called.
Nic Wallenda Praises Jesus as he walks across the Grand Canyon