I can already hear the gasps among my fundamentalist friends as they read the title to this article. But don’t worry, my dear friends, I haven’t jumped ship on evangelicalism and adopted a “we’re all going to heaven” theology. No, I still believe the truth that there is only one way to eternal life and that way is by faith alone in Christ alone. So, this article is more about the exercise of faith in general than it is about faith in God (although general “faith” is ultimately meant to lead us to our Creator).
We see a growing number of people around the civilized world, but especially in Europe and America, suggesting rather strongly that, as Nietzsche put it, “God is dead.” And because God is dead, therefore faith is irrelevant and has no place in even our discussions in life. But what I find utterly fascinating about this sort of “unreasonable” reason is that it just simply isn’t possible. Faith is part of everyone’s life, whether they believe in God or not. And it is this truth that I believe stirs the ire in those who seek to eliminate God from public discourse.
Everyone exercises faith. Everyone. No one can live, work, move or relate without faith. Faith is a fundamental characteristic of humanity. Every time you sit in a chair, start your car, submit to medical advice, or work for someone who promises wages, you are exercising faith, a trust that something or someone outside your control will accomplish what you expect or hope. There is no such thing as a faithless person, as it pertains to the general definition of faith. So faith is a regular experience of every human being. This really frustrates those who seek to find a way to live life by reason alone.
Faith implies need. Actually, faith demands it. Because faith is about trusting something or someone outside yourself, it assumes you lack the capacity to do life well on your own. And the truth is that we all lack such capacity. The smartest, the wealthiest, the strongest, even the bravest all have needs that go beyond their own ability to meet. This is true from the time you are born until the day you die. And until a person embraces the fact that they will never be able to achieve true greatness and satisfaction in life apart from help, they will continue to live frustrated, lonely lives.
Faith also requires surrender. Once a person acknowledges their need, in order to exercise faith they must then surrender to the object or person in whom they are placing their faith. Faith and pride cannot co-exist. This, I believe, is the fatal stumbling block for those who seek to portray faith as useless and unnecessary. It makes their argument terribly inconsistent and fallible. On the one hand they argue that they have what it takes within themselves and their reasoning capabilities to conquer life, yet simultaneously must regularly place themselves in submission to those objects they are trusting in (i.e. money, power, position, image). It becomes sadly comical to see someone attempt to deny faith’s reality when bowing at the altar of materialism, humanism, or lust.
Since faith is universal to humanity, why then is it so difficult for people to trust in Christ? God Himself wired us to operate under the principle of faith, continually coming against circumstances in life that declare our need for Someone greater than ourselves to lead us through the challenges. And yet, “[humanity] preferred darkness over the light.” The usual suspects for preventing us from living by faith in Christ are pride, lust, greed, and ignorance. We need to recognize these obstacles and surrender each moment to the One who is able to meet all our needs and fulfill our greatest desires.
As you live your life each day, take the time to look around at all the people exercising their faith in worthless, powerless idols, and ask God for opportunities and the courage to invite them to direct their faith onto Christ. It’s not that they don’t know how to live by faith. It’s just that their faith hasn’t been directed onto Christ, the only One who really knows how to conquer life…perfectly.