PT6: Faith for Lay Guys_Leaping Through Faith Horizons
Updated: Jan 1
So here we have it: The Big Leap. To us that’s what it is anyway. But to God I suppose it would be called The Great Invitation.
Like a tight rope trapeze artist he swings back and forth, back and forth, sometimes for years, hoping for that one instant when we’ll decide to loosen our knees of our well-worn bar and soar through the invisible, only to be gripped by something more solid, more safe and secure than we could ever imagine.
This is the Faith we’re invited into. It demands a conquering of our faith horizons and holds suspect the life we had before. Once in, we’ll never easily return. For the thrill of the ride, the cheers of the saints, and the throne of God drenched in the glorious spotlight - all of it will certainly overshadow life as we know it. It all comes down to that one pivotal moment: loosing our knees and leaving the bar behind.
When the apostles get their marching orders to continue the ministry of Jesus (Mark 6:7-13) Jesus tells them essentially to let go of the bar. "Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town," and so on. Why was that? Shouldn’t they go out prepared and equipped? On the contrary, he told them to dress down so he would be all the more glorified through them. Throttle back and make get intentionally dependent on God. This is how you get prepared and equipped.
They was for two reasons: that they might model the very thing they were proclaiming (that God cares, loves, and provides for his children), and - more pertinent to us here - to step out into a place of faith, utterly dependent upon a God who sees their risk in his Name and rewards them for it, rushing in from heaven to meet them and move them deeper into his mysterious ways.
This is the faith we’re invited into. First it’s a distant call, then as we edge up to the border of that unforeseen country, it becomes clearer enough to know that it’s there, but illusive enough to wonder if we believe it's really there. And the whole time God is there on the other side smiling, hands out, “Come on, you can do it. Just give me your hand. Don’t worry. I’m here to catch you.”
This invitation lies far beyond where we can place our faith. It lies far beyond any creed or belief of The Faith. It really has nothing to do with any sort of faith we could muster up in the first place. He’s got all the faith we’ll ever need, latent, in him, waiting to be received. It all boils down to one thing: A decision to loosen the knees and fly into that realm of life we deeply desperately long for and he, deep down, desperately needs for us to be in for the advancement of his purposes on earth.
In Mark 6:5,6 an interesting things happens. Jesus returns to his home town, riding on the momentum of multiplying bread, walking on water, and expelling demons when he gets home. Home. It's where people know him, where they remember him as a little snot-nosed kid who seemed abnormally close to his mother. Home turns into a wall where the momentum of the trapeze almost goes limp. The scripture says, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
Their “lack of faith?” Their lack of faith hindered the ministry of God?
Indeed it did. And it still does.
God has set it up so that where there is faith, and there are people engaged in that faith, stuff happens. Conversely, when logic kicks in and all the reasons why such and such a thing shouldn’t be happening are brought to the surface of the heart, stuff doesn't happen.
As we close this teaching BLOG I sit here wondering why God is asking us to kick it up, to step into deeper realms of faith and belief. Is it so we would be happier? Perhaps get that car or something? Perhaps to finally manage to overcome that besetting sin, to shake the shame of our secrete adulterous affair we had so many years ago? Or is it because he wants us healed, or joyful, or so that we'd fulfill the dream prophesied over us some 40 years ago.
I think... none of the above. In fact, my opinion: It has nothing to do with us whatsoever.
My take on it is that Jesus is poising himself for a return, a time in the not so distant future when he will return in the power of his Holy Spirit and break out in revivalistic overtones of which the world has never seen before. And, unlike when he returned to his hometown and he could do little because of their lack of faith, he is hoping to return and ride on the adventure of our faith, faith in miracles, faith in his power, faith in his healing, faith in whatever it is he wants to do.
This has little to do with you and me and everything to do with what he's about to do.
If you are a sports fan it may look like he’s fashioning a stellar glove for the fastball. If you are a painter it may look like he’s creating a living canvass of faith upon which he’s about to paint. You get the idea. Whatever the icon, faith is essential for God to be recognized among us, and essential if we are to me partakers in whatever it is he’s up to.
Faith horizons. A faith horizon is the line between what God is inviting you into and where you are today. We all have them. In order for God to get us into this all-living exciting realm of faith we need to get used to (even embrace) busting through our faith horizons.
Take a prayerful moment and consider a single faith horizon in your life, a place where you’re on the fringe of stepping into, but have some sense of recoil when thinking about it. It might be anything from tithing twice as much to preparing a recipe you’ve never created for a dinner party, from witnessing the love of God to the addicted neighbor to putting a Jesus Loves You sticker on your bumper. It doesn’t matter. These edges, these faith horizons, are the things we need to move through, as the lube the system for greater awareness
After that first step, they’ll be another, then another. Always growing, always expanding. This is where God (in a sense) is free to move through you. We have arrived in his territory wherein he can depend on us to be faithful to the talents provided. This is when become a people of revival, a people trustworthy in his faith to be partakers in whatever he chooses to do.
Once identifying your faith horizon, ask God for the "faith" to take that particular leap. When he provides it, go for it. If you blow it, ask him again. He'll never stop asking, nor will he ever turn you away.
After you’ve done “it,” you will experience immediate joy. (I have a theory that the reason why the church isn’t experiencing more joy [and therefore strength] is because of our refraining posture of backing away from our faith horizons rather than drawing near and moving through them. But that’s another story.) In the exuberance of that joy, reflect on the process: how you prayed, how he met you. Then ask him for another one and another one. All too soon you will be completely swept off your feet and caught up in the wonder of it all. Imagine if we all lived this way?
“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8, ESV)
God is up to something. He is returning (either through revival or literal return) and needs his people to be upright, poised for action, and most importantly living in faith - not a well-intentioned but mis-guided faith, nor an intellectual understanding of The Faith, but faith as lifestyle, faith as risky actions, faith the size of a mustard seed.
Holy Trinity, loosen our knees and unhinge our grip that we might be caught up by young proclaim your arrival with trumpets of miracles. For the glory of your Name and the wonder of your plans, we step into that which you call us. Keep us blinded from everything we can see, and seeing all that lies invisible. And perform your wonders that the nations may see you as you are. Amen.