In today’s world, the Christian faith is constantly on trial. There is no other “religion” in the world that has seen more scrutiny and persecution other than the Christian faith. Within the realm of academia, it is constantly pushed back against. It is seen as a belief that lacks intelligence and is referred to as a “crutch” that weak people need to lean on. It is pushed back against in mainstream media and politics because it is seen as hateful because of its stance on homosexuality, feminism, abortion, etc. Yet, there is no other faith, such as Islam, that is every put to the test because of their beliefs on these topics. Thus, if we are to look at the culture that surrounds us, we could easily establish the idea that the Christian faith is put on trial regularly. We could say that it always finds itself under the spotlight in the interrogation room as pressure is put upon the faith and the believer. But, it is not the pressures of the media, secularism, or academia that really put a Christians faith on trial.
What I have come to the conclusion of from being in ministry for several years now, and mostly due to my own Christian journey, is that all of my cultural surroundings are not what puts my faith to the test. It is not academia and the various arguments against the Christian faith. For every argument against Christianity that I have heard, I have a counter-argument for Christianity that I can offer. For every push back from mainstream media about hot topic issues, I offer up an answer from God’s Word (objective truth) that I will not waver from. From anything that anyone throws at me, I have an answer for and it does not cause me to waver. But the one thing that puts my faith on trial and really gets me thinking, or questioning, is life. Life and the various trials that it brings is what puts my faith on trial more than any other outward push-back.
You see, life is where the rubber hits the road. Life is where our faith is more than a head knowledge and becomes something that we live, breathe, and experience. Faith that is not lived out is no faith at all and if someone claims they have faith in Christ, yet their life does not reflect it, then it is no faith at all. But when financial problems hit me in the face and the bills continue to roll in, that is when my faith is tested. When family circumstances change and tragedy strikes, this is when my faith is tested. When uncertainty knocks on my front door and my surrounding environment seems shaky and unsettling, this is when my faith is put to the test. It has nothing to do with the world and the culture that I live in and it has everything to do with life. So often, I am the one that has brought about the various circumstances that I have found myself in, and as a result of decisions my faith is being tested. Also known as life.
What I have to remember and rely upon during times of trial is the fact that God is faithful. Despite what has come about in life, despite what circumstance that I find myself in whether brought about by my own decisions or not, God is faithful. Despite the fact that I am often unfaithful and question God’s actions in so many things, He remains faithful. You see, faithfulness is a characteristic of God’s as He exercise faithfulness to His people. God is faithful to His people even when His people are not faithful to Him. If God were not faithful to His people, then God would cease to be God. As the redeemed people of God, we can take comfort in Moses words to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:8, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” Given a current situation or circumstance that is testing your faith, God may or may not deliver you from it in a manner that you see fit. But regardless of the outcome, you can rest assured that if you are the redeemed people of God, He is with you. You can be assured that if you are the redeemed people of God, His ways are higher than your ways and His solution is better than your solution, regardless of what that looks like. You can rest assured that regardless of what is happening on the outside, your faith and salvation is being perfected and completed. Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
As difficult as this is for me to say, your spiritual life is much more important than your physical life. I say this is difficult because the temporal, physical life is what is much more visible at times than our spiritual lives. The outward circumstances and uncertainties are seemingly a more present reality to us than our inward spiritual lives. But nonetheless, it is the spiritual life of ours that is eternal. When all else fades away, there is only one that remains and that is our souls. How is your soul? Are you trusting in the finished work of Christ despite your outward circumstances or do you merely look at your surroundings and allow your faith to be questioned? Do you trust the fact that God goes before you and that He is sovereign over all, or do you let your current situations dictate how you believe?
I can assure you that I spoke this to myself as I typed every word and my faith is still on trial.