The Most Important Ingredient in Life

August 23, 2017

The Most Important Ingredient in Life

Last article we looked at what amazed Jesus? If you missed it you can read it here.

Let's be honest, causing Jesus to react in any way that could be described as surprising, shocking, or amazing has got to be a reaction we need to take special note of.

As we showed last week, both times we read of Jesus being amazed was in the context of people's faith. One positively due to the depth of faith he witnessed, the other negatively due to the lack of it.

There are three important lessons I want to draw out that speak to the topic of faith. All of which have important implications for our lives.

1. Faith is far more important than we realize.

Throughout the Bible, faith is the one component that is consistently presented as most important to God. We often treat our circumstances as a measurement of God's love or care for us. Often, this creates a false reality, because God often uses our circumstances to either test or deepen our faith.

We want to be happy, healthy, and harmonious. God wants us to be faithful, despite what's going on around us. As the apostle Peter wrote to the believers experiencing difficulty, his words concerning faith hold true today.

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter. 1:6-7 NLT) (See also Gen 15:6; Psa 81:7; Matt 6:30; 21:21-22; Luke 5:20; Rom 10:17; 1 Cor 15; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 11) 

Faith shapes all other characteristics. Most would argue and say love should be what shapes everything. But love can be selfish and conditional. Faith on the other hand, defines what love should look like, even though we may struggle to meet its demands consistently.

2. Faith is often the first thing we jettison at the very moment we should hold on the tightest. 

One of the saddest experiences as a pastor is watching people walk away from their faith. Not to say its a regular occurrence but it happens enough to be disturbing. What really is sad is some of the reasons I've been told. 

Granted, some have come out of deep personal pain, but for the majority, the decision is either selfish, prideful, or they have a caricature of God that is distorted and untrue.

I find it quite telling that almost everything in culture attacks people of faith. Whether its science, atheism, naturalism, politics, education, or any other philosophical system, faith is the one ingredient that is ridiculed and taunted the most.

It's considered something that only the uninformed, unintelligent, and unenlightened participate in. What is even sadder, is this posture is really missing the entire point of faith. 

Faith is so important to God, yet we judge it on the merits of our own conscience and intellect. Faith steps outside of these in many ways and trusts in someone beyond ourselves. Faith is not detachment from logic or reason either which is what the naysayers often depict as a definition for faith.

3. The object of faith is the biggest deal of all.

In the story where the people refused to believe Jesus (Mark 6), they did so because of their preconceived expectations of God. Even though Jesus was performing miracles and amazing the people with his teaching, just because he was familiar to them they discounted the entire demonstration of Jesus' power and authority.

Of all the faiths, Christianity is clear concerning the object of faith. It's not a be good, work hard, love well type of reward system that categorizes many other faiths (interesting that none tell you when you've crossed the line into being good enough). (See also Eph 2:8-10).  

Why would the object of faith be so important if faith itself wasn't important to God? Why would God send his son, Jesus, to die for our sins if faith and its object were not that important? Why would Jesus be amazed by faith if it wasn't that important?

Where is your faith today? What are you trusting in? Don't you find it at least curious that Jesus would be so emotionally charged by the degree of faith he experienced? 

Remember, Jesus compared faith to a mustard seed in Matthew 17:20, and used it to illustrate what even a small amount could accomplish. Let me leave you with this closing verse from the apostle Paul.

So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life." (Gal 3:11 NLT)

1 Response

Isobel L. Shearer
Isobel L. Shearer

August 23, 2017

I’ve seen faith be shown in my Grandmother Harris’s personal life. Having lost one Son in the early years during the WW1, and her Husband in 1946, and then my Father, another Son in 1957, she went on to live a life of faith. It’s what has reminded me of total adherence to the Church in spite of her losses. She always read her Bible, KJV. She was made an honorary member of Faith Baptist Church in St. Thomas. She lived to be 96 years old and died in 1966. She always gave me $l.00 for each of my children’s birthdays. She encouraged me.

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