Most Holy Faith
I have spent quite a sizable amount of time trying to show how man really must come to realise that we need Jesus; that we need God. How we come to accept Him is crucial as well, and we must indeed pay heed to our intentions in coming to Christ.
A lot has been said of what faith really means, and exactly what it entails in its entirety. It clearly has consequences, since it is the most touted word in Christendom these days. I have a few thoughts on what it really, truly means to “have” faith, and I would like to share them.
Walking into a mass of senselessness is not because it is a seemingly wise thing to do. It actually is not. It is usually termed to mean walking from certainty into uncertainty. In human terms, that is something quite stupid and insane. One minute, everything is going good for you. The next, you turn around and head into a somewhat bleak future, and you probably don’t have an explanation for it.
When that decision is a human decision, it most probably is ill-thought and premature. When it is a decision in following Christ however, it better be genuine.
Folks go on up into church these days, and on the promise of great healing, financial turnarounds and breakthroughs, success in this world and a little bit more of power in the name of Jesus, they come up to the altar, say a little prayer, and go home.
Now, I know for certain that’s not how Christ did it. I also know that the appeal that such an invitation has will soon be lost when the world’s systems begin to collapse. It’s pretty much like attempting to build on sand. While I will explain a little of these later on, I must move on to what I want to address in this part.
I always wondered what exactly made it so easy for the early disciples and followers to just follow Jesus. I mean, today we hear “Come to Jesus and He’ll give you all the stuff”. Back then, it seemed more to me like “Drop all the stuff and come to Jesus”. I mean, look at every single disciple He invited to join Him. They were all dropping stuff. And I just always wondered what exactly was it with Jesus that could compel full-grown men to abandon everything they ever knew to follow a man they never knew.
Two days ago while walking down a lonely road that led out of the complex where I work, my thoughts were strangely led to focus on the example of Peter. He was the most vocal of the disciples, outspoken and often brash and seemingly disrespectful. He was a leader by default, because in human terms that’s what leaders were made of: brawn.
But Peter’s life with Jesus present me with the most organised and truest reasons to ever have faith in Jesus Christ. When I examined this man, I found a few things to ponder on.
To have faith in Christ must stem from who Jesus Christ is, and not from what he has to offer. Even in what he offers us, his person must be clear to us, and must be the principal attraction.
I found it rather interesting, the account of Matthew and Mark, on how the disciples left all to follow Jesus. When Christ called them, they followed him without question, leaving everything behind. That surprised me.
That is until I studied Luke Chapter 5.
Jesus, ever the teacher, saw boats on the Lake of Galilee and got into the one belonging to Simon. Being pressed by the crowd, he asked to Simon to push out the boat a little from the shore, and he used the boat as a pulpit. After teaching, Jesus asked Simon to launch out to the deep and let down his nets for a catch. Simon explained how they had tried catching fish all night long but to no avail. Nevertheless, because it was Jesus, he did not disobey.
They had not even begun to steady the boat in the deep when the miracle occurred. A huge catch, threatening to break their nets apart and testing their strength. A few more hands and the catch threatened to overwhelm two boats. Two boats.
Let verses 8 – 10 be very clear to us. Luke records that Peter fell to his knees and begged Jesus Christ to leave him alone.
“Master, leave. I am a sinner and I cannot handle this holiness. Leave me to myself” Luke 5:8 (MSG)
That was it for me. In the presence of Jesus, after seeing him teach with profound wisdom, and performing feats only God could perform, Simon’s first instinct was not to be awed at the great miracle, but to realise the greatness of the person who could perform such a great miracle.
Call it instinct. Call it an act of God. But Peter realised two things in one moment:
Jesus Christ is holy. Simon Peter is not.
All he knew at the time was that God was with Jesus, and he, Peter, was without God.
For me, that is the greatest realisation any man can come to. This is the crux of most of what I have been trying to get across in the previous posts. And that is the driving force. This is what made Peter, and indeed the other disciples, first believe. They saw God in a man, and all of a sudden they became aware of how beautiful Jesus is, and how quite ugly and dark they were. And Christ, seeing the humility in their realisation, offered to give them the capacity to carry the holiness of God.
That humility. That is poverty of the spirit. When it hits you, you begin to see what you have been missing out on all your life. Goodness gracious.
It’s that feeling when you come face-to-face with true beauty.
I had that feeling once. In law school, I had a crush on a fine Christian girl. She is very fine, and I mean that. One particular Sunday, we had an event; Brothers’ Day. We were all very pleasantly dressed. I am not exactly bad to look at myself, but after service I had gone over to join the boys singing and rapping in the corner. It did not take long before we were all covered in sweat and dirt. We became quite a sight, with stained white shirts, rumpled suits, loose ties and dusty shoes. Of course, we did not care. I did not care.
Until I decided to go to the Chapel front to grab a piece of cake, and I ran into this girl.
Oh. My. God.
She was looking so beautiful, so radiant, so clean. Head-gear looking all gallant. Dress so well-fitting, and make-up on fleek (like they say).
Oh. My. God.
She was happy to see me. But as a self-aware man, I was just too ashamed. I could not bear to be in the presence of such beauty looking like I just came from a frat-party. Okay, I’ve never been to a frat-party but from the movies, it’s not so good.
She was looking glorious. I was not looking glorious. All I wanted was to just melt away.
When she greeted me, I grunted my response and moved on fast. Matter-of-fact, I left the Chapel.
That’s how it is. Jesus has that effect. You just see yourself in your godlessness and then realise you actually have a problem.
That’s when He tells you not to worry. He extends that hand to you, and tells you what you can become: HIM.
And when you believe that, and you take that hand, you have started a journey in faith, believing in the power of Christ to translate you from a Peter to a Jesus.
That is your attraction: I can become as He is. He is going to make me into His very self, full of God and devoid of flesh.
That is the moment when you realise your most holy faith. Don’t they say that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence we can have in the future.
Well, that’s Jesus.
When He is your greatest desire, and becoming like Him is your obsession, you have found the Most Holy Faith, the strongest foundation you can start a Christian walk on, like Jude says. Obedience becomes easy when the purpose is well-defined.
This realisation for Peter remained very key throughout his life-time. The Most Holy Faith, so desirable and so available. Peter wasn’t going to let go, no matter what happened. That hope that he would carry the person and life of Jesus himself is what kept him going till the very end, because it was a hope that surpassed the best the world could offer, a hope that had an anchor that went straight up there, behind the veil.
We can live like him, and we can receive the glory that He has been given. That is the beginning that brings the expected end. And nothing the world has to offer will be too big to let go, not even the lucrative family fish-business.