Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

Going to Jesus

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Thought for the Evening
1-26

Your Own "Faith Journey"

From a letter to a sister who bore witness of the truth to a Christian but was then told that we all have to make our own "faith journey".

Dear Rita:

Polite, negative responses to the testimonies of God's people are the saddest ones to me. It means the testimonies provoked no feelings from God at all, not even enough feeling to be irritated with the light. You know someone is fully blind when light does not even affect them. I would rather have people respond angrily and sarcastically than to respond with nonchalant pleasantries. There is more hope for those who feel something--anything--than for those who feel nothing and who politely and sweetly encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, and let you know that they will, too.

Such responses remind me of the time when, as a student in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University, I invited one of the school's Deans to my apartment. When he came, we got acquainted, and then we began a discussion about the new birth. I explained to him that the baptism of the holy Ghost is not a blessing that was added as an "extra" to the new birth but was the new birth itself. When I finished, the man kicked back on the couch, put his feet up on my coffee table, and leaning back, disinterestedly replied, "Well, you can't ignore tradition." And then he proceeded to talk about how good a cook his wife was.

I think that a person's faith ought to mean enough to him to provoke some kind of meaningful response when his faith is challenged. A response should never be hateful in its tone, but even hatefulness is a more hopeful sign than dullness. At least when someone is provoked to anger by having his faith questioned, we know that he is sincere in what he believes.

For people to hear the truth but then reject it with bland encouragement for you to continue on "your own faith journey", is just sad. If their religion really meant anything to them, if they really believed that their faith saves, they would try to win you to it instead of acting as if multiple ways of living and serving God lead to salvation, even though those ways are contradictory to one another. Give me a clean, narrow path which, because of Jesus' sacrifice, is so precious to God that I have to proclaim that all others are darkness!

Such phrases as "your own faith journey" may sound humble and tolerant, but what they really indicate is shallowness of heart and hopelessness. The attitude of "I'm OK, you're OK" has no place in God's kingdom. In God's kingdom, nobody is OK except God, and everyone must line up with Him and His way. Hasn't God told us that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"? What can this mean, but that all of our own "faith journeys" are wrong and will lead to death? It is best that we all forget about making our own "faith journeys" and get right with God.

According to the truth, we all must repent and be born again or we will be damned. The apparent meekness and friendliness of people who respond to that eternal truth with polite, sweet disdain for it can deceive the simpleminded. But the prudent understand that the cunning spirit of man can behave very meekly without having the meekness of Christ within the heart. Always remember this, anyone who does not love the truth loves death. They are blind. Do not follow them.

May God continue to help us all to escape our own "faith journey" and to lay down our vain opinions at the feet of Jesus' commandments.

Pastor John

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