What makes faith so difficult to have? It’s probably because you have to believe in something that isn’t really there- you can’t touch it, you can’t see it, you can know it’s presence and you can see it’s effect on the world around you, but still- it’s not like you can grab it and hold it up for all to see.
And once you have faith, after you have forced yourself to accept the truth that what you see and feel is indicative of something else, you then need to strengthen your faith. That will also be hard to do, maybe even harder than getting faith, because the world doesn’t have faith and doesn’t want you to have it, either. Misery loves company, right?
Not to mention that the closer you get to God, the more of a threat you become to the enemy of God, so while you are of the world he will not only leave you alone, he will probably make things happen well for you. The enemy wants you to remain in, and of, the world. As you get closer to God, he will attack you.
But as far as why it is hard to keep faithful, although the enemy’s attacks are definitely a concern, that’s not what I am talking about today.
How many paper towels do you go through in a week? If you have young children still in diapers, are they cloth or Luv’s? Do you use paper plates? When was the last time you bought soda in a glass bottle?
Getting my drift yet? We live in a disposable world- use it than lose it. And that’s OK if we are talking about utensils and things (so long as you properly recycle), but the sad thing is that this apathetic attitude towards things that we use, maybe abuse, then just toss away isn’t just represented by what’s in our kitchen cabinets or linen closets: it has also infiltrated and polluted our interpersonal relationships.
People used to stay married because that’s what you did- now it’s pretty much the opposite. You having troubles? Talk to a lawyer. And at the workplace: it used to be you would get a job and work your way up the ladder. Pension plans used to be based on not even being eligible until after the first year, and usually you had to be at the company for (at least) 11 years after the first year before you were 100% vested. That was done away with way back in the 70’s when the Keogh Plan (HR10) first started, which is (today) the 401-K. In fact, whatever vestment is left is 100% within 5 years. That’s because people don’t keep their jobs much longer than that anymore.
In the 1980″s I was on Wall Street, and I had 4 jobs within 8 years, but I went from a $10K clerk to a $50K Department Manager/ Bank Officer. When I was in Sales I had so many different jobs over a 10 year period I can’t remember them all now. That’s because when the leads ran dry, I ran somewhere else.
And when I was first married, in my “previous life”, I realized it was a mistake somewhere around year 3. I lasted until year 9, and the suffering I endured for those years was nothing compared to the estrangement, suffering, and belittling I have endured since. Resulting in both my children being turned against me so that now I am dead to them.
I tell you this because I want you to know I can talk about having a disposable lifestyle because I lived it for many years. And, consequently, faith came to me late in life, and has been difficult to maintain. But thanks to God and good friends, I have maintained it and now, some 18 years later, I no longer worry about it. I have had enough experience with God to see Him, not with my eyes, but in everything there is. In my life, in my jobs, in my second marriage (which is the one I will have forever because we both got this one right), in everything around me. I am comfortable in my faith and secure in my belief. Still, I work at it because it is too easy to be fooled.
I still use too many paper towels, and we are actually working on that. I try to reuse things, and like every other “real” man, I have clothes that date back to when Yeshua was just a Corporal (that’s a Marine Corps saying.)
Today’s world is made up of disposable things, from diapers to plates to butane lighters, even to our cars which we trade off or sell usually before the warranty is up. About the only thing people keep is their computers: those should be upgraded every 3-5 years but some people just won’t let go.
If only we were as unwilling to give up our faith as we are with our favorite pair of pants or favorite coffee cup.
The parable about the sower of the seeds, where some fall on poor soil and others fall on good soil, is a demonstration of the disposable attitude we still have, today. The seed that was eaten by the birds, blown away by the winds and choked by the weeds, these represent the enemy and the world (same thing, really) making getting rid of the new faith easier than keeping it. And that’s the root of the evil of a disposable mindset- it is easier to get rid of something than to keep it. Quitting is preferable to maintaining.
If you have overcome the disposable nature towards faithfulness, seek out those that are new Believers to help them maintain their battle to have faith. It is a battle- that’s why Shaul (Saul) tells us about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-18. We need to run the good race, not fall out and say the ‘stitch’ in our side was too much to bear. When I was running cross-country in High School, we learned that the first mile always hurts- you can never get past it if you let the pain in your side overcome you. Once you run it out, then you get your “second wind” which can carry you further than you ever thought possible.
The world wants you to throw away faith because there are so many other things to replace it with, and they are easy to get and easy to get rid of. I think we all have heard the adages, “You get what you pay for”, and “If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for.” Well, God is worth working for, and salvation is definitely worth having. Just because salvation is available for free doesn’t mean it won’t take hard work to maintain it, and it may be free to have but it costs to keep. Oh, yes- it costs! You will pay with lost friendships, lost jobs, lost family, and the pain of watching those you love and care for literally throwing themselves into the pit of fire. And laughing at you for believing they are going to be condemned. There is a heavy payment for having and maintaining faith.
Even Yeshua tells us that we must pick up our execution stake every day to follow Him (Matthew 16:24), so we have been told from the very start faithfulness would not be easy. Much of Christianity teaches that salvation is not a disposable item, it can never be lost, but that is not true: your salvation can be lost if you throw it away. God will never take away the promise, but you can’t be saved if you are sinning on purpose and continually ignoring God’s commands in the Torah. God isn’t stupid, and salvation is not a joke. If you know someone who constantly sins, and says, “God is a forgiving God and will forgive me because I asked Him to”, do you really think that God will accept that person into His kingdom? We are all sinners, and we will all always sin, but the difference is whether we do it by our own will or against our will. Shaul said he was a wretch because he did what he didn’t want to and didn’t do that which he wanted to (Romans 7:15.) Each of us sins, but the one who does it constantly with no desire or intention of stopping because the bible says ‘all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved’ so he or she thinks all they have to do is ask for forgiveness, well, he or she has a big, unhappy surprise coming.
There are so many things in our world that are disposable, but the only really important thing we should dispose of is our sin. God can take that from you, the stain of sin is removable by Yeshua’s blood, but you have to want to dispose of it, all of it, and you have to constantly work at getting rid of it. That’s because the faith we need so desperately is just as disposable as a paper plate. We need to hold on to our faith in a world that says just chuck it and get something easier to keep. It’s easy to get rid of something when there’s always something else to get that’s better.
I am here to tell you there is nothing better than God, nothing more important to hold onto and never let go than your faith, and nothing else that can replace the salvation God has promised us through Messiah Yeshua.
Faith is hard to get, and harder to keep, but there is nothing more important to maintain.