Hebrews 11:1 says the following:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
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I was having a discussion with someone yesterday about faith. He asked questions about what is in the Bible and I would answer that this is what God told us. He kept pushing his point, “How do you know that?” My answer was that this is what we are told in the Bible, to which he replied, “The Bible was written by people, wasn’t it?”
This was not an argument, mind you, but a respectful exchange of Q & A, with him offering up the “Q” and me supplying the “A”. I know I didn’t change his mind, at all, which is fine since it isn’t my place to tell anyone what they should choose to believe in.
And that is the operative word: choose. Faith is not something that we can prove because, as we are told, it is something we choose to accept as truth. Faith is not just a feeling, it is a choice; and, because it is unproven, we need to be able to hold onto our faith in the face of arguments and persecution.
That is why faith has to be stubborn. Stubbornness is not changing your mind easily, or (in most cases) not ever changing it, and to maintain our faith we need to have that stubborn attitude that says, “I don’t care what you say, I believe what I believe.”
The problem is what about when we see someone whose faith is misguided? Like the many Jews and Gentiles who are being led into damnation by their leaders, who are repeating what they were told, from all the way back to the end of the First Century when Christianity separated itself from Judaism and the “mainstream” Jews refused to accept Yeshua as their Messiah.
How many “faithful” Roman Catholics do you know who bow down to statues (the Bible calls them graven images) and pray to them? How can someone maintain their choice to do this when the Bible clearly says not to? Even Yeshua, himself, said he was the only way to God (John 14:6) so why pray to saints to intercede with Yeshua?
I mean, from a strictly Jewish viewpoint, why buy retail when you can get it wholesale? In other words, why ask some saint to ask Yeshua to ask God, when you can go straight to God by simply dropping Yeshua’s name?
I am not necessarily picking on the RC’s, although they do make it really easy to do so, but on Christianity, in general. And I’m not “picking on them” as much as trying to show the incorrect interpretation and sinful (meaning anti-Biblical) teachings that have misdirected faithful people into performing lawlessness.
Not that my Jewish brothers and sisters who still reject Yeshua are any better off. They are the ones who should be the saddest because the Torah says we have no forgiveness unless we sacrifice where God has placed his name, which was the temple in Jerusalem, which doesn’t exist anymore!
Faith is what we choose to have. Even though we can’t prove what we believe in, we do have a foundation for our faith, which is (or, at least, should be) the Bible. First, we choose to believe there is a God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; next, we choose to believe what we read in the Bible is accurate and true. Finally, we choose to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah he promised to send.
We choose to believe that what we read in the Bible is factual. We can’t ever prove it because “proof” is the antithesis of faith, and it is only through faith that we can be saved.
In other words, we have to believe in God because we choose to, and not for any other reason. Not because we are told we have to (which is what both Judaism and Christianity force their kids to do) and not because we are promised riches or blessings if we do, but because we choose to.
And it doesn’t matter why we chose to, so long as once we make our choice, we stick by it through hell and high water.
(No, I am not going to tell the joke about the town being flooded and the Rabbi with the rowboat, the truck, and the helicopter.)
The idea that faith is nothing more than a choice is very hard for worldly people to understand. The world says, “Prove it!” and God says, “Believe it.” These are in complete opposition to each other, and I have found that those who ask for proof are generally unsure of everything.
It is sad, but in my experience, faithless people are afraid of everything, and can only see the worst case scenarios. They trust no one, especially themselves, and have a very sad future since they figure this life is all there is.
When you have nothing to look forward to except this life, then you try to fill this life with as much “fun” as you can, which usually translates into sinfulness. It is a sad paradox that the ones who do not believe in an afterlife are guaranteeing theirs to be terrible.
I have a very stubborn faith, but I still am open to hearing other people tell me about what they believe the Bible says. And when I hear someone tell me what I know to be worldly teaching, it only strengthens my faith in what I believe- no, in what I KNOW– to be the way God says it should be.
I rarely read extra-biblical books, although I do now and then (for instance, the ones I have written I can highly recommend to you) because the Bible is all I really need to know. I won’t read the Quran or the Apocrypha’s or the Books of Jasper, Judas, etc. because they are not scripture. I also don’t read or study the Talmud or the Septuagint, although I will check out things that are in there as subject matter for my messages.
Why won’t I read those? Simply because they do not have anything I need- all I need is the Bible. And I stubbornly, or should I say faithfully, reject anything else.
Look, faith is stubborn and needs to be stubborn in order to be maintained. I suggest you don’t keep an “open mind”, but that you ensure your faithfulness has a strong foundation from the Bible. And not from what people tell you is in the Bible or what your religious leaders tell you the Bible says, but what you read in there yourself.
In Matthew 15:14, Yeshua said when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a hole, so don’t be led by the blind: chose your own path and stick to it no matter what. The world has nothing of value for you and the spiritual people you meet may only tend to confuse you, so choose what you will believe and hold onto it as if your very soul depends on it… because it does!
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That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!