FEARLESS FAITH

It is not always easy to be a Christ-follower these days. The culture we live in often challenges the core foundations of our faith. Often our response to these trials is to run away from the criticisms and the negative influences that surround us, by creating a safe and insulated subculture in the midst of a world filled with anti-Christian values, depravity and sin. This is not what Jesus intended as he states in John 17:15 — “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

John Fischer writes in his book Fearless Faith that, “Many Christians count too much on the comfort of a Christian environment for the maintenance of their faith. They depend on the familiar surroundings of church, fellowship and Christian activity to help bolster their faith, as if somehow they could get it by osmosis. They don’t interact with the environment as much as they blend in with it. But faith does not seep through the skin. It begins in the heart, and it is strengthened by the challenges placed upon it by a real and complex world. Home is where we are a light in the darkness–a house on a rock in the storm, a lamp on a stand, a city on a hill. Christians grow by being in a place where faith is at risk. This is, in fact, what cultivates a fearless faith.”

When I was younger, I was always concerned about those who didn’t know Christ, but I approached the matter from a perspective of wanting to bring them into the safety of the Christian subculture, rather than rolling up my sleeves, getting dirty and mixing it up with people — and living out my faith in the real world. However, over the years, my perspective has changed. I believe Fischer is right. Our faith is designed to be fearless, operating openly in the real world, not hidden away, safely within the four walls of our local churches.

Living our faith in the real world is risky. We will be exposed to sin and anti-Christian beliefs. We may be ridiculed and persecuted. But, we must fearlessly engage our culture at every level with the hope and promise of the gospel. We are to be in the world and a part of the dialogue to make a contribution to every area of life from a perspective of faith. The truth of the matter is when we put our faith at risk this is when our faith can grow stronger. Jesus is the model for fearless faith. He hung out with the kinds of people most Christians in our day would not. Jesus’ words in Luke 5:31 still apply today — “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

Christ-follower, choose to take the road towards fearless faith. Start where you are. Befriend, love and serve your peers, your neighbors and your community. Be a light that shines in the darkness and the world will take notice and understand that God is still at work today.

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