When I read Scripture I see the passion of those who follow Christ. I see that their faith is crucial to their life. It is not the thing they need to “try” at, but the thing that gives them the strength to “try” at the rest of life. I see this same thing among many believers throughout history. This was one of the biggest things I noticed when I read through the Bonhoeffer biography I just finished, Bonhoeffer didn’t have to “try” to care about his faith. His faith is what enabled him to deal with everything else in life. You see this same thing in The Hiding Place. Corrie Ten Boom saw Christ and her relationship with him as the thing that would enable her to act bravely in love for those in need, and endure the incredible hardships that she faced as a result of those activities.
When you gather on an average Sunday in an average church you will most likely hear a sermon encouraging you to care about your faith. It may be a sermon telling you to read your Bible more, or asking you why you don’t get as excited about Jesus as you do about football or telling you that if you really love Jesus you will have a spirit of giving or a million other things that I would label in the category of “trying to get by.” What I mean by that is that Christians today spend so much time just trying to care about what they believe that the faith itself is what becomes the struggle, not the answer to the struggles of life. Is this because we are so comfortable? I’m sure that has a lot to do with it, but honestly I can’t say for sure why it is this way.
I am tired of constantly being encouraged to rededicate my life or recommit myself to following Christ. When we have to spend all our time trying to care about our supposed “beliefs” I wonder if we really believe them at all.
Of course we all struggle in many ways. I am no exception to that rule. I could even go so far as to say I personify that rule, but there is a fundamental difference between starting at your faith to help you overcome the struggles in your heart and life, and that faith being the very thing you struggle to care about.
What do you think? Am I overstating something that is nothing more than the normal struggle of Christians throughout history, or is there something very different about the way we approach our faith today, in the comforts of America, as opposed to those who have come before us, many of which faced severe persecution and struggled for their very survival?