October 20, 2015

Your Faith Box: What is in your faith box?

As a young boy, I had a cigar box I found in my grandfather's basement. Over the years, I began to fill that old box with my "treasures". Even into young adulthood, I added to my box. While the contents of the box were not valuable to anyone but me, they served to remind me of my youth and the events that shaped my life. I had an old knife my grandfather gave me, my Dad's military ribbons, a lock of my first girlfriend's hair, a medal I won in high school, a letter from my Dad, a postcard from a family vacation; nothing of worldly value, but priceless in the story of my life.

I am suggesting you have a box as well. This box, however, should be filled with something more valuable than my cigar box. My box was filled with things. This box should be filled with your ideas. Filled with your beliefs. Filled with the keystones of your faith walk. I call this your Faith Box.

In your faith box are those things you truly and deeply believe. Things you will not disown. Things that guide your life. Things no one can take from you. Have you read the story of a gunman who entered a classroom on a college campus and held the class captive? At one point he asked a student, "Are you a Christian?" When the student answered, "yes", the gunman shot her. While her courage and commitment needs to be celebrated, it is what happened next that speaks volumes about courage.  The gunman turned to a second student and asked the same question. Imagine what goes through a person's mind when they know answer to the question will get them killed. Answering "Yes" would get her killed! What would you do? A lot depends on what is in your Faith Box. She did answer "yes" and was shot. What a testimony to a strong faith, what courage!

So what is in your Faith Box? What do you believe, not what do you think, not what do you feel, not what you hope, but what do you believe; absolutely, unshakable, without a question, believe?

You might be asking why this is important.  As you grow and mature in the faith, you are going to be tempted by Satan using every trick  in the World, literally. You will be tempted with ideas, arguments, things, power, respect, physical pleasures, everything imaginable. You will be told Christianity is foolish, there is no God, Heaven is an illustration, Jesus could not have risen from the dead, the earth and humans are not the result of God's creative hand, and so on. You will be told the Bible is just a book written by humans and contains numerous errors, that if there is one error in the scriptures then the whole thing should be disregarded. You will be asked, "If your God is so good, why does He allow such bad things to happen?" Perhaps the most telling argument will come from those well meaning friends who tell you, "God is a loving God and only wants you to be good. When you get to Heaven, God will only be concerned with how good you were to other people". So, they will say,  "you just need to be a good person and you will be okay."  And finally, when all else fails, you will be told, "You are young, there is no hurry to believe in that God stuff. You have your life before you."

In the story of the Spirit leading Jesus into the desert, Jesus is tempted by the master tempter, Satan. Jesus was physically hungry so Satan tempted Him with food or physical comforts and necessities. Satan tempted Jesus with ego and power. Sound familiar? Jesus responded to Satan confidently with His beliefs. Jesus knew what He believed. You would do well to follow Jesus' example. You need to know what you believe. Knowing that will give you the strength to resist Satan and all the temptations that are thrown your way.

So what is in your faith box? What do you believe?

Over the next few posts, I am going to suggest what I believe needs to go into your faith box. Please understand, I am going to suggest, not tell or command; your faith box is yours and only you can put a belief into it.

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