If you have been following along the last few days, hopefully you are seeing how critical it is to have the first building block of discipleship in place. What we believe is important but how hold those beliefs is also critical. Paul advocated belief in Christ which was an identity more than just an idea. Instead of fiction or blind faith we found a bulwark of historical, archaeological, and experiential evidence to base our belief. Today we are looking at what follows.
Belief Allows Us To Live Differently-(Mark 5:36) Jairus, a synagogue leader found this out when he approached Jesus in desperation. All of a sudden political lines didn’t matter. Religious lines evaporated in an emergency. His daughter was sick and dying but he knew that Jesus had been healing people. Jesus went with him but upon nearing the house they were told by people that the girl had died. Jesus instead of turning around and going home said, “Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
I love Jesus reply because it hits me in the midst of real life. It can frequently feel like all hope is lost, the last chapter of defeat, loss, and grief all that is left, and fear frantically working in overdrive. Belief refocuses us as powerfully as it refocused this father. Jesus calls on the dad to respond differently because he had placed his belief in something different than the world.
Jesus called on Jairus to take what he believed and take it to the next level of having faith. Not just an intellectual idea, but an internal intimacy. Belief allows us to live differently without putting distance between ourselves and the world. Jesus in John 15:19 reminds us that we have been chosen, 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. So now we live in the world, without being of the world.
How do we live differently than the world around us? First, we have to know what we believe and why we believe it! Secondly, we have to respond to situations leading with our belief (like a shield), rather than just falling back on it! We are called to life distinctly.
Distinctly by its very nature stands out. There is a reason that when you drive down the street during tax time and see someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty you look. If you walk around New York’s Time Square you probably noticed people dressing in strange outfits (ELMO, SPONGE BOB, or SPIDER MAN); they know it will grab attention because it is distinct. Yet, instead of just grabbing attention, Christ calls us to live differently so people will be able to find adoration for the God of all creation. I remember vividly watching the unfolding story from Lancaster, PA. A gunman mourning the loss of his premature daughter took the life of 10 girls at an Amish school. The response was distinct—attending the funeral of the gunman, visiting the family of the gunman to support them through their loss and grief. It happened again in Charleston, SC—9 killed, and the loved ones forgave. It happened after Rick and Kay Warren’s son Matthew took his own life after buying a gun illegally, they responded differently—forgiving whoever sold the gun, starting a mental health facility at their church.
When we have a belief that matters—changing the course of history, when we have a belief based in fact—not on wishful thinking, and we have a belief that allows us to live differently—why would we ever settle for just going along to get along, why we would ever settle for just punching in and punching out! Praise God today, that we don’t have to live in a world where the greatest hope is the governance of man, or our greatest purpose is limited to the number of years in our life, or that we are forced to live in the looming shadow of death, but praise God we can approach eternal life as victors. Let’s respond to life differently, let’s respond to death differently, to pain differently, to family differently, addiction differently. It is the first building block of BELIEF that allows us to draw in closer to God.